Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Social Justice and Community Action (Online Learning) MSc, PgDip (ICL), PgCert (ICL)

Awards: MSc, PgDip (ICL), PgCert (ICL)

Study modes: Part-time Intermittent Study, Part-time


Online learning

Funding opportunities

Since my first day on the course, I have benefited from the support and mentorship of the course organisers, my personal tutor and my colleagues. This has allowed me to refine my research interests and to focus on the type of work I’d like to do next. The work we do on the course is practical and we are given opportunities to focus our learning on issues that are of personal interest. This ‘learning by doing’ approach brings the topics to life and gives us the tools we need to operationalise the principles of social justice in real-world contexts.

Samantha Wood MSc Social Justice and Community Action 2018
Samantha Wood               MSc Social Justice and Community Action 2018

Our MSc / PgDip / PgCert in Social Justice and Community Action programme will equip you with the knowledge and practical skills to make positive social change. It is part-time and fully online, making it perfect for those who wish to combine study with busy lives.

From a local and global viewpoint, you will explore the theories, politics and practices of social justice and community action, connecting ideas like liberty, equality, citizenship and democracy to real-world practices, such as:

  • grassroots activism
  • community practice
  • public policy development and implementation
  • organisational management

We cover a wide range of topics, drawing insights from critical education, politics, social policy, sociology, anthropology and psychology. We use digital tools to provide a flexible, high-quality, collaborative learning experience.

Here's what you can expect from the programme:

  • engage with the major debates and dilemmas regarding social justice, equality, democracy, citizenship and community action, both globally and locally
  • gain the skills and knowledge to apply social justice theories to real-world challenges
  • critically evaluate research, policy and practice evidence and claims regarding social (in)justice
  • develop the research and inquiry skills to investigate issues surrounding social justice, equality, democracy, citizenship and activism on all levels


This programme is the flagship teaching initiative of the University of Edinburgh’s Global Justice Academy, a multi-disciplinary network of academics and research centres committed to global justice concerns. It is a joint initiative with the Moray House School of Education and Sport.

Delivered fully online, this programme gives you the opportunity to work closely with your fellow students and tutors in a supported, collaborative, vibrant online learning environment, studying at the times and in the places that suit you best.

We deliver this programme through:

  • live online lectures, pre-recorded lectures and podcasts
  • live online tutorials and text-based discussion forums
  • reflective blogs
  • independent study
  • group work

Specialist IT skills are not required.

Studying online at Edinburgh

Find out more about the benefits and practicalities of studying for an online degree:

The flexibility of this programme means you can choose a pathway and study at a pace that suits you best. Study towards a:

  • Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert)

    • 60 credits earned over 1-2 years (part-time intermittent)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip)

    • 120 credits earned over 2-4 years (part-time intermittent)
  • full Master's degree (MSc)

    • 180 credits earned over 3 years (part-time),
    • or 3-6 years (part-time intermittent)

The Postgraduate Certificate includes two compulsory courses and one option course.

The Postgraduate Diploma includes two compulsory courses and four option courses.

To obtain the Master's qualification, you will complete three compulsory courses, three option courses, and a supervised dissertation or applied research project.

Compulsory courses

  • Theories and Politics of Social Justice
  • Community Engagement: Co-Constructing Knowledge with Communities
  • Activist Social Research (MSc students only)

Option courses

  • Organisational Management for Social Justice
  • Working with Children and Young People for Social Justice
  • Policy Analysis for Social Justice
  • Learning for Democracy

PgDip and Master's students may choose additional option courses, including any of the above not yet taken, plus:

  • Analysing Development
  • Politics and Theories of International Development
  • Key Skills in Development Practice
  • Digital Education in the Majority World
  • Global Development Challenges

Additionally, they may choose from a wide range of online courses provided elsewhere in the University. For example:

  • Child Migration and Mental Health
  • Dynamics of African Development
  • Education, Data and Change
  • Global Health Governance
  • Health Systems Analysis
  • Migration and Forced Displacement in a Digital Age
  • Post-digital Society
  • Social Inequality and Child and Adolescent Mental Health
  • Strategic Change Leadership for Creative Industries

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScSocial Justice and Community ActionUp to 6 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2024/25
MScSocial Justice and Community Action3 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25

This programme is ideal for professionals working on social justice issues in research and policy, grassroots practice and education. We also welcome recent graduates who wish to enter the social justice field.

Students will gain skills applicable to social justice work in the global public, third and private sectors. Graduates may find career opportunities, or opportunities for career advancement, in areas such as:

  • grassroots community practice (community development, community organising, rights-based development work)
  • education (formal, informal and non-formal)
  • social and public policy development
  • advocacy and campaigning
  • social research, consultancy and monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (MEAL) in non-governmental organisations or in the public/private sectors
  • trade unions
  • academia

Hear what our graduates have to say

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent.

We may also consider your application if you have substantial practice or research experience or other relevant qualifications; please contact us to check before you apply.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScSocial Justice and Community ActionUp to 6 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
MScSocial Justice and Community Action3 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
PgDip (ICL)Social Justice and Community ActionUp to 4 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
PgCert (ICL)Social Justice and Community ActionUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees

Moray House Access Scholarship

Moray House School of Education and Sport is pleased to offer a scholarship covering tuition fees and living costs for one student. The scholarship is for UK nationals domiciled in the UK, from backgrounds or groups which are underrepresented in our School.

Mastercard Foundation Postgraduate Scholarships

Scholarships are available for the Social Justice and Community Action online taught programme (MSc and PgDip). The postgraduate study scholarships for the 2024/25 academic year will accept applications until 7th December 2023 at 5:00 PM (UK Time). Applicants must be residents and citizens or hold refugee status in a Sub-Saharan African country.

Please note: If the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is the only scholarship you are interested in applying for at the University of Edinburgh, please apply for the Mastercard Foundation scholarship only first. If you receive a scholarship offer from the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, then you can apply for the academic programme.

For more information and how to apply, visit the website:

Online Learning Scholarships

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis (ICL) are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Old Moray House
  • Holyrood Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ
Programme start dates Application deadlines
9 September 2024 30 August 2024
6 January 2025 15 November 2024

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

If you are intending to apply for a UK Postgraduate Loan, you should apply on the '3 Years (Part-time)' route.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Old Moray House
  • Holyrood Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ