Postgraduate study

Advanced Design Informatics

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time

Design Informatics combines Data Science with Design Thinking in a context of critical enquiry and speculation. 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.

The central premise 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. You will use this 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, and 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.

The Advanced MSc programme offers students a unique opportunity to deepen their learning through an additional 6-10 week internship, followed by an additional two semesters at Design Informatics where students can develop further as reflective practitioners, makers, and innovators.

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

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.

Year 1:

Compulsory Courses:

  • Design Informatics: Histories and Futures
  • Data Science for Design (not compulsory yet, but strongly recommended for MSc/ Advanced MSc)
  • Case Studies in Design Informatics 1
  • Design with Data
  • Design Informatics Project

In Design with Data and Design Informatics Project, 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.

Elective Courses:

In addition to the compulsory courses, you can choose 1-4 elective courses from the Masters Programmes of the School of Informatics, Edinburgh College of Art, and Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences.

Students in the Advanced MSc programme will complete a 6-10 week internship with a company, charity, government, or third sector organisation over the summer.

Year 2:

Compulsory Courses:

  • Case Studies in Design Informatics 1
  • Dissertation

Elective Courses:

In addition to the compulsory courses, you can choose 2-4 elective courses from the Masters Programmes of the School of Informatics, Edinburgh College of Art, and Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences.

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
MScAdvanced Design Informatics21 MonthsFull-timeProgramme structure 2017/18

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

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • 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(A): 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

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

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

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

(Revised 3 November 2017 to reflect a change in the programme deadline information).

Applications for our postgraduate taught programmes can be submitted at any time during the year, and will be evaluated as they are received. 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 using both.

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.

Applications which are received after our final selection deadline will be considered at our discretion, if there are still places available.

Selection deadlines

Round Deadline
1 7 December 2017
2 8 February 2018
3 19 April 2018

You must submit a reference with your application.

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

Further information

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