Postgraduate study
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Conflict, Security and Development MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

The MSc Conflict, Security, and Development programme focuses on the intersection of conflict, security and development, both conceptually and in practice. It critically explores the notion that security is a precondition for development and that development leads to security. This ‘security-development nexus’ has become a central theme in the way development programmes are designed and implemented, particularly those focused on the Global South. Yet there are many important debates and unsettled questions about the linkages between conflict, security and development. For example, what is the role of poverty in conflict? How does this framing of development affect our understanding of issues such as inequality, democracy and justice? How do everyday imaginations of security interact with high-level security politics?

The programme explores the connections between conflict, security, and development from an interdisciplinary perspective based in the social sciences. We take a global view of the topic with a particular emphasis on Africa, drawing on the unique interdisciplinary expertise of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre of African Studies, which hosts the programme.

The programme is available on a full-time basis over one year or on a part-time basis over two years. There is flexibility to allow you to pursue the knowledge and skills most relevant to you.

Compulsory courses

There are three compulsory courses, which all students are required to take:

  • Conflict, Security, and Development
  • Politics and Theories of International Development
  • Peace and Conflict in Africa

Optional courses

A variety of designated course options allow students to develop specialised profiles as development professionals, for example:

  • Resource Politics and Development
  • Policing and Punishment: Global Perspectives
  • Displacement and Development
  • Pursuing Justice After Violence

Up to 20 credits from courses outside the listed optional courses are permitted with approval from the Programme Director.

Graduates of this programme will:

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the links between conflict, security and development and be able to analyse the various actors, agendas, and practices that these linkages have generated.
  • Apply research skills and techniques appropriate to the study of development and security policy.
  • Analyse and synthesize relevant data using interdisciplinary methods.
  • Be able to independently engage with new ideas, and to confront social questions with open-mindedness and intellectual rigour.
  • Gain knowledge and skills needed for progression to relevant professional work, including the ability to effectively and confidently articulate complex social ideas, with appropriate sensitivity and nuance, to different audiences.

This programme is extremely relevant if you are seeking employment in:

  • Government agencies
  • Non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
  • International organisations (United Nations, World Bank, etc.)
  • Humanitarian organisations
  • Research institutes
  • The public sector
  • Think tanks
  • Academia

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 relevant subject such as politics, international relations, international development, anthropology, area studies, and international studies.

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 6.0 in each component.
  • 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 three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScConflict, Security and Development1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScConflict, Security and Development2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

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.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Social and Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15a George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD
Programme start date Application deadline
9 September 2024 1 July 2024

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.

References are not usually required for applications to this programme.

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

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

Further information

  • School of Social and Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15a George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD