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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Programme Structure

The programme is available on a part-time basis, over two or three years (for a full-time programme over one year, see our on-campus MSc in International Development).

Courses are delivered through short lecture clips, videos, core texts, and podcasts. There are weekly readings and students engage with the material through on-line asynchronous discussion boards as well e-activities that include writing blogs, producing policy briefs, creating mind maps and academic posters as well as writing a group wiki.  Additional Q&A sessions also take place through live online seminars - which are recorded for students not able to partcipate at the time. 

MSc/PG Diploma routes

The MSc requires successful completion of six courses (four compulsory, two optional) plus the MSc dissertation.

The PG Diploma requires successful completion of six courses (four compulsory, two optional).

Courses  Status Overview
Analysing Development Compulsory Introduces the different actors of international development, their rationales, and actions.
Global Development Challenges Compulsory Examines the most pressing challenges in international development and the global solutions.
Politics and Theories of International Development Compulsory  Looks at the evolution of international development thinking and practice since World War II
Researching International Development Compulsory Research, analysis and writing skills that support the MSc dissertation as well as undertaking research in professional settings.
Option Optional Choose from a range of courses including Roots of African Poverty and Development, Displacement and Development as well as courses in related areas such as Global Health, Social Justice, and more.
Option Optional Choose from a range of courses including Roots of African Poverty and DevelopmentDisplacement and Development as well as courses in related areas such as Global Health, Social Justice, and more.
MSc Dissertation Compulsory for MSc This research project is an opportunity to investigate a topic of your choice in depth.

Programme Aims

The online MSc International Development seeks to contextualise and analyse the processes that have shaped global inequalities and poverty in low income countries, and the many responses to them. The programme offers a grounded and multi-disciplinary grasp of issues of development in global, national and local contexts. It aims to build and strengthen critical skills for analysing development processes and inequities, exploring development issues in a range of different social, historical and political contexts. It aims to provide students 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. 

The  programme aims to:

  • Introduce and engage students with the central debates in international development, both in the past decades and in present day;
  • Equip students with an advanced knowledge and understanding of international development, including its main actors;
  • Enable students to critically evaluate the empirical, theoretical, and methodological dimensions involved in the study of international development and the assessment of developmental change and ‘progress’;
  • Develop high-quality skills in the background research, analysis, and synthesis of information, and presentation of an argument, orally and in writing;
  • Equip students with the knowledge and skills needed for progression to relevant professional work (including leadership positions) or to higher level academic study.

Edinburgh Students