Postgraduate study

Global Challenges (Online Learning)

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Part-time

Online learning

The challenge of how seven billion can live well on one planet can only be understood and tackled effectively by taking multiple perspectives and drawing on a range of disciplines.

Our MSc Global Challenges is a multi-level online programme that offers distinct qualifications following successful completion of each of the three stages.

Each stage, a Postgraduate Certificate in it's own right, takes a multidisciplinary approach to global challenges from its own distinct perspective.

Studying all three stages gives you a comprehensive insight into the global challenges and develops and broadens your skills and knowledge to tackle them effectively. As you progress through the programme you will integrate your learning from each certificate you study, adding depth and richness to your experience.

The three stages of Postgraduate Certificate that make up the MSc are:

PgCert Global Development Challenges

Global Development Challenges considers the increasing economic, social and political inequalities in many parts of the world, and the need for new ways of thinking about and addressing international development. The programme is offered by the School of Social and Political Science.

PgCert Global Environment Challenges

Global Environment Challenges considers how human activity is changing the natural environment at an unprecedented rate and the impact of this on human wellbeing and development. The programme is offered by the School of Geosciences.

PgCert Global Health Challenges

Global Health Challenges considers the connections between local and global health challenges, and our changing understanding of health and wellness, illness and health care. The programme is offered by the Edinburgh Medical School (Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences).

Due to the highly flexible nature of this programme, it is an excellent way for those with professional or family commitments to gain a further qualification with minimum interruption or to introduce students to a virtual learning environment.

Our award-winning online learning technology is fully interactive, enabling you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or workplace.

You will learn through a mix of online methods, including video lectures, study guides, self-directed and guided reading, and a range of interactive online reflection and discussion activities. You will be part of a vibrant and supportive virtual community.

Our online students not only have access to Edinburgh’s excellent resources, but also become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.

Our MSc in Global Challenges allows you to study flexibly at a pace that suits you.You can complete the three stages in any order you wish.

There is no dissertation element: each Postgraduate Certificate provides opportunities for you, in discussion with academic staff, to develop innovative projects as part of your assessment.

The MSc in Global Challenges is normally completed over three to five academic years and is awarded by the School of Social and Political Science.

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
MScGlobal Challenges3 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2018/19

This programme will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed for work with governments, NGOs, international aid organisations, United Nations agencies, the private sector, universities, other research institutions and elsewhere.

The transferable skills you gain in areas such as communication and research will give you an edge in the employment market, whatever your career.

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

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): 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

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than three years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Check the relevant Postgraduate Certificate for specific fees and costs information:

Find out more about tuition fees and studying costs:

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

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 or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit a reference with your application.

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

Further information

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