Postgraduate study

Africa and International Development MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Placements/internships

The MSc Africa and International Development offers you a unique opportunity to acquire a combination of interdisciplinary, regional expertise of Africa with a critical knowledge of:

  • international development theory
  • policy
  • practice

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.

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

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.

Our dedicated staff and course catalogue have expanded again this year. It builds on a track record of working towards making a difference in the International development sector with reference to Africa.

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
  • Energy in the Global South
  • Displacement and Development
  • Infrastructure and Development

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
MSc1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2020/21
MSc2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2020/21

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.

MSc AID Buddy Scheme

One of the flagship opportunities for our MSc students, MSc AID Buddy Scheme, is an in-sessional Mentoring with PhD researchers in ID to answer your questions based on their experience and knowledge of the School, student life and the city.

  • 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:

  • international organisations
  • development agencies
  • international consultancy firms
  • governmental departments
  • non-governmental organisations
  • public sector
  • academia

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

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

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 20 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • 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 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:

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

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MSc2 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
  • 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 Rama Dieng
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 1636
  • Contact: rdieng@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD
Programme start date Application deadline
13 September 2021 6 July 2021

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.

References are not usually required for applications to this programme.

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 Rama Dieng
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 1636
  • Contact: rdieng@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD