Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Comparative Education and International Development (CEID) MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities


The MSc CEID provided me with an amazing experience to explore my different academic interests and network with people in different academic and professional spheres. I have a background in Philosophy with experience in the education consulting industry and the MSc allowed me to adopt an interdisciplinary approach in combining my different interests and exploring new ones in the field of anthropology. Overall, I had a great time learning and living with the CEID community.

Ijaaz MSc Comparative Education and International Development 2023

The MSc Comparative Education and International Development (CEID) programme provides you with both:

  • an academic foundation in the theories, issues, and current debates in comparative education and international development
  • the flexibility to follow your professional interests through a wide range of option courses

Exposure to experts across the university and practitioners in the field will allow you to further your networks and consider a multitude of post-graduation possibilities.

You may find the MSc CEID is a suitable qualification if you are interested in:

  • research
  • higher education internationalisation offices
  • civil society and non-governmental organisations
  • international organisations
  • public sector

In addition, the programme provides a good foundation for those that want to continue their studies and pursue a doctoral degree.

In the programme, we adopt a social justice perspective. Our expert faculty share cross-national and cross-cultural examples from around the world to help you understand how the global and local shape education policy, and the role education plays in various aspects of development, including health, peacebuilding, and citizenship.

At the end of this programme, you will have a more critical understanding of the policies, politics, histories, ideas and cultural practices that influence education.

The programme also builds on the University of Edinburgh and Scotland’s desires to be responsible international actors. It takes advantage of Edinburgh as a capital city by connecting with the Scottish Parliament and local organisations in the CEID field.

The capstone approach to the dissertation allows you to apply to complete placement-based dissertations with local, regional, or global organisations.

As a student in the MSc CEID Programme, you have the opportunity to participate in the dynamic CEID Community based at the Moray House School of Education and Sport. Beyond the MSc CEID programme, you benefit from:

  • access to the CEID Research Group which brings together over 50 researchers across the university to learn from and share their research in the CEID field

  • the ability to join the CEID Student Society – one of the few student-run societies focused on the graduate student experience, holding regular social, academic, and networking events

Teaching and learning in the MSc CEID programme is organised through weekly contact sessions.

Material is delivered through a variety of methods including:

  • lectures (live and recorded)
  • podcasts
  • readings
  • external events

In preparation for the weekly contact session, or workshop, most of your individual study time will be spent on engaging with the required readings and organising and participating in study groups with peers.

Workshop activities vary across courses and include:

  • discussions on readings, debates, policy, data, and media analysis
  • group presentations and problem-based learning
  • case studies

The programme is structured to provide you with an introduction to the foundational knowledge in comparative education and education and international development in your first semester, allowing you to follow your interests through our wide range of option courses.

Completing the programme

To complete your MSc CEID, you need to:

  • successfully complete the required courses and three optional courses
  • progress to the dissertation
  • complete your dissertation with a mark of at least 50%

You will receive a Postgraduate Diploma in CEID if you:

  • successfully complete the required and three optional courses
  • do not progress, or choose not to progress, to the dissertation stage
  • average 40% or above across 120 taught course credits with no more than 40 credits below 40%

You will be granted a Postgraduate Certificate in CEID if you:

  • successfully complete the 40 credit required introduction courses (Introduction to Comparative Education and Education and International Development) and 20 additional credits
  • do not complete any other courses
  • average 40% or above across the 60 credits with no more than 20 credits below 40%

Required courses

  • Introduction to Comparative Education
  • Education and International Development
  • Sources of Knowledge: Understanding and analysing research literature
  • Conceptualising research: Foundations, assumptions and praxis

Option courses (choose 60 credits total)

Choose 40 – 60 credits from List A.

List A

  • Education Policy and the Politics of Education (20 credits)
  • Anthropology of Education and Learning (20 credits)
  • Comparative Analysis in Education (20 credits)
  • Education and Conflict (20 credits)
  • Social Inequalities in Education Worldwide (20 credits)
  • Global Governance and Education (20 credits)
  • International Development: Institutions and Practices (20 credits)

Choose 0 – 20 credits from List B.

List B

  • Higher Education in the Global Context (20 credits)
  • Theories and Politics of Social Justice (20 credits)
  • Policy Analysis for Social Justice (20 credits)
  • Education for All (20 credits)
  • Comparative Approaches to Inclusive and Special Education (20 credits)
  • Global Childhood and Human Rights (20 credits)
  • Foundations of International Child Protection (20 credits)
  • Sport, Society, and International Development (20 credits)
  • The Curriculum: Context, Change, and Development (20 credits)
  • Ethics, Education, and Film (20 credits)

In place of the option course from list B, students may choose an available course from Moray House School of Education and Sport or throughout the University of Edinburgh.

The chosen course must be at level 11 and be approved by the CEID programme director.

While you will be present on campus for the totality of your taught coursework (Semester 1 and 2), you may be interested in gaining experience in the field through completing a placement-based dissertation.

The placement-based dissertation is a competitive process for which you will be required to meet academic requirements and apply for placement.

On average, 20-30% of students participate in this opportunity and complete a placement as part of their dissertation. This unpaid opportunity is dependent on partner organisation demand and would entail placement with organisations working in the CEID field.

You would complete research as part of your dissertation for two months in the summer following your taught coursework.

In addition to completing the 12,000 to 15,000-word dissertation, you will have additional responsibilities, agreed upon with the host organisations, which may include the completion of a secondary output.

Your time with the organisation and this tailored output provides a further opportunity for you to draw on your knowledge and insights from courses taken in the CEID programme while strengthening skills in time-management, collaborative problem solving, and communicating with a variety of audiences.

Following the MSc CEID programme, you will:

  • be able to evaluate the challenges of applying theory in practice and the debates around the global local nexus
  • be able to identify and analyse the main theories and perspectives in comparative education and international development and critically engage with their underlying assumptions
  • have increased sensitivity towards and understanding of diversity, and an awareness of how a variety of contexts shape educational policies, practices, and outcomes
  • have increased capacity to reflect on and consider your own perspectives and experiences and how these influence your understanding of education and international development
  • have improved your practical skills and expanded your network through the completion of applied activities and assessments and exposure to the broader Comparative Education and International Development Community at, and beyond, the university

As an academic programme, this degree has no fixed career trajectory, opening multiple, potential possibilities.

You may find the MSc CEID a suitable qualification if you are seeking a career in:

  • research
  • higher education internationalisation offices
  • civil society and non-governmental organisations
  • international organisations
  • the public sector

In addition, the programme provides a good basis for you to continue your studies and pursue a doctoral degree.

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 July 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant discipline such as Education, Demography, Global Studies, Public Policy, Regional Studies, Social Anthropology, Social Policy, Sociology, Liberal Studies, Political Science, International Relations, International Development, International Studies, Politics, Human Geography, Social Research, Economics, Public Health, Population Studies, Environmental Studies, or Environmental Sustainability. We may consider other subject areas if you have significant relevant work experience or a masters degree in a relevant subject area.

In exceptional cases, we may also consider your application if you have substantial relevant work experience in place of academic qualifications; please contact us to check before you apply.

Entrance to our MSc programmes is competitive. Relevant work experience or the completion of a masters degree is not required but is given substantial consideration and may increase your chances of acceptance. Preference will be given to those with qualifications above the minimum requirements, or those who have a competitive combinations of undergraduate, relevant masters degree, and substantial relevant work experience.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

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 6.5 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 23 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 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 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:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

Moray House Country Scholarship

Moray House School of Education and Sport is pleased to offer five £10,000 scholarships to study a Master’s degree programme commencing in September 2024. These will be based on merit and available to applicants from eligible countries.

Moray House Access Scholarship

Moray House School of Education and Sport is pleased to offer a scholarship covering tuition fees and living costs for one student. The scholarship is for UK nationals domiciled in the UK, from backgrounds or groups which are underrepresented in our School.

GREAT scholarship: Mexico

One GREAT scholarship will be available to applicants from Mexico who apply for 2024 entry. This award is for £10,000 towards postgraduate taught (Masters) degree tuition. Further details on eligibility criteria and how to apply can be found on the GREAT scholarship website.

India Merit Scholarship

The University is offering a new international scholarship for the most academically gifted Postgraduate Taught (PGT) Masters students applying from India. These awards cover £5,000 towards tuition fees for PGT Masters students studying on campus during the 2024/25 academic year. The Scholarships will be tenable for the first year of study only and will be automatically deducted from your student tuition fee balance. 

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 tuition fee status.

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

(Updated 15 May 2024 to include India Merit Scholarship information)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Old Moray House
  • Holyrood Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.

Please be aware that applications must be submitted and be complete, i.e. all required documents uploaded, by the relevant application deadline in order to be considered in that round. Your application will still be considered if you have not yet met the English language requirement for the programme.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2024/25:

Round Application deadline Places awarded by
1 09 October 2023 19 December 2023
2 11 December 2023 28 February 2024
3 04 March 2024 16 May 2024
4 06 June 2024 30 July 2024

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

Further information

  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Old Moray House
  • Holyrood Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ