Postgraduate study

Informatics MSc

Awards: MSc

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Informatics

Informatics is the study of how natural and artificial systems store, process and communicate information. More than just computer science, informatics embraces interdisciplinary connections to understand and model computation and information processing in all its forms.

Edinburgh has a long-standing tradition of world-class research and teaching in many areas of informatics. This programme builds on our interdisciplinary strengths to emphasize developing students' ability to understand and model computation in natural (biological or social) systems. You will choose a base of courses in areas such as bioinformatics, social networks, neuroinformatics, or cognitive science. You can supplement these with additional courses from across the whole School.

You will follow two taught semesters of lectures, tutorials, project work and written assignments. During this time you will also learn research methods to prepare for your final project and dissertation, which is completed during the summer. Compulsory courses:

  • Informatics Research Review
  • Informatics Project Proposal
  • Introduction to Java Programming (for students who do not already meet the programming requirements for the taught masters)
  • Dissertation

In addition, about half your taught course credits must be chosen from areas focusing on computation in natural systems. Example courses offered recently include:

  • Algorithmic Game Theory and its Applications
  • Bioinformatics 1
  • Computational Cognitive Science
  • Neural Computation
  • Social and Technological Networks

Additional courses may be chosen from a wide range of options, including courses in computer systems, theoretical computer science, artificial intelligence, and software engineering. Guidance is provided to help you choose a set of courses that work well together.

Please note: This degree has flexible course options. Students are only admitted onto the degree if they will have a viable set of options, but not all courses on offer are appropriate for all admitted students. The School of Informatics offers a wide selection of courses, but not all optional courses are guaranteed to run every year, and a few high-demand courses may limit enrolment to students on the most relevant degree(s).

The degree description and structure given here reflect changes being made for 2019 entry based on feedback from recent graduates. These changes aim to improve the student experience by providing a more focused set of course options and a clearer structure. Degree programme information provided to current students (e.g., the 2018-19 MSc Handbook) should not be taken to fully reflect the nature of the programme starting in 2019.

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. Recent graduates are now employed as software developers and engineers, programmers, games designers and analysts for companies including Airbus, Citigroup, NCR Corporation, BT and Skyscanner..

For 2019 entry:

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in informatics, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science, electrical engineering, linguistics, mathematics, philosophy, physics or psychology, plus experience in computer programming.

During your degree you must have completed the equivalent to 60 credits of mathematics that have typically covered the following subjects/topics: Calculus (differentiation and integration), Linear Algebra (vectors and multi-dimensional matrices), Discrete Mathematics and Mathematical reasoning (eg. Induction and reasoning, Graph theoretic models, proofs), and Probability (concepts in discrete and continuous probabilities, Markov Chains etc.)

2020 entry:

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

Competent programming skills are essential. During your degree you must have completed a programming course in at least one of the following: C/C++, Java, Python, R, Matlab, Haskell, ML.

During your degree you must have completed the equivalent to 60 credits of mathematics that have typically covered the following subjects/topics: Calculus (differentiation and integration), Linear Algebra (vectors and multi-dimensional matrices), Discrete Mathematics and Mathematical reasoning (eg. Induction and reasoning, Graph theoretic models, proofs), and Probability (concepts in discrete and continuous probabilities, Markov Chains etc.).

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

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section

  • PTE Academic: total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores

  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions 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, PTE Academic 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.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

(Revised 25 October 2018 to update fee deposit timescales.)

Tuition fee deposit

Applicants receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, will be asked to pay a tuition fee deposit of £1,500 within 28 days to secure their place on the programme.

Any applicants who are required to pay will receive an offer with full details. (If there is no information on your offer about the deposit, then you are not required to pay.).

Find out more about tuition fee deposits:

Tuition fees

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, and your residency 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
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 5194
  • Contact: ito@inf.ed.ac.uk
  • School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
  • 6th Floor, Appleton Tower
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LE

Selection deadlines

Due to high demand, this programme 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.

Applicants who are not made an offer at a specific selection deadline will either be notified that they have been unsuccessful in securing a place on the programme, or if they do not hear then they are still being considered and their application will be carried forward to the next selection deadline for further consideration at that time.

If you have applied previously, please do not submit a further application.

Deadline dates

Round Deadline
1 31 January 2019
2 30 April 2019

*Revised 8 March 2019 to remove 30 June 2019 deadline. The last application deadline for this programme is 30 April 2019.

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

Further information

  • School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 5194
  • Contact: ito@inf.ed.ac.uk
  • School of Informatics Teaching Organisation
  • 6th Floor, Appleton Tower
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LE