Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation


Program Description

Strategic Foresight and Innovation

Creating a new kind of designer: A strategist who sees the world from a human perspective and re-thinks what is possible; An innovator who can imagine, plan, and develop a better world.

Go beyond the usual MBA and accelerate your career the Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation. This program will teach you to see the world from a human perspective and re-think what’s possible. 

This innovative program will give you design thinking skills to enhance business success, positively impact society, and manage organizational change. Emphasis is placed on teaching complex problem finding, framing, and solving to create sustainable futures.

You’ll work on leading innovation with people from a diverse range of backgrounds including entrepreneurs, social scientists, artists, designers, and engineers. This program prepares you to think holistically - exploring, challenging, and finding meaning in order to reframe and guide both present and future actions.

Program Options

The MDes in Strategic Foresight and Innovation is offered as:

  • A part-time, two-year (seven-semester) program.
  • A full-time, 16-month (four-semester) program (as of September 2013).
  • Both programs consist of 7.5 credits.


You’ll develop design-thinking skills that include analysis, synthesis, and strategic and creative thinking. These skills are critical for professionals in the public and private sectors. This program will develop your expertise in foresight (for example, identifying future problems) and research methodologies. These skills will help you create innovative and future-enhancing solutions in your final research project.

The program will enable you to:

  • Explore and test innovative methods of organization, creation, and production from a human perspective.
  • Develop strategic, innovative, and anticipatory solutions (strategic foresight) and implementation plans for design, business or policy innovations, or for organizational or infrastructural change.
  • Navigate complex problems and find solutions that will lead to the development of new and sustainable futures.

Key Features

  • Small class sizes with constant access to outstanding faculty and industry experts.
  • You’ll be engaged in a collaborative studio environment in your core classes. You’ll work in trans-disciplinary teams on many projects.
  • An advisory committee of faculty and, in the case of real-world projects, public or private sector professionals will support and guide your major project.
  • Guest lectures and critiques from professional strategists and foresight experts.
  • Part-time and full-time program options accommodate your schedule.

Admission Requirements

Applications for the 2020-2021 academic year are open for the part-time study! Apply now through the Graduate Application Portal. 

Due to study permit processing timelines, May 8th will be our application deadline for international applicants. Applications will remain open until all spaces are filled. Applicants are encouraged to submit their application as soon as possible, as our graduate programs fill quickly.

General application requirements

In addition to general graduate studies application requirements, found below, that are applicable to all programs, individual programs may have unique application requirements that you can consult.

  • Transcripts
  • Reference letters
  • Application fee
  • English language competency

Program-specific application requirements

Application for admission into the Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation at OCAD U is a competitive process. Applicants must hold a BA, BFA, BDes, BComm, BEng or comparable honors degree/certification with an average of 75 percent (B+) or better during the last two years of study, or must demonstrate exceptional experience/expertise as a practitioner in a relevant discipline.

All applicants must demonstrate creative and conceptual competence at a high level, as well as the clear potential to create a truly innovative, germane, and implementable project at the master’s level. Short-listed candidates will be invited for an interview.

For consideration by the admissions committee, and in addition to the basic application requirements outlined below, applicants need to complete and submit the following through the Graduate Application Portal:

  • Statement of Intent: 1,000 to 1200 words that describe why you are interested in the program, and how it will help you achieve an envisioned outcome, a major purpose, or your professional and/or personal goals. Please tell us about significant personal or professional experiences that have shaped your vision or goals, how the program can support you in meeting those goals, and why you are a potential change-maker and what you see as change. Please also provide a brief description of a topic area or challenge for which you might be interested in conducting research, including a rationale for its potential value. You may always change the research topic prior to embarking on the major research topic. A bibliography and relevant examples of work may be included.
  • Samples of Work/Portfolio: The portfolio submission should consist of 5-10 samples of professional and/or student work (accomplished individually or in work contexts). This work must have been produced in the last five years. Choose samples that you believe are applicable to the SFI program. Applicants are encouraged to include the best examples of work that are typical of the variety of work they have done. Your portfolio should reflect the range of experience included in your CV. Visual work, analysis reports, and proposal documents may be included. Applicants are expected to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of their disciplinary/professional work.
  • CV: Include an updated copy of your curriculum vitae. Include information regarding educational achievements, professional practice, and community service.
  • Program Specific Questions: Applicants will be asked to provide responses to a series of questions specific to the program.

What You'll Do In The Program

First Year

  • Business and Design Thinking (section 2)
  • The Human Factor (section 2)
  • Innovation Research Methods
  • Strategy Development
  • Understanding Systems (section 2)
  • Foresight Studio
  • Business Design
  • Leading Innovation
  • Major Project Proposal 

Choose from among the following options (0.5 credit):

  • Independent Study
  • Placement
  • Elective

Second Year

  • Major Project

How to Apply

Graduate applications for the 2020 academic year are still open for domestic applicants.

Step 1: Review application requirements and program-specific eligibility

This information can be found on the Application Requirements page.

Step 2: Apply online using the Graduate Application Portal

All applicants to Graduate Studies at OCAD University must first complete a graduate application through the Graduate Application Portal. If you are applying to more than one graduate program, you must submit a separate application for each program for which you wish to be considered. 

Application Fee: The application fee is $110 CAD, payable through the Graduate Application Portal. Application fees are non-refundable and charged for each program for which you apply. 

Step 3: Finalize and submit your application

The Graduate Application Portal will allow you to log in and start a graduate application which you can edit as often as required. However, once your application has been submitted, no further changes will be allowed.

Once your application has been successfully submitted through the Graduate Application Portal and your application fee paid, you will receive official emails acknowledging receipt of your application. Any further required steps or actions will be outlined at this time.

Our online application portal is the only method to submit your application. We do not accept paper applications or physical application materials. If you encounter issues while applying, please contact us at

Step 4: Application review process

Only complete applications will be reviewed by our Admissions Committees. Once the program-specific Admissions Committee has reviewed your submitted application, you may be contacted by the Office of Graduate Studies and invited to an interview (where applicable). If you are invited to an interview, it may take place in-person or remotely (e.g. teleconference or Skype). The application review process, including interviews, normally takes up to twelve weeks after the application deadline.

Step 5: Notification of admissions decisions

Once a decision is made regarding your application, you will receive a notification via email asking you to log in to the Graduate Application Portal and check the status of your application. 

Offer of Admission: If you are offered admission to a graduate program, you will have a limited time (normally two weeks) to accept the offer of admission through the Graduate Application Portal. Your offer of admission may be subject to conditions, which must be cleared before you can be permitted to register.

Waiting Lists: If you are placed on a waiting list for admission into a graduate program, you will receive a notification via email when your application status changes. If you are on a waiting list and decide not to attend OCAD University, please contact us to let us know of your decision.

Not Admitted: If you are not selected for admission, you may fall into one of three general categories:

  • Although you meet the minimum program requirements, due to a combination of a highly competitive process and a limited number of spaces, we were unable to admit you.
  • You have not met the minimum program requirements (e.g., GPA, English language requirements, etc.).
  • You were deemed ineligible (e.g., non-relevant degree, lack of academic qualifications).

Please note that applicants meeting the minimum requirements for admission are not guaranteed admission into a graduate program. Furthermore, program admission may be limited to students whose interests are compatible with the specific program mandate, available resources, and faculty expertise.

Last updated Jun 2020

About the School

Founded in 1876, OCAD U is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD U continuously builds on its traditional ... Read More

Founded in 1876, OCAD U is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD U continuously builds on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, members of the OCAD U community are uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology, and quality of life for all Canadians. Read less