Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Global Development Challenges (Online Learning) PgCert (ICL), PgCert

Awards: PgCert (ICL), PgCert

Study modes: Part-time Intermittent Study, Part-time

Online learning

Funding opportunities

This is a part-time, online programme taking a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the issues around international development and developing your capacity to address them.

Delivered through online distance learning, this Postgraduate Certificate programme - which can be combined to form an MSc degree - offers you an innovative route to gaining understanding and skills to address the complex, interrelated problems facing the world today.

The programme draws on the University’s best research and teaching to deliver a programme that is flexible, challenging and cutting edge in content, delivery and ambition.

You’ll examine a variety of case studies to shed light on strategies for addressing some of the most pressing global challenges of our time.

Issues covered by this programme include:

  • global governance
  • human rights
  • donor aid strategy
  • global health challenges
  • climate change impacts
  • ecosystem management

Online community

Our students are part of a vibrant and growing online community at our prestigious School of Social and Political Science and the College for Humanities and Social Sciences.

Through our innovative platform and learning activities, you will forge meaningful relationships with your peers and a range of academic colleagues linking you to other relevant online programmes, such as:

  • MSc International Development
  • MSc Global Health Policy

Recognising the need for flexibility, our online programmes are an excellent way for those with professional or family commitments to gain a further qualification with minimum interruption, or to introduce students to a virtual learning environment.

Our award-winning online learning technology is fully interactive, enabling you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or workplace.

You will learn through a mix of online methods, including:

  • video lectures
  • study guides
  • self-directed and guided reading
  • a range of interactive online reflection and discussion activities

Our online students not only have access to Edinburgh’s excellent resources, but also become part of a vibrant and supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.

Studying online at Edinburgh

Find out more about the benefits and practicalities of studying for an online degree:

The programme comprises two 20-credit core courses and 20 credits of elective courses. The core courses are:

  • Global Development Challenges
  • Analysing Development

After taking this programme, graduates can also take two further postgraduate certificates in Global Environment Challenges and Global Health Challenges.

Completion of all three certificates leads to an MSc in Global Challenges.

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
PgCert (ICL)Global Development ChallengesUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2023/24
PgCertGlobal Development Challenges1 YearPart-timeProgramme structure 2023/24

When you have completed the Postgraduate Certificate you will:

  • understand development issues and international development in comparative global perspective
  • be able to critically evaluate the factors shaping particular development processes and their outcomes
  • be able to apply theories and insights from scholarly research to practical issues and problems of global development practice and policy

This programme will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed for work with:

  • governments
  • non-government organisations (NGOs)
  • international aid organisations
  • United Nations agencies
  • the private sector
  • universities
  • other research institutions

The transferable skills you gain in areas such as communication and research will give you an edge in the employment market, whatever your career.

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.

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
PgCert (ICL)Global Development ChallengesUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
PgCertGlobal Development Challenges1 YearPart-timeTuition fees

Mastercard Foundation Postgraduate Scholarships

Scholarships are available for the Global Challenges online taught programme. The postgraduate study scholarships for the 2024/25 academic year will accept applications from 23rd October 2023 at 10:00 AM until 7th December 2023 at 5:00 PM (UK Time). Applicants must be residents and citizens or hold refugee status in a Sub-Saharan African country.

For more information and how to apply, visit the website

Please note: If the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is the only scholarship you are interested in applying for at the University of Edinburgh, please apply for the Mastercard Foundation scholarship only first. If you receive a scholarship offer from the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, then you can apply for the academic programme.

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
9 September 2024 15 July 2024

If you are also applying for funding then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

You must submit one reference with your application.

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