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Futures and Design, MS

Futures and Design, MS

Academic programs / Graduate degrees / Futures and Design, MS

Change Managment, Collaboration, Communication, Community, Complexity, Emerging Markets, Forecasting, Innovation, Problem Solving, Social Change, Strategy, Technology, Transdisciplinary, digital, media

What does the future look like? Using theories and practical tools, you can create a future in which we can all thrive. Learn how to apply knowledge through collaborative projects across multiple media with professional clients to inspire positive change.

Program description
Degree awarded: MS  Futures and Design

The MS program in futures and design combines future-focused theories and practices, including speculative design, science fiction and foresight studies, to investigate and craft alternative futures. Students learn a range of future-oriented theories and methods used by organizations today and invent the theories and methods of tomorrow. Students explore a variety of epistemological perspectives and experiential processes to systematically define complex problems and explore robust strategies of change. In doing so, they diversify their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Drawing from social theory, innovation studies and design science, the program develops students' capacity to envision new futures across scales of complexity, including objects, platforms, services, organizations and systems. Students work in transdisciplinary teams with professional partners from industry and the community to produce compelling visions of that future in diverse media.

The Master of Science in futures and design is offered by the transdisciplinary School for the Future of Innovation in Society. One of the benefits of this program is the opportunity to learn within the Media and Immersive eXperience (MIX) Center, which offers emerging media technologies and collaborative engagement with the community.

At a glance
Degree requirements

33 credit hours including the required applied project course (HSD 593)

Required Core (15 credit hours)
HDA 581 Emerging Media Colloquium (3)
HSD 550 Prototyping Futures (3)
HSD 551 Future-Focused Research Methods (3)
HSD 552 Worldbuilding and Imagination (3)
HSD 555 Strategic Design Futures (3)

Electives (9 credit hours)

Other Requirements (3 credit hours)
DSC 584 Internship (3)
DSC 590 Reading and Conference (3)
DSC 592 Research (3)
HDA 580 Practicum (3)
HSD 584 Internship (3)
HSD 590 Reading and Conference (3)
HSD 592 Research (3)

Culminating Experience (6 credit hours)
HSD 593 Applied Project (6)

Additional Curriculum Information
Students take the one credit hour course HDA 581 Emerging Media Colloquium three times to attain a total of three credits for the course.

Admission requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirement of both the Graduate College and the College of Global Futures.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in any field from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. personal statement
  4. professional resume
  5. three letters of recommendation
  6. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

Tuition information
When it comes to paying for higher education, everyone’s situation is different. Students can learn about ASU tuition and financial aid options to find out which will work best for them.
Application deadlines
Session A/CIn Person 01/02Priority
Session A/CIn Person 11/30Priority
Global opportunities
Global experience

Studying abroad is encouraged for graduate students. Nearly all of the College of Global Futures faculty-directed programs offer graduate credit. In addition, the Global Education Office offers more than 50 program opportunities, with programs on every continent.

Faculty-directed programs tend to be the best fit for graduate students; taking courses with ASU professors over the summer or during academic breaks offers students close mentorship and professional network growth in many fields of study while they earn ASU credit. Exchange program participation is also possible with careful planning.

Students can find programs specific to their interests on the College of Global Futures Study Abroad webpage, and additional opportunities and information on the ASU Global Education Office website. These sites also include additional information about applying for funding to support global travel.

Graduate students are also encouraged to apply for funding for international research, study and professional development through ASU's Lorraine W. Frank Office of National Scholarships Advisement.

Career opportunities

There is an increasing demand for professionals who are trained in navigating uncertainty, design thinking and strategic coping with disruptive change --- key skills that graduates of this program are equipped with. In fact, one of the core methods covered in the program --- scenario planning --- was listed by Bain and Company as one of the top 25 management tools in 2023 ( Harvard Business School has identified anticipation as an essential skill of a strategic leader.

Some career examples include:

  • director of futures strategy
  • futurist
  • global trends manager
  • growth strategist
  • ideation leader
  • issues manager
  • principal foresight researcher
  • strategic planner
Contact information
What are accelerated programs?
Accelerated programs allow students the opportunity to expedite the completion of their degree.

3 year programs

These programs allow students to fast-track their studies after admission and earn a bachelor's degree in three years or fewer while participating in the same high-quality educational experience of a 4-year option. Students should talk to their academic advisor to get started.

Accelerated master's

These programs allow students to accelerate their studies to earn a bachelor's plus a master's degree in as few as five years (for some programs).

Each program has requirements students must meet to be eligible for consideration. Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. Students typically receive approval to pursue the accelerated master’s during the junior year of their bachelor's degree program. Interested students can learn about eligibility requirements and how to apply.
What are concurrent programs?
Concurrent degrees allow students to pursue their own personal or professional interests, earn two distinct degrees and receive two diplomas. To add a concurrent degree to your existing degree, work with your academic advisor.
What are joint programs?
Joint programs, or jointly conferred degrees, are offered by more than one college and provide opportunities for students to take advantage of the academic strengths of two academic units. Upon graduation, students are awarded one degree and one diploma conferred by two colleges.

What constitutes a new program?
ASU adds new programs to Degree Search frequently. Come back often and look for the “New Programs” option.
What are online programs?
ASU Online offers programs in an entirely online format with multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year. See for more information.
What is WRGP (Western Regional Graduate Program)?
The Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) provides a reduced tuition rate to non-resident graduate students who qualify. Visit the WRGP/WICHE webpage for more information:

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