Postgraduate study

Design Informatics MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Design Informatics

Design informatics combines data science with design thinking in a context of critical enquiry and speculation.

The central premise of design informatics 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.

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.

What will I learn?

You will use the above concepts 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

You will also look at 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.

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.

Compulsory courses

  • Design Informatics: Histories and Futures
  • Data Science for Design
  • Case Studies in Design Informatics 1
  • Design with Data
  • Design Informatics Project
  • Masters Dissertation

In Design with Data, you are likely to work with an external partner, such as the Royal Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh City Council, or the National Museum of Scotland.

Option courses

In addition to the compulsory courses, you can choose 1-2 elective courses from the masters programmes in the:

  • School of Informatics
  • Edinburgh College of Art
  • many other schools in the University

This degree will put you at the cutting edge of the intersection between data science, design, and information technology.

This will open a host of opportunities in working with companies, charities, and the public sector. We encourage entrepreneurship.

For those who wish to deepen their research practice, the course provides a solid foundation for a PhD in related areas.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in computer science, informatics, artificial intelligence, physics, engineering, psychology, philosophy, linguistics, or neuroscience.

Your application should show evidence of solid computer programming skills in a programming language; HTML and web design do not count, but relevant mathematical and statistical scripting languages such as R and Matlab do. This evidence can be either a certificate in a relevant MOOC, or a course in programming that you have successfully passed. If your degree involves a final project, your mark in that project should be a B or higher.

Your personal statement should discuss why you are interested in the programme, as outlined above and on the Centre for Design Informatics web site, your background or interest in design, art, and information visualisation, and your relevant programming skills.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 20 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
  • 6th Floor, Appleton Tower
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LE

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines.

We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline.

We aim to make the majority of decisions within six weeks of the selection deadline.

If we have not made you an offer by a specific selection deadline this means one of two things:

  • your application has been unsuccessful, in which case we will contact you to let you know, or
  • your application is still being considered, will be carried forward for consideration in the next selection deadline and we’ll be in touch once a decision is made

Selection Deadlines

Round Application Deadline Decisions made or applications rolled to next deadline
1 31 January 2021 15 March 2021
2 31 March 2021 15 May 2021
3 30 June 2021 15 August 2021

(*Revised 9 March 2021 to add information on decision timescales.)

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
  • 6th Floor, Appleton Tower
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LE