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 issues.

Research topics

We are home to internationally recognised academics working at the intersection of:

  • international development policy and health
  • science/technology
  • culture
  • religion
  • migration
  • environment
  • energy
  • urbanisation
  • infrastructure
  • mining
  • human rights

We have regional centres of expertise in:

  • Africa
  • South Asia
  • Latin America

Research community

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, for example:

  • NGOs
  • multilateral and bilateral agencies
  • campaign groups
  • media organisations

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

Research seminars and events

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.

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
PhD3 YearsFull-timeProgramme structure 2020/21
PhD6 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2020/21

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

Focused supervision in the International Development group is drawn from faculty associated to:

  • Centre of African Studies
  • Sociology
  • Social Anthropology
  • Social Policy
  • Politics and History

These were all ranked among the UK’s top six subject groups by the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.

In addition, staff from across the University provide enriching 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

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:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhD3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhD6 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:

  • 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 5 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.

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