Future Studies Degree at UH Kicks Off in Fall 2008

Interdisciplinary curriculum to prepare students to address, react to global, organizational change

An oil company investigates whether the popularity of hybrid automobiles will affect its operations. A publishing empire researches how new digital books may influence people's reading habits. A fashion house observes the nation's increasing obesity rates and tries to determine if such data might predict the public's preferences for certain apparel.

These three hypothetical scenarios are examples of futurism in action. As the world changes, organizations and individuals must prepare to adapt or react to factors shaping tomorrow's global landscapes. Thanks to the University of Houston's newest "old" degree program in future studies, graduate students will learn how to do just that.

Starting in fall 2008, the UH College of Technology will officially begin offering a master of technology degree in future studies. Curriculum will be delivered both online and in classrooms focusing on topics such as futures research and forecasting, strategic planning, systems thinking , trend scanning and analysis.

Professional opportunities for futurists include corporate, government, contract or non-profit positions as consultants, market researchers, strategic planners and business developers.

"Change and innovation happen constantly and rapidly," said Peter Bishop, UH associate professor of strategic foresight and coordinator of the future studies program. "Organizations and individuals need the skills to consistently and effectively plan and prepare for projected changes and their impact. The goal of this program is to prepare foresight professionals."

The College of Technology added the future studies program to its Department of Human Development and Consumer Sciences in 2005. Originally founded in 1974 at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, it is the longest running master's program in future studies in the world. In 2007, the program hosted the lecture series, "The Future of Energy and the Environment," and lent its expertise to the World Energy Conference that was co-sponsored by the College of Technology and the city of Houston.

"This program draws from a variety of sources including engineering, life science and biotechnology, physical science, social science, consumer science, communication theory and information technology," said William Fitzgibbon, dean of the College of Technology. "It also will draw upon the broad spectrum of intellectual expertise in the College of Technology."

For additional information on the UH future studies program, visit http://tech.uh.edu/futureweb/, and for details on the College of Technology, visit http://www.tech.uh.edu/.

About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas' premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students. For more information about UH, visit the university's newsroom at www.uh.edu/newsroom.