University of Edinburgh

School of Social and Political Sciences

MSc International Development


Old College

South Bridge

Edinburgh, Scotland EH8 9YL

United Kingdom

Program Information

Degrees Offered:

Certificate or diploma in International Development, Master of Science

Format: Campus

Program Description:

Introduction The MSc International Development is one of the flagship programmes offered by the Global Development Academy - whose ambition is to address contemporary challenges through collaborative and interdisciplinary research, teaching, and action. The MSc in International Development is a 12-month programme that offers students the chance to critically engage with international development thinking and practice, and more broadly with processes of social, political and economic transformation throughout the Global South.  An integral part of the programme—and one of our comparative advantages relative to other Master's programmes in International Development—are  Work Based Projects. These consist of eight weeks of on-location research with a host organisation, generally in a developing country but also sometimes in the UK.  Our extensive network of partners includes NGOs, charities, social enterprise, think-tanks and government bodies. Alternatively, students can explore an academic issue or theme in greater depth by choosing to complete a research dissertation based on fieldwork and/or print and library sources.  Who is this programme for? This programme is designed to appeal equally to recent graduates of various disciplines, and professionals with 2 to 5+ years experience who want to shift careers, upgrade their academic qualifications, or take a year out to reflect critically on their work. Although most students will move on after one year to development-related jobs, we welcome those who would like to use it as a pathway into our Ph.D in International Development . Programme aims The MSc in International Development will assist students in developing a deep understanding of development processes in the Global South, and how international thinking and development practice has impacted around the world. Students will gain critical skills in analysing development policy and undertaking research in the context of developing countries. The MSc programme seeks to contextualise and analyse the processes that have shaped poverty and underdevelopment in developing countries, and the many responses to them. The programme offers a grounded and multi-disciplinary grasp of issues of development in global, national and local contexts for students interested in pursuing a career in development agencies, research, the public sector and non-governmental organisations. Specific aims are: Development of analytical and conceptual skills to enable critical evaluation and investigation of development issues: What is development and 'where' does it come from? Thorough training in comparative analysis: Can we understand international development comparatively? In-depth knowledge of the main historical events, actors and processes that have shaped development: Is development ahistorical? Detailed and comparative examination of local and international interpretation of development: Do local cultures fit into development? Are local perspectives important in development? Knowledge and skills needed for pursuing career in development agencies, political institutions or academia: Has development worked in different regions of the world? What future for development? At the end of the course, students should have a deep understanding of development processes and their implications, and how international thinking and perspectives on development have impacted upon societies in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Students should have gained critical skills in analysing development policy and undertaking development research. Structure and courses The programme is available on a full-time basis over one year or on a part-time basis over two years; alternatively it can be taken as a diploma or as a certificate. These last two options are specifically designed for practitioners interested in developing skills and knowledge on international development. Masters students are expected to complete six courses and an extended dissertation. Students may take options from other schools with the approval of the Programme Director. The two core courses are: Politics and Theories of International Development Interpreting Development: Institutions and Practices Optional courses Students choose 4 optional courses from our wider course list of over 30 choices. Courses vary from year to year and a current complete list can be found on our website. Our optional course list includes courses such as: -African Borderlands, Contemporary African Issues and Debates  -Governing Mineral Extraction in Africa  -Human dimensions of environmental change and sustainability ; -Energy Policy and Politics -Swahili -Anthropology of Global Health  -South Asia: Culture, Politics & Economy .


Fully accredited by The University of Edinburgh and Internationally recognised.

International Student Requirements:

For students whose first language is not English, detailed information about required English language qualifications can be found on our website. Our website will also inform you which international qualifications meet our general entry requirements.

Facts & Figures

Financial Aid: No

International Financial Aid: No

Classification: Higher Education Institution (Not Carnegie Classified)

Locale: Midsize City

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