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The Department of Political and Cultural Studies (PCS) boasts a dynamic research environment with a committed staff all of whom are research-active. Academic members of staff on the International Development programme have a very considerable range of research interests on which we offer supervision for research degrees.
An MA by Research in International Development offered in PCS gives you the chance to pursue a major research project based around your own passions and interests in International Development, leading to a qualification which can open the door to an academic career or boost employment prospects outside academia. It will give you the freedom to explore a topic of your choosing in International Development and develop a methodology under the close supervision of two experienced academics but without attending regular classes as required in taught programmes.
Typically, as a student of the International Development research programme, you will work closely with your supervisors, meeting them regularly, in many instances fortnightly, in the first term and at regular intervals thereafter. Meetings are logged and goals agreed each time.
Students enrolled in the MA by Research in International Development are required to attend skills and training courses at College and University level. You may also be expected to give presentations to other research students and staff at departmental seminars and attend the postgraduate conference of the College of Arts and Humanities which is held in October.
The MA by Research in International Development is ideal for those who want:
- an MA qualification in areas where taught programmes are not offered;
- the experience of a research degree without committing to a PhD at the outset.
Research proposals in International Development are invited on any topic for which staff in PCS can provide supervision. It is a good idea to enter into discussions about your research project with the Department's Director of Postgraduate Research, Professor Roland Axtmann ([email protected]), before drawing up an initial proposal and starting the application process.
In the area of International Relations and Development Studies, the department has expertise in:
International Security and Strategic Studies
The international politics of space
Gender, childhood and child soldiers
North- and South East Asia
Transitional justice and international crimes
Multi-nationals and corporate social responsibility
Governance and international development, including aid policy and practice
The role of civil society organisations in development contexts
Human rights and international development
History of military thought and military culture
European diplomatic history
The programme offers a unique combination of regional expertise with a focus on the theory and practice of international development.
International Development is concerned with the idea of good change, but who decides what constitutes ‘good change’? How should such change happen? What unintended consequences might the pursuit of change create? The MSc in Africa and International Development encourages you to critically explore these questions, in the context of Africa.
Our course offers you a unique opportunity to acquire a combination of interdisciplinary, regional expertise with a critical knowledge of international development theory and practice. With this grounding, many of our students have gone on to work in development for charities, government agencies, international organisations, think-tanks or advocacy groups. Our degree can also serve as a stepping-stone for a career in research or academia.
We also run an online distance learning programme in Africa and International Development:
The programme is available on a full-time basis over one year or on a part-time basis over two years. Masters students are expected to complete six courses, and a dissertation.
Students can either complete their dissertation through independent study, or through a work-based placement. These work-based placements offer some students the opportunity to work in a wide range of development organisations across Africa for eight weeks, enabling students to apply academic training to real-world problems.
Students have the opportunity to apply for work-based projects, which offer an unique opportunity to partner with organisations worldwide as part of the MSc dissertation.
Our extensive network of partners in the UK and a large number of African countries (including Liberia, South Africa, Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania) includes NGOs, charities, social enterprise, think-tanks and government bodies, giving students the chance to acquire key skills and practical, first-hand experience of working in international development in the continent.
A qualification in Africa & International Development offers a multidisciplinary grasp of issues that will be of use when pursuing a career in development agencies, consultancy, the public sector and non-governmental organisations.
In addition, you will develop a range of transferable skills, such as communication and project management, which can be applied to roles in any field.
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.
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.
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.