Postgraduate study

Design Informatics Master of Fine Art, MA (eca)

Awards: Master of Fine Art, MA (eca)

Study modes: Full-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Design Informatics

Design Informatics creates a meeting point between data, culture and design. We imagine alternate futures, disrupt thinking and play with data as a material.

Our practice is experimental, speculative and critical, informed through research and industry. We create inquisitive, professional and articulate problem solvers and entrepreneurs as graduates, leading applied data driven futures with a global reach.

We play with making physical and digital artefacts and experimental data things. We build, test, hack and re-interpret what data means to society, and where design has opportunity to shape future thinking for challenge lead enquiry.

Data Informatics sits within the Institute of Design Informatics and is informed by research practice and industry partnership across Edinburgh College of Art, and School of Informatics.

What will I study?

Within Design Informatics, we critically explore a world facilitated and experienced through data as a lens to being human. Our bodies, cities, architecture, and cultures are embedded with data.

Both data and design are implicit to our approach to creating new experiences and artefacts. We explore these areas with data technologies as our material including Internet of Things, AI and Machine learning, blockchain, immersive experiences and physical computing. We ask questions, explore industry challenges, and interrogate ideas by hacking material and immaterial data things to create real-world, yet future facing speculative artefacts and experiences.

Our graduates leave with an understanding of collaborative practice in data industries and a strong personal vision developed through self-directed projects.

You will explore working with:

  • the internet of things and physical computing
  • machine learning and AI
  • speech and language technology
  • usable privacy and security
  • data ethics
  • block chain technologies
  • Augmented and immersive technologies

You will connect data and design with:

  • society
  • health
  • architecture
  • fashion
  • bio-design
  • craft
  • finance
  • tourism
  • other real-world contexts

You will do this through:

  • case studies
  • individual and collaborative projects

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

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

You will work both individually and in collaborative teams of designers and computer scientists.

Distinct to Design Informatics MA, our students work in parallel to our MSC students who bring experience from a largely computer scientist background. Together, our students create a novel, compelling and supportive environment to blend and explore applications for data thinking in design, reflective of an industry setting and real-world team experience.

Within this collaborative framework, everyone will have to write code and make physical objects during the programme.

Several courses, including the dissertation, will involve presenting an artefact, product, service, or interactive experience you have created to the 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)
  • 20 credits of optional courses

MA students then complete their self-directed dissertation.

MFA students

MFA students will complete:

  • a summer placement with a digital organisation
  • case Studies in Design Informatics 2
  • 40 credits of optional courses
  • a dissertation

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
Master of Fine Art21 MonthsFull-timeProgramme structure 2021/22
MA (eca)1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2021/22

This programme will enable you to engage across a wide range of fields that exploit the intersection between:

  • data science

    • Design
    • information technology
    • Experience and immersive design
    • Programmable matter

The programme will open a host of opportunities in working with:

  • companies
  • charities
  • the public sector

For those who wish to stay in academia, the course provides a solid foundation for a PhD in related areas.

We actively encourage entrepreneurship.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

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

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 recognisable methods (qualitative and/or quantitative)

  • examples of sketchbook work or design process development

  • examples of prototyping processes, including ability in manipulating materials or graphics

  • evidence of ability to use design thinking in the development of ideas.

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.

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

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

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: 70 overall with at least 59 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

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:

no additional costs

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
Master of Fine Art21 MonthsFull-timeTuition fees
MA (eca)1 YearFull-timeTuition fees

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 residency status

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

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Postgraduate Admissions Office
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 57 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JU

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 when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2022/23:

Round Application deadline Places awarded by
1 08 November 2021 20 December 2021
2 14 January 2022 15 March 2022
3 08 March 2022 28 April 2022
4 23 May 2022 26 July 2022
5 30 June 2022 10 August 2022

You must submit one 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.

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

Further information

  • Postgraduate Admissions Office
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 57 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JU