Future Studies

The aim of Future Studies is to discover, evaluate and suggest possible or probable futures and thereby help people to go through the various alternative futures they want so that they can use this information in their decision making. In this way, it is possible to make effective plans to enhance the chances of achieving the best possible future.

Futurologists use research and innovations from other disciplines when sketching out the various possible, probable and desirable futures that await us.

It is not possible to directly research the future. It does not exist in the same way as the present and past do. Instead, it exists in the present as intentions, which we can explore. We can also explore the matters and phenomena that will affect the future. The future is not predestined either. We can explore alternative paths of development so long as we remember that different outcomes have different levels of probability.

Because it is possible to influence the quality of the future by individual decisions, it is naturally important to define what kind of choices lead to the best and most approved of state of the future. For that reason, discussion concerning values takes on essential importance in the Future Studies programme.

Upon completion of the study package, students have a conception of the academic tradition in the research of the future, a basic knowledge of the academic thought on the future, and knowledge of the central concepts and methods in the discipline. Students can explain the significance of methodological choices in research as well as the connections between theoretical approaches, points of departure concerning philosophy of science and methods. They can apply the perspectives and methods of their expertise in Future Studies in their own research.

Study guidance in provided by University Lecturer Erkki Urpilainen, tel. +358 29 448 3305, erkki.urpilainen(a)oulu.fi.

Last updated: 10.10.2013