Design Informatics combines Data Science with Design Thinking in a context of critical enquiry and speculation. We build a value-aware, reflective practice at the interface between data and society by combining theory and research with an open-ended process of making and hacking.
Human activity is being constantly shaped by the flow of data and the intelligences that process it, moving towards an algorithmically mediated society. Design Informatics asks how we can create products and services within this world, that learn and evolve, that are contextualised and humane. Beyond that, it asks questions about what things we should create, speculating about the different futures we might be building and the values behind them.
The central premise is that data is a medium for design: by shaping data, we shape the world around us. Data Science provides the groundwork for this, with Design Thinking underpinning reflective research through design. You will use this in working with the internet of things and physical computing, machine learning, speech and language technology, usable privacy and security, data ethics, blockchain technologies. You will connect technology with society, health, architecture, fashion, bio-design, craft, finance, tourism, and a host of other real world contexts, through case studies, individual, and collaborative projects. You will understand user experience in the wider socio-cultural context, through an agile programme of hacking, making and materialising new products and services.
Please be aware that the structure of the programme may change.
Throughout the programme, you will be working both individually and in teams of designers and computer scientists. Everyone will have to write code during the course, and everyone will have to make physical objects. Several courses, including the dissertation, will involve presenting the artefact, product, service, or interactive experience that you have created to the general public in a show.
In the first year, you will study:
In Design with Data and Design Informatics Project, you are likely to work with an external partner, such as the Royal Bank of Scotland, Amazon, Edinburgh City Council, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh or the National Museum of Scotland.
MSc and MA students then undertake a dissertation in the summer before graduation.
MFA and Advanced MSc students take a summer placement with a relevant digital organisation then return for a second year of study, comprising:
Elective courses are drawn from the Masters Programmes of the School of Informatics, Edinburgh College of Art, and Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences. Courses are typically 10 or 20 credits.
This degree will put you at the cutting edge of the intersection between data science, design, and information technology, opening a host of opportunities in working with companies, charities, and the public sector. We encourage entrepreneurship. For those who wish to stay in academia, the course provides a solid foundation for a PhD in related areas.
Design informatics focuses on designing with data. This programme is run in conjunction with Edinburgh College of Art through the Centre for Design Informatics.
On this programme you will learn how to build computational systems as well as the principles of design thinking and making.
Through case studies of real-life products you will apply your knowledge in a practical way, developing an understanding of what it takes to create, design and take a product to market.
You follow two semesters of taught courses, attending lectures, tutorials and group practicals to acquire the theoretical foundation to enable you to engage in independent research.
Between May and August you will do a major individual research project on which you will write a dissertation.
Design Informatics: designing with data can be explored in most specialist areas of Informatics, but with a focus on entrepreneurial product development.
Option courses include:
This degree will put you at the cutting edge of design technology and technology for design, opening a host of opportunities in the commercial sector.
Informatics is the study of how natural and artificial systems store, process and communicate information.
Edinburgh has a long-standing tradition of world-class research and teaching in informatics, a discipline central to a new enlightenment in scholarship and learning, and critical to the future development of science, technology and society.
This is our most sought-after taught MSc. We offer a wide choice of courses, spanning established disciplines such as cognitive and computer science as well as emerging areas such as bioinformatics.
The programme takes full advantage of our expertise in research and teaching, including specialisms unique to Edinburgh.
You follow two taught semesters of lectures, tutorials, project work and written assignments, after which you will learn research methods before individual supervision for your project and dissertation.
You will choose a ‘specialist area’ within the programme, which will determine the choice of your optional courses:
There are 100 optional courses available to MSc Informatics students, including courses within specialist areas unique to the programme.
Our graduates are well regarded by potential employers worldwide. Many go on to work in the technology industry as software engineers, IT consultants, programmers and developers, and may work with the software and hardware giants that have become household names. Others go on to further study and research.