Welcome to the Foresight (FORE) Graduate Program. The Foresight program trains people and organizations in the core principles, methods, and frameworks that are used to not just map the future, but to advance it. As the longest-running academic foresight program in the world, our graduates are equipped to deepen strategic efforts in public policy, business and innovation strategies, the nonprofit sector, and ventures addressing societal, economic, and environmental concerns of our time. We are a highly-regarded program in the field - credentials from the Houston foresight program carry enduring value for professionals.
The Foresight program is focused on the practical application of foresight methods. Through real projects with real clients, students are trained in solving problems that matter in the real world. Our Masters’ graduates are prepared to assess client needs, design projects, and lead clients through the foresight process, bearing useful results and informed decisions about the future.
- That change is actually slower than it appears. This means, if we do our homework, we can get ahead of events and we will not be surprised; we can work towards the futures we want, avoid those we don’t, and we can be ready to respond however the future unfolds.
- Foresight offers a lens for understanding the world in critical ways. As such, we believe that proper training in foresight develops a competency that should be widely embedded in the way we make decisions about the future.
- More than tools, foresight is a developmental discipline that deepens the way people think, see, and create the future. It is a life-long learning engagement that we seek to support in a variety of offerings that inspires and strengthens our community of graduates.
What is Foresight?
Foresight is the study of change that uses a systematic methodology to explore the future in order to make better decisions today by helping us move us toward the futures we want and avoid those we don’t, and to ultimately build confidence in the future by building our capacity to avoid surprise!
Futurists explore the future, just as historians study the past. Whereas history is concerned with origins, roots, and where we have been, foresight is about goals, purposes, and where we are going–and how we get there. A futurist helps clients expand their typically narrower focus on the future to a broader range of possibilities. They forecast the future, not just to know the future as an abstract description, but rather to prepare for it as a concrete reality. The objective is not just to know what will happen, but to be ready for whatever does happen. The purpose is not necessarily to be exactly right (which is impossible), but rather not to be wrong–that is, not to be surprised. Surprise means inadequate preparation, late response, higher risk of failure, even chaos or panic. Thus, preparing for the full range of plausible futures is the objective of foresight.
Because foresight is multidisciplinary, some futurists seek to build special domain expertise — that is, they may become experts in the future of a topic such as energy, law, education, etc. Others prefer to be generalists, ranging across a variety of topics. They become skilled in getting up-to-speed quickly in a particular topic area, and then apply foresight tools and techniques to study its future. Along these lines, some futurists tend to specialize in a particular method or methods, while others have a wide variety of tools they like to draw from.
- Monitor the global environment for signs of change
- Challenge prevailing assumptions about change
- Describe likely and other plausible scenarios for the future
- Help others envision, plan for, and work toward their preferred future
Students complete 30 graduate hours, including a project or thesis. Please refer to the Course Requirements section for a description of the program. The program is offered online with virtual classes. This program can be completed in as little as one year for full time (3-4 courses per semester) or 2-5 years taking courses part-time (1-2 courses per semester).
For more information and guidance about the program, contact ahines [at] uh.edu (Andy Hines), who will help you decide if this is the program for you. Or, visit the Student Alumni Webpage.