Design Informatics - MA / MFA

University of Edinburgh – Edinburgh College of Art

Program Description

Design Informatics - MA / MFA

University of Edinburgh – Edinburgh College of Art

Work by Anais Moisy, 2015

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 intelligence 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 contextualized 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.

Programme structure

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:

  • Design Informatics: Histories and Futures
  • Data Science for Design (compulsory for MA/MFA, strongly recommended for MSc/ Advanced MSc)
  • Case Studies in Design Informatics 1
  • Design with Data
  • Design Informatics Project
  • 20 credits of elective courses

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 organization then return for a second year of study, comprising:

  • Case Studies in Design Informatics 2
  • 60 credits of elective courses
  • A dissertation

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.

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.

Entry requirements

Normally a UK 2:1 honors degree, or its international equivalent, in any subject relevant to themes within design informatics.

You may be asked to provide a video or participate in an interview via Skype.

You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. Your portfolio should include:

  • a high degree of contemporary thinking, creativity and originality
  • evidence of high quality and original research using recognizable methods (qualitative and quantitative)
  • examples of sketchbook/design process development
  • examples of prototyping processes, including ability in manipulating materials, graphic
  • evidence of ability to use design thinking in the development of idea

If you do not meet the academic entry requirements, we may still consider your application on the basis of your portfolio and/or relevant professional experience.

English language requirements

For 2018/19 entry, all applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration
  • IELTS: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 61 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

For 2019/20 entry, all applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration
  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Application deadlines

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

How to apply

You must submit a reference with your application.

You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. You won't be able to submit your portfolio immediately, but you'll receive an email prompt within a few days of submitting your application that will explain how to upload your portfolio.

Image Credits: Work by Anais Moisy, 2015.

This school offers programs in:
  • English


Last updated February 13, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 10, 2018
Duration
Duration
12 - 21 months
Full time
Price
Price
10,900 GBP
Information
Deadline
Locations
United Kingdom - Edinburgh, Scotland
Start date: Sept. 10, 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Dates
Sept. 10, 2018
United Kingdom - Edinburgh, Scotland
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Price
MFA: Home: £10,900, Overseas/International: £21,300; MA: Home: £13,100, Overseas/International: £29,100