Postgraduate study

International Development (Online Learning) MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Part-time

Online learning

Funding opportunities

The MSc in International Development programme offers students an unparalleled opportunity to deepen their understanding and engagement with the most pressing challenges confronting people, communities and institutions in the Global South. What are the processes that have shaped poverty and inequality across the world – as well as the responses to them? How do they differ across international, national, and local contexts? This programme builds and strengthens critical skills for analysing these development processes and inequities, exploring development issues in a range of different social, historical and political contexts. It aims to provide you with a rigorous multi-disciplinary grounding in major debates, theories and critical concepts as well as proficiency in applying these to investigate contemporary development challenges, policy processes, and initiatives.

Our students are part of a vibrant and growing online distance education 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, they forge meaningful relationships with their peers and a range of academic colleagues linking them to other relevant online distance learning programmes, such as the MSc Global Challenges (ODL), MSc in Global Health Policy (ODL) and cognate programmes such as the MSc in Social Justice and Community Organising (ODL) in Moray House of Education.

The MSc International Development is part of our growing portfolio of online learning programmes.

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, and a range of interactive online reflection and discussion activities. You will be part of a vibrant and supportive virtual community.

Our online students not only have access to Edinburgh’s excellent resources, but also become part of a 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 MSc International Development is a part-time online distance learning programme which can be pursued over two or three years. All courses are taught through a combination of independent study and online group activities, allowing you to continue your life and career uninterrupted whilst returning to university study.

There are three core courses – Politics and Theories of International Development, Analysing Development, and Global Development Challenges – which equip students with a solid grasp of the key theories, issues, and actors of International Development, providing an optimum balance between policy and academic approaches.

You then further your interests in specific areas of international development, such as mobility and migration, monitoring and project design, the environment, or global health through your optional course choices. New optional courses, based on successful on-campus courses, will be added

Research training is provided via a core course in Researching International Development, which introduces you to cutting-edge innovations in the field whilst preparing your for your dissertation – be it a research or applied project. You will discuss dissertation plans with tutors and the Programme Director in Collaborate seminars and in weekly guidance and feedback sessions. You will also have your own dissertation supervisor.

You will also be mentored by a Personal Tutor — a member of our teaching staff who provides academic guidance and pastoral support.

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
MScInternational Development2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
MScInternational Development3 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

With a solid background in international development study and practice, our graduates pursue current and future careers in a range of institutions including United Nations agencies, charities, non-governmental organizations, government ministries, and the private sector, as well as in research institutions and journalism.

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

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • 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, PTE Academic 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.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScInternational Development2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MScInternational Development3 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, and 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 Jean-Benoit Falisse
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 1632
  • Contact: jb.falisse@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD
Programme start date Application deadline
9 September 2019 15 August 2019

We strongly recommend you submit your completed application as early as possible, particularly if you are also applying for funding or will require a visa. We may consider late applications if we have places available.

References are not usually required for applications to this programme.

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

Further information

  • Programme Director, Dr Jean-Benoit Falisse
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 1632
  • Contact: jb.falisse@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD