Postgraduate study

Africa and International Development MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Placements/internships

The programme offers the chance to develop regional expertise with a focus on the theory and practice of international development.

International Development is concerned with the idea of good change, but who decides what constitutes ‘good change’? How should such change happen? What unintended consequences might the pursuit of change create? Our MSc in Africa and International Development encourages you to critically explore these questions, in the context of Africa.

The programme is available on a full-time basis over one year or on a part-time basis over two years. Students complete six taught courses, and a dissertation.

Students can either complete their dissertation through independent study, or through a Placement-Based Dissertation. The Placement-Based Dissertation offers an opportunity to work in a wide range of development organisations across Africa for eight weeks, enabling students to apply academic training to real-world problems.

Students have the opportunity to apply for a Placement-Based Dissertation, which offer an unique opportunity to partner with organisations worldwide as part of the MSc dissertation.

Our extensive network of partners in the UK and a large number of African countries (including Liberia, South Africa, Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania) includes NGOs, charities, social enterprise, think-tanks and government bodies, giving students the chance to acquire key skills and practical, first-hand experience of working in international development in the continent.

  • Knowledge of academic and policy debates about development interventions in Africa with a focus on sub-Sahara Africa.
  • Critical understanding of theories, concepts and the practice of development in Africa.
  • Detailed knowledge of case studies examining specific aspects of international development.
  • Ability to negotiate the challenges of inter- and multi-disciplinary research drawing in particular on political science, human geography, history and social-cultural anthropology.
  • Ability to critically evaluate and analyse empirical evidence on the implementation of development projects and policies.
  • Apply the critical analysis in writing, discussion and oral presentations as well as group exercises.
  • Ability to conduct independent empirical research in sub-Sahara Africa drawing on a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods.
  • Critical understanding of the challenges and realities of work in the field of international development.

With a multidisciplinary grasp of issues in regional and international development many of our graduates go on to careers in development agencies, consultancy, public sector and non-governmental organisations.

In addition, you will develop a range of transferable skills, such as communication and project management, which can be applied to roles in any field.

We also run an online distance learning programme in Africa and International Development:

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

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

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

English language tests

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

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

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, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, 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.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Application fee

A non-refundable application fee of £50 must be paid after you submit your application. Your application will not be processed until we have received your application fee.

If you are eligible for the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, we will waive the application fees to enable you to apply. To request a fee waiver, please email:

Tuition fees

Featured funding

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, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Programme Director, Dr Jose-Maria Munoz
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 6970
  • Contact: j.munoz@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD

Application fee

A non-refundable application fee of £50 must be paid after you submit your application. Your application will not be processed until we have received your application fee.

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

Further information

  • Programme Director, Dr Jose-Maria Munoz
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 6970
  • Contact: j.munoz@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD