Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Global Health Challenges (Online Learning) PgCert (ICL), PgCert, PgProfDev

Awards: PgCert (ICL), PgCert, PgProfDev

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

Online learning

Funding opportunities

Global health challenges really brought to life for me the health issues facing people and the planet in different parts of the world. As a non-health expert, I found the course to be fascinating and inspiring, allowing me to look at specific health issues in various parts of the world - and it motivated me to take my studies further, particularly considering how health and education intersect. The method of study was hugely flexible and the interactions with fellow students very, very valuable. We learnt not only from the course itself - but also from each other - and continue to do so today.

MSc Global Challenges graduate

Who this programme is for

We have designed the programme to help students have a better understanding of the big global health challenges in the world, and to equip students to better respond to these challenges whether in jobs in development, industry, health and social care, the charity sector, journalism or in international relations.

The Certificate in Global Health Challenges is one of three certificates (the other two being Development and Environment) which together make up the MSc in Global Challenges.

This Certificate takes a different lens than many other health programmes, aiming to equip those already working at the intersection of global challenges, or those interested in working in a job concerned with the ways in which health is changing across the world. The Certificate will give you insight not only into global diseases and their drivers, but into the ways in which human heath, and the health of the climate, of the land, the soil, the air, forests, oceans and rivers are interconnected.

It is an excellent stand alone Certificate for anyone who is considering a career with global agencies, or international or national organisations or charities concerned with what drives ill health and ways to respond to the complex web of health challenges. You will gain an understanding of the ways health is changing globally because of the climate crises, of how conflict destroys health gains and how health challenges can trigger conflicts, of the ways that the global systems we take for granted, the food system, our health systems and it's services, the energy system are interlinked.

Students have come from, and gone to work in many different fields including:

  • global aid and development
  • journalism
  • international business in the health and social care fields
  • education
  • corporate social responsibility and sustainability

Though focusing on health challenges, it isn't necessary to start the programme with a background in healthcare.

Why Edinburgh

The programme will utilise all that the particular expertise of the University of Edinburgh and its global partners offer in global health including its public, primary and planetary health expertise and its medical, nursing, social science and biomedical excellence.

This programme is affiliated with the University's Global Health Academy.

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

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.

Studying online at Edinburgh

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

The programme is delivered using an innovative blend of online learning opportunities supported by online learning environments.

It will involve:

  • online discussion
  • group project work
  • online lectures delivered by world expert leaders
  • occasional synchronous sessions
  • independent study and reflection


The programme comprises two 20-credit core courses and 20 credits of elective courses.

The core courses for 2023-24 are:

  • Global Health Challenges: an Introduction
  • Evaluation of Global Health and Development Programmes

The elective courses offered in 2023-24 include:

  • Maternal and Child Health in a Global Context
  • Migration and Health
  • Leadership and Management in Public Health
  • Global Challenges in Healthy Ageing

MSc Global Challenges

After taking this programme, graduates can also take two further postgraduate certificates in Global Development Challenges and Global Environment Challenges. Completion of all three certificates leads to an MSc in Global Challenges.

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
PgCert (ICL)Global Health ChallengesUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2024/25
PgCertGlobal Health Challenges1 YearPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25
PgProfDevGlobal Health ChallengesUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2024/25

On completion of this certificate, you will have an understanding of the processes and procedures by which the global health agenda is shaped.

You will also possess the analytical and conceptual skills necessary to critically evaluate the nature of global health issues and to understand the interconnectedness of health with social, environmental, psychological and economic determinants.

Graduates will gain the knowledge and skills required for pursuing a career within:

  • global health agencies or national health services concerned with the global health challenges facing communities
  • industry and business
  • social, economic and political thinktanks and institutions
  • education

Our recent graduates have gone on to work in academia, national and intergovernmental organisations (for example, EU, UN) in senior advisory and managerial roles.

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, in a development, social science or health related specialty including but not restricted to medicine, nursing, social science, anthropology, finance and accounting for health, science, or a development related discipline.

We may also consider your application if you do not have a degree but have relevant work experience; please contact the programme team to check before you apply.

Students from China

This degree is Band D.

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:

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PgCert (ICL)Global Health ChallengesUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
PgCertGlobal Health Challenges1 YearPart-timeTuition fees
PgProfDevGlobal Health ChallengesUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees

Online Commonwealth Scholarships: Global Health

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) supports students living and working in listed Commonwealth Countries. Every year the Global Health Academy makes an application to the CSC for scholarships, some of which are available for Global Challenges MSc applicants. Please watch this site for updates on scholarship opportunities.

The scholarships cover tuition fees and are awarded to outstanding candidates who are committed to ensuring that their study is impactful to their country.

Successful applicants will benefit from the University's Global Academy network.

Search for Scholarships and funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Centre for Population Health Sciences
  • Medical School
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG
Programme start date Application deadline
9 September 2024 23 August 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 or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

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

Further information

  • Centre for Population Health Sciences
  • Medical School
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG