Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Creative Industries MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time

Programme website: Creative Industries

An interdisciplinary degree with Edinburgh Futures Institute

Creative and cultural industries shape how we experience our lives, including the ads and movies we see, the music we listen to and the festivals and performances we attend. They shape our quality of life, generating cultural, social and economic value to individuals, organisations and society. To create this value, creative organisations rely on data to:

  • generate new opportunities
  • create new strategies
  • track the effectiveness of their strategies
  • persuade others of their value, whether funders, consumers or collaborators

This unique MSc programme brings together cross-disciplinary expertise and knowledge in data analytics, creative thinking, business and law to understand the complex challenges facing the creative industries. It is a bold, innovative programme designed to develop your knowledge and skills for leading the cultural and creative institutions of the future.

You will learn to apply interdisciplinary knowledge within a project team in order to respond to live challenges set by our partner organisations, and you will create and apply knowledge from different areas using data-informed approaches. A strong focus of the programme is on learning to collaborate and work with others as you develop the leadership skills needed to coordinate the diverse specialisms, organisations and individuals needed to deliver creative experiences and products.

Studying with us will help you build professional and leadership skills as you work directly with world-class cultural organisations in the City of Edinburgh. This programme makes excellent use of Edinburgh as a cultural capital and you will benefit from established relationships with organisations in cultural heritage, festivals and advertising.

Postgraduate study at the Edinburgh Futures Institute

This programme is part of an interconnected portfolio of postgraduate study in the Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI).

EFI supports interdisciplinary teaching, learning and research that is focussed on complex global and social challenges. Our programmes are taught by academic experts from many different subject areas.

As an EFI student, you will develop creative, critical and data-informed thinking that cuts across traditional disciplinary boundaries. You will have the space to think deeply about questions linked to your own passions and professional goals and will develop a project based on an issue that you care about.

As well as knowledge specific to your area of study, studying at Edinburgh Futures Institute will give you the skills and understanding you need to become a creative, confident and critical citizen in a fast-changing world.

These include:

  • core data skills
  • data ethics
  • the ability to interrogate issues of global scope using methods from across disciplines
  • creative and analytic approaches to knowledge

You can join us regardless of whether you already have skills in the use and application of digital data.

Students on this programme study the following:

  • Core courses (30 credits) specific to your programme.
  • Edinburgh Futures Institute core courses (40 credits) which teach the essential, critical and hands-on data skills, enquiry methods, ethical and creative capacities needed to underpin your programme-based studies.
  • A wide choice of short 10-credit optional courses (50 credits), at least two of which must be on topics related to your programme, with scope to study across the entire portfolio.
  • A project (taking the form of a 20-credit ‘knowledge integration and project planning’ course, and a 40-credit final project).

This is a full-time one-year programme, based on-campus in Edinburgh so it can benefit from the city’s strong cultural organisations.

Core courses

In addition to the Edinburgh Futures Institute shared core courses, you will take the following core courses for your programme:

  • Creative Markets teaches the fundamentals of strategy, competitor analysis and business models that enable leaders to create and capture value amidst the demand uncertainty that permeates the creative industries.
  • Intellectual Property in the Creative Industries examines intellectual property rights in the creative industries to protect intangible assets and identify which rights generate possible revenues and are appropriate for different business models.
  • Client Consulting project applies knowledge of Creative Markets and Intellectual Property to a client-led challenge with a cultural or creative organisation.

Edinburgh Futures Institute core courses

On our core courses you will work in cross-disciplinary teams with students from other Futures Institute programmes. You will learn to collect, manage and analyse computational datasets, and to use emerging methodologies for mapping and designing the future. You will also learn the fundamentals of data ethics, and how to use creative skills in the analysis and representation of data-informed and qualitative inquiry.

Optional courses

Edinburgh Futures Institute offers a wide range of more than 40 optional courses taught by academic staff from many different discipline areas, including those associated with your programme. The exact courses offered vary from year to year. In 2024-25 the courses associated with your programme may include:

  • Cities as Creative Sites: Urban Studio
  • Critical Creative Diversity
  • Culture, Heritage and Learning Futures
  • Pitching Your Stories, Services and Products
  • Strategic Change Leadership for Creative Industries

Optional courses from across the wider portfolio will cover a range of themes and topics, such as:

  • critical perspectives on how new technologies are changing society
  • data, programming and research skills that advance the skills taught in the Edinburgh Futures Institute shared core
  • the causes and consequences of inequalities around the world
  • how new and rapidly changing technologies and data sources are transforming the future of democracy
  • what the future of education might look like
  • how narratives drive the way we understand the world
  • bringing service design and service management together to build change in a data-driven society

The project

In your final project, you will apply your learning in depth to a domain, issue or concern which drives you. Your final project can be based on your own personal or professional interests, defined by your employer, sponsored by one of the Futures Institute’s industry, government or community partners, or aligned to one of our research programmes.

You will submit your final project as a written piece of work or combine text with other forms – for example, video, visualisation, a digital artefact, performance, or code.

You will identify your project topic relatively early on in the programme, and work on it in parallel with the taught courses. We expect you to take an interdisciplinary approach to your project in order to connect with the creative, data and future-orientated nature of the Futures Institute.

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
MScCreative Industries1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2023/24

On successful completion of this programme, you will be able to:

  • build deep understanding of creative industries and markets, and the critical challenges they face
  • understand the role of data and data-driven innovation in addressing these challenges and apply data-informed insights to the creative industries
  • integrate insights from Business and Law to conceptualise innovative business models for the creative industries
  • work with world-class cultural organisations to apply team-based learning to live challenges
  • develop leadership, communication, team-working and analytic skills relevant to the creative industries

The Creative Industries programme provides core knowledge and ability - for example in marketing, digital strategy and consumer and audience engagement - that you will be able to apply to real, live challenges faced by the cultural sector.

It will prepare you to take up leadership and management roles in a variety of creative and cultural sectors such as:

  • the creative industries
  • arts management
  • cultural heritage
  • cultural tourism

For mid-career professionals, the programme offers the opportunity to expand, deepen and apply knowledge to new contexts, strengthening existing skills and developing new approaches which can be applied in professional work.

The core elements of the programme address the data and higher-order skills we know are important for the future of work, confident and critical citizenship, and a thriving, just society.

What does interdisciplinary study mean?

Interdisciplinary study is at the heart of Edinburgh Futures Institute programmes. It means the ability to synthesise and apply knowledge and skills from across different disciplines and is crucial to addressing many current complex challenges and planetary-scale issues.

We support you to develop interdisciplinary perspectives in different ways. For example, our shared core courses draw on diverse disciplines to support you to work creatively and ethically with all kinds of data. Each programme develops interdisciplinary perspectives in the ways most appropriate to their specific domain and focus. And finally – because you have such wide choice in the optional courses you choose to take with us – you will have the flexibility to design your own disciplinary pathway through your studies, integrating your insights and reflecting on their interdisciplinary power through your project-related work.

How you will learn at the Futures Institute

Our approach to teaching puts student experience and choice at its heart and connects global cohorts in new ways.

You will study in teaching spaces and digital learning environments designed to enable shared on-site and online teaching and learning activity. Your classes and contributions will be recorded and livestreamed so that they can be shared – and so you can build a learning community – across modes and time-zones.

Students studying online have a presence in our on-site classrooms (via video, audio and text), and students studying on-campus are able to work with diverse teams located across the globe. All of your courses require significant synchronous engagement in the classroom and significant asynchronous engagement online. While there will be opportunities to engage in some activities asynchronously from different time zones, applicants should be aware of the requirement to join live classes at particular times. Please get in touch with us to discuss your particular circumstances before applying. All students have a presence in the digital spaces where teaching happens – video-based classes, real-time collaboration spaces, live chats, asynchronous forums, shared exhibition and blogging spaces and more.

Teaching methods include:

  • group work
  • expert lectures, both live and livestreamed
  • data skills and programming workshops online and on-campus
  • on-site and virtual drop-ins
  • hybrid seminars
  • interactive journal clubs
  • external stakeholder challenges and code-alongs
  • data visualisation exercises
  • creative and collaborative whiteboard activities
  • online discussion
  • blogging

Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) uses a distinctive timetabling model in which the programme core and options courses are delivered over five weeks. Four of these weeks involve asynchronous activities, interactions and tasks. In the middle of the course, an intensive two-day block of synchronous activity is held, building on the early weeks of the course and enabling the class to work together intensively to develop knowledge and skills that support the final weeks of course activity. Shared core courses are taught alternate weeks throughout the semester.

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in any discipline.

We will also consider your application if you have other professional qualifications or experience; please contact us to check before you apply.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

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

English language tests

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

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 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.

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 (non-MESC).

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:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScCreative Industries1 YearFull-timeTuition fees

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Edinburgh Futures Institute
  • 1 Lauriston Place
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH3 9EU
Programme start date Application deadline
9 September 2024 11 July 2024

We operate a number of selection deadlines. We may make a small number of offers on an ongoing basis, but we will hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline before deciding which applicants to make offers to.

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 and will be carried forward for consideration in the next selection deadline and we’ll be in touch once a decision is made

If you are applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

Application deadlines

Deadlines for applicants applying for study in 2024-25 are:

Round Application deadlines Decisions by
1 16 November 2023 31 January 2024
2 18 January 2024 28 March 2024
3 04 April 2024 13 June 2024
4 11 July 2024 30 July 2024

You must submit one reference with your application.

You must submit one reference with your application.

We will decide which applications to offer places to on the basis of:

  • educational achievement
  • professional experience (where relevant)
  • quality of personal statement

Your personal statement should include why you are interested in studying on this particular programme and – if relevant – how it will support your career development. The

Edinburgh Futures Institute provides a space where students can pursue projects on issues they care about, so it would also be helpful (though not essential) if you could indicate the area on which you would most like to focus during your time in EFI.

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

Further information

  • Edinburgh Futures Institute
  • 1 Lauriston Place
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH3 9EU