Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Africa and International Development MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities


The MSc Africa and International Development offers a unique opportunity to acquire a combination of interdisciplinary and regional expertise of Africa with a critical knowledge of international development theory, policy and practice.

Our master’s students have the opportunity to join the inclusive group of world-class scholars that make up Edinburgh's Centre of African Studies (CAS), an internationally recognised hub for research and teaching on Africa. We are one of the oldest and largest African Studies centres in Europe and we pride ourselves on undertaking a diverse range of cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research.

How will I learn?

This MSc encourages you to critically explore the burning issues in the context of Africa:

  • Development
  • Social Change
  • Governance
  • Inclusive growth
  • Natural resources

Africa is a vibrant continent endowed with immense natural and human resources as well as great cultural, ecological and economic diversity. While the continent still faces multidimensional challenges, it also actively shapes current narratives on development as exemplified by the phenomenal rise of digital technologies.

The programme is available on a full-time basis over one year or on a part-time basis over two years. It is incredibly flexible to allow you to pursue the knowledge and skills most relevant to you.

Core courses

Our three carefully designed core courses ensure that you acquire the knowledge foundations and professional skills required to work professionally in the field of international development:

  • Politics and Theories of International Development
  • Research Design and Practice
  • Governance, Poverty and Development in Africa

Option courses

To that we add a variety of designated course options to allow students to develop specialised profiles as development professionals, for example:

  • Key Skills in Development Practice
  • Resource, Politics and Development
  • Displacement and Development
  • Conflict, Security and Development

Students can either complete their dissertation through independent study using the rich resources offered by the University library or through a placement-based dissertation.

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 you to apply academic training to real-world problems.

In addition, you also have the possibility to write your dissertation while honing your newly developed skills through faculty-based programmes, which allows you to take part in one of CAS’ research project.

Our extensive network of partners in the UK and a large number of African countries includes:

  • NGOs
  • charities
  • social enterprise
  • think-tanks
  • government bodies

This gives you 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.
  • 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 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 have in the past secured work as professionals in:

  • charities and non-governmental organisations
  • development agencies
  • governmental bodies and think-tanks
  • advocacy groups
  • international institutions
  • research or academia

We want to continue to make such opportunities available to students by providing increased access to them.

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.

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 7.0 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 100 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 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 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:

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 accepted 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

International students from Africa are eligible for these scholarships:

Nyerere Postgraduate Scholarship

The Nyerere Scholarships provide funding for talented Tanzanian students to follow in Nyerere’s footsteps and study at the University of Edinburgh. Through the generous support provided by a donor, the Centre of African Studies will offer a one-year postgraduate scholarship to a student domiciled in Tanzania to study a Masters-level programme in the Centre of African Studies.

Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

The Scholars Program at the University of Edinburgh will provide postgraduate on-campus scholarships to students from Africa with great academic and leadership potential but few educational opportunities.

The application fee will be waived only if you are accepted to the Mastercard programme - please do not contact fees or the admissions office to request a waiver. If you are successful we will do this.

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 residency status.

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

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD

If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

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

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD