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The University of Edinburgh: Data and Artificial Intelligence Ethics

Institution The University of Edinburgh View institution profile
Department Edinburgh Futures Institute View department profile
Study type Taught


A new, interdisciplinary degree with Edinburgh Futures Institute

This programme meets the urgent demand for interdisciplinary skills and knowledge in the ethical design, use and governance of artificial intelligence and other data-intensive technologies.

Today, many organisations and sectors that work with artificial intelligence (AI) and data-intensive applications are missing the distinctive expertise in their technical and policy/governance workforce needed to answer society’s ethical demands for responsible technology use, which increasingly goes beyond mere legal compliance.

Faced with rising public expectations and regulatory demands that new technologies will be applied not just legally, but ethically, all sectors require skilled graduates armed with critical, creative and higher-order data skills. Graduates of this programme will help their future employers to navigate complex new technical systems and roles with transparency, accountability, fairness, justice, and respect for individual and human rights, and in ways aligned with genuine human and social needs.

Our interdisciplinary degree is designed with the University of Edinburgh’s world-leading academic expertise in this area, drawing on philosophy, law, informatics, and science and technology innovation studies (STIS). It leverages the research power and mission of the Futures Institute’s Centre for Technomoral Futures, which promotes sustainable, just and ethical outcomes for artificial intelligence (AI) and data-driven technology.

You will:

  • Build the complex cognitive and collaborative skills needed to become knowledgeable and competent in responsible and ethical data and AI development, use and governance.

  • Develop an understanding of the ethical, legal, policy and design values, principles and practices that enable responsible use of data and AI.

  • Gain practical experience working and communicating about AI and data ethics with other stakeholders and practitioners across sectors, disciplines and publics.

  • Students will learn how ethical norms and principles map onto the distinctive technical affordances of AI and data science; how ethics intersects with other forms of technology governance such as law, policy, design and professional standards; and how ethics relates to broader political and cultural contestations of algorithmic, corporate and state power and influence.

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 focused on complex global and social challenges.

Our programmes are all 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 EFI will give you the skills and understanding you need to become a creative, confident and critical citizen in a fast-changing world. These will include:

  • core data skills

  • data ethics

  • the ability to interrogate issues of global scope

  • the creative and analytic approaches to knowledge that are vital for building better futures

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


Postgraduate Certificate - PgCert

Postgraduate Diploma - PgDip

Edinburgh Futures Institute

Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) is a large, new and future-facing part of the University of Edinburgh. We give students the chance to explore different and ambitious ways of thinking, collaborating, learning and working.

Rather than being a discipline-based School, our cross-sector, interdisciplinary approach draws together the very best of the University of Edinburgh to enable students to learn and connect across many fields and areas of expertise.

We are collaborating with industry, government and communities to build project-led, flexible and innovative degree programmes linked to leading research and enquiry from across disciplines.

We are opening up education in new ways …

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