Postgraduate study

International Development PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: International Development

The University of Edinburgh is host to a thriving and cosmopolitan community of researchers working on global development challenges.

We are home to internationally renowned academics working at the intersection of international development policy and health, science/technology, religion, migration, energy, urbanisation, mining and human rights, as well as regional centres of expertise in Africa and South Asia.

The University of Edinburgh is host to a thriving and cosmopolitan community of researchers working on global development challenges.

We are home to internationally renowned academics working at the intersection of international development policy and health, science/technology, religion, migration, energy, urbanisation, mining and human rights, as well as centres of regional expertise in Africa, South Asia and Latin America.

Doctoral students in International Development become part of a vibrant, interdisciplinary research community, and members of the Global Development Academy, which coordinates research and teaching on international development across the University.

We also welcome students who are keen to develop doctoral research projects in collaboration with third parties (NGOs, multilateral/bilateral agencies, campaign groups, or media organisations).

You will enjoy special opportunities to meet development policy makers, practitioners, diplomats, and internationally recognised academics visiting the Global Development Academy.

In addition, you will be invited to join research workshops hosted by the Global Development Academy and regular open research seminars held by subject areas across the School of Social & Political Science.

As a postgraduate in our International Development group, you will receive regular one-to-one thesis supervision from two supervisors with expertise in your research areas.

Focused supervision in the International Development group is drawn from faculty associated to the Centre of African Studies, Sociology, Social Anthropology, Social Policy, Politics and History, all of which were ranked among the UK’s top six subject groups by the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise. In addition staff from across the University provide expertise and training for our research students.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent, and a UK masters degree with an overall mark of 65% 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.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDInternational Development3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhDInternational Development6 YearsPart-timeTuition 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:

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD
Programme start date Application deadline
14 September 2020 6 July 2020

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 two references with your application.

We encourage PhD applicants in particular to contact potential supervisors before applying to discuss their research proposal so we can ensure there is adequate supervision.

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