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    Edinburgh College of Art Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas

    Creative Arts & Design

  • Start Date

    September

  • Course Duration

    MA 1 year full-time, MFA 21 months full-time

  • Course Type

    MA, Other

  • Course Fees

    Tuition fees vary between degree programmes. Find the specific fees for your chosen programme on our website.

  • Last Updated

    02 October 2019

Programme description

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. It asks questions about what 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, and block chain technologies. You will connect technology with society, health, architecture, fashion, bio-design, craft, finance, tourism, and other real world contexts, through case studies, and individual and collaborative projects. You will understand user experience in the wider sociocultural context, through an agile programme of hacking, making and materialising new products and services.

Read more about the Design Informatics Masters on the programme website:

Programme structure

Please be aware that the structure of this programme may change.

You will work both individually and in teams of designers and computer scientists. Everyone will have to write code and make physical objects during the programme. Several courses, including your dissertation, will involve presenting the artefact, product, service, or interactive experience you have created to the general public.

What you will study

Design Informatics: Histories and Futures; Data Science for Design; Case Studies in Design Informatics 1; Design with Data and a Design Informatics Project (both likely to include 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); and 20 credits of optional courses..

MA students then complete their dissertation. MFA students take a summer placement with a digital organisation then study Case Studies in Design Informatics 2, 40 credits of optional courses, and a dissertation.

Career opportunities

This programme 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.


Visit the Design Informatics (MFA/MA) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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