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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


MSc in International Development

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"Welcome to the University of Edinburgh’s MSc in International Development, a world-class programme focused on our responses to the global challenges of our time." 
- Dr Aaron Kappeler, Programe Director 

This programme has multiple application deadlines. Please see How to Apply below.

Global challenges, world class study

Our programme offers you an unparalleled opportunity to deepen your understanding and engagement with the most pressing challenges confronting people, communities and institutions in the Global South.

Our taught courses and extra curricular activities are designed to help you acquire a critical knowledge of debates around poverty and growth, injustice and inequality, and social and environmental change, and to foster your interdisciplinary and regional expertise.

There is a long history of critical and applied engagement with international development at the University of Edinburgh, today exemplied by the work of the Global Development Academy. As a graduate student at Edinburgh you will have access to our full range of academic resources and opportunities - from specialised conferences and advanced seminars to practice-based research projects and collaborative global exchanges.

A Practical, Real World Experience

We realise the value of practical, real world experience. We offer every student the opportunity to apply for a placement-based dissertation with an international development organisation. Our extensive network of partners includes NGOs and charities, social enterprises and social businesses, to think-tanks, camaign groups and government bodies. We offer placements in Africa, South and South East Asia, Latin America and the UK and you can use these placements as the basis for dissertation research projects. 

New skills, critical reflection

Our programme is designed to appeal equally to recent graduates of various disciplines, and professionals with more than two years work experience looking to change careers, upgrade their academic qualifications, or take a year out to reflect critically on their work.

Our graduates

Our previous graduates can be found around the world - in government ministries, development consultancies, financial institutions, as well as in campaign groups, social enterprises and NGOs. Others use the programme as a pathway into our PhD in International Development and have gone on to develop their specialist knowledge through post-graduate research projects.

Our approach to study

Our programme is highly modular and personalisable - giving you the space to pursue your individual interests, wherever they may lie. You have an opportunity to choose taught courses from the School of Social and Political Science and relevant courses from other parts of the University. You will also develop specialist skills through a dissertation length research project.

Further information 

Please use the menu on the left to find further information about the structure of the programme and the courses we offer.

See below for details of how to apply and about the scholarships available. For all other questions and answers, check our FAQ section.

For further questions please contact Dr Ann-Christin Wagner (

How to apply

There are eight application rounds for this programme. At the end of each round a number of offers will be issued on a competitive basis, with applicants being informed of a decision (successful, unsuccessful, or waiting list). The deadlines and response dates are as follows:

Round Deadline Response By
1 3 November 2019 15 November 2019
2 1 December 2019 13 December 2019
3 12 January 2020 3 February 2020
4 16 February 2020 2 March 2020
5 15 March 2020 1 April 2020
6 19 April 2020 1 May 2020
7 17 May 2020 1 June 2020
8 14 June 2020 1 July 2020

If further supporting documents are required in order for a decision to be made on your application, we may only be able to consider you in a following round.  

Successful applicants must accept their offer within 28 days of the response date in order to secure their place on the programme. As this programme is highly competitive, any applicants who have not responded within this time will lose their offer, and offers will be made to applicants on the waiting list as places become available.

If you have received an offer but are no longer able to take up your place, please decline your offer via your Applicant Hub portal, or contact so that your place may be offered to another applicant.  

Further guidance on how to apply and entry requirements is available on the Graduate School website

Please note: a non-refundable application fee of £50 is payable at the time of application submission, once a unique username (UUN) has been issued. Your application will not be processed until we have received your application fee payment. Please click here for more information on how to pay the application fee. 

Fees and scholarships

  • Full fees information, including part time fees, is available here.
  • Information on how to pay is available here.
  • Information on funding and scholarships is here.

Bologna compatibility

Like all University of Edinburgh Masters programmes, the degree is fully Bologna compatible, and is recognised across Europe and beyond under the principles of the Bologna framework. The programme comprises 180 Edinburgh credits, which are equivalent to 90 ECTS credits.


Edinburgh4Learning offers an intuitive and easy to use funding information tool which allows students to search using a series of handy drop-down lists. Students can access the Edinburgh4Learning portal direct from the Scholarships and Student Funding Services website. Registration requires a valid university of Edinburgh e-mail address and in a matter of moments students can access numerous funding opportunities to help them during their studies.

Solar panels in Bangladesh (photo by J.Huang, 2014)