nl en

Informal Science Education



Informal Science Education is a 13 week course which is part of the Science Communication and Society specialisation. The course is open to MSc students from the Faculty of Science and to MSc students in the Biomedical Sciences program of LUMC. Other students who are interested in following this course, should contact their own study advisor for permission.

Because of COVID-19, we are expecting to move this course partly or completely online. However, we will keep to the same schedule and plan the course physically where possible. Consequently, you need to be able to be present for physical courses at the University of Leiden in case physical classe are possible.

There is a limited amount of spots for students who want to follow this course as an elective course and are not following the SCS specialisation. Make sure to register in time to obtain a spot in the course.


In this course we will look at the field of informal science education, a field within science communication concerned with learning about science outside of the formal school system. Examples of informal science education are institutions such as science museums, zoos, and nature parks. In this course we will discuss different theoretical perspectives that are relevant for informal science education regarding learning theories, target audiences, exhibit development, interactivity, authenticity and citizen science.The course will include guest lectures by professionals in the field and visits to science museums and a zoo (when possible under COVID measures).

Course objectives

After completion of Informal Science Education students are able to:

  • Give a definition of Informal Science Education and describe the history of the field;

  • Explain different learning theories that are relevant to ISE;

  • Describe different ways of defining target audiences and their needs;

  • Define and explain authenticity and interactivity and their importance for ISE;

  • Describe the process of exhibit design;

  • Use the theoretical concepts described above while analyzing and developing ISE products.

Course Schedule

Preleminary schedule: Classes will take place on Friday morning 9 – 12 from September 6 – December 3, 2021. Room schedule will follow if applicable.

Mode of instruction

Lecures, in-class activities, self-study, group work


The assessment of the course will be through individual and group assignments, including reports and presentations.


You can apply for this course through this application form.

Contact information

For any information regarding this course or the SCS specialisation in general you can contact our department through: