Our programmes form an interconnected portfolio of postgraduate study. Our focus is on interdisciplinary teaching, learning and research that addresses complex global and social challenges. Our programmes are all taught by academic experts from different subject areas, and 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 issues linked to your own passions and professional goals, and to develop a project based on an issue that you care about.
Explore some of the ways that our approach is unique and what you can expect from an Edinburgh Futures Institute programme of your choice.
Our programmes offer a lot of flexibility in how you choose to study. You can study on a full-time basis over one year, or part-time over two or three years. You can register for a full MSc, or for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate. You can take these programmes either online or on-campus, or combine on-campus with online study (though please note that the MSc Creative Industries programme is full-time and on-campus only so it can benefit from the city’s strong cultural organisations).
We will also offer students the opportunity to study individual courses on a lifelong learning basis without signing up to study to a full award.
We use an approach called ‘fusion teaching’. This makes it possible for you to have greater choice about when you study on-campus, and when you study online. You can choose at the level of each individual course which study mode you prefer, although we may not always be able to guarantee your first choice of study mode for every course you take. Fully online and fully on-campus study is also possible. (Please note that students on study visas, and students on the MSc Creative Industries, need to be based entirely on-campus.)
If you are considering full-time online study, please note that all courses require significant synchronous engagement in the classroom. Get in touch with us with questions before applying.
The EFI approach to teaching places student experience and choice at its heart and connects global cohorts in new ways. Students will study in teaching spaces and digital learning environments designed to enable on-site/online sharing of all teaching and learning activity. Your classes and contributions will be recorded and livestreamed so that they can be shared – and learning communities built – across modes and time-zones.
Apart from the shared core courses, most EFI postgraduate courses are delivered in intensive two-day blocks of teaching and learning activity, combined with pre- and post-intensive wraparound activity that will include a range of scheduled and self-directed activities (for example, group project activities, reading, assessment).
Where will on-site teaching take place?
From 2023, you will be based in the newly renovated, Category-A Listed, Edinburgh Futures Institute in the heart of Edinburgh and the central campus. A large investment by the University has created the architect-designed Edinburgh Futures Institute building, complete with state-of-the-art teaching and working, lecture and event spaces.
The Institute boasts 21,300 m² of space, 6,000 of which is new construction. It offers a unique, central location on a large park (Edinburgh’s beautiful Meadows) and is only a few steps from the University’s George Square campus and central area.
You will study and learn alongside our community of students, researchers, partner organisations and businesses.
Lectures, tutorials, and classes held in our purpose-designed spaces are tailored for both individual and group study and dedicated project work.
You will have access to an on-site cafe, performance space, digital maker labs, group and collaborative workspaces and a vibrant community of partners, businesses and organisations who are part of the Futures Institute space.
“This remains the best course by design and course content I have taken… I loved the hackathon (intensive) nature of it and the live support available to students. I did the course online, but I felt like I was physically present on campus because I could interact with my team members, tutors, and course instructor real-time.”
Ayebilla, student on pilot Data Science for Society course
“I can’t recommend this course highly enough. It has encouraged me to look at my teaching practice and also the strategic direction of my faculty. The teaching and support was excellent. I was worried about doing the course totally online but it was a great experience.”
Student on pilot Future of Learning Organisations course
The events and activities that form part of your programme will be available both to online and on-site students, starting with welcome activities that will include a mixture of introductory events and social activities.
Edinburgh Futures Institute offers a rich array of events, including the global Edinburgh Futures Conversations series which is aimed at promoting global cooperation in solving the critical challenges facing the world and brings together global influencers, academic experts, policymakers, writers, activists and artists, including our alumni and our students, to debate possible solutions and define the actions necessary to achieve them.
We also offer a twice yearly programme of public events, mostly delivered in hybrid format, which are free and open to all. Our first season, First Breath, is available to watch online. Booking for our Spring Season will launch in January – sign up to our mailing list if you would like to receive event information.
Whether you study on-site or online, you will also have access to a wide range of University study support services, such as the University’s extensive library collections, and its careers and student counselling services.
Interdisciplinary study is at the heart of our approach and ethos. 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.
Our shared core courses are fundamentally interdisciplinary, drawing on diverse disciplines to support you to work creatively and ethically with all kinds of data. In addition, 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 – 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.
These courses place you in cross-disciplinary teams with students from other programme areas, supporting you to understand what it means to approach knowledge from multiple perspectives, and use it to address complex challenges. They will teach you to collect, manage and analyse computational datasets, and to use emerging methodologies for mapping and ‘designing’ the future. They will also teach the fundamentals of data ethics, supporting you to develop a mature data philosophy while using your creative skills in the analysis and representation of data-informed and qualitative inquiry.
All programmes allow students to choose from a range of programme-specific optional courses, and from a wider portfolio of our optional courses.
For most programmes you can choose to define your own project, bring a project your employer would like you to address, work on a project set by one of our external partners or align your project to one of our research programmes.