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Course content

Programme description

The programme offers the chance to develop 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.

Programme structure

The programme is available on a full-time basis over one year or on a part-time basis over two years. Students complete six taught courses, and a dissertation.

Students can either complete their dissertation through independent study, or through a Placement-Based Dissertation. The Placement-Based Dissertation offers an 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.

Work placements/internships

Students have the opportunity to apply for a Placement-Based Dissertation, 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.

Learning outcomes

  • Knowledge of academic and policy debates about development interventions in Africa with a focus on sub-Sahara Africa.
  • Critical understanding of theories, concepts and the practice of development in Africa.
  • Detailed knowledge of case studies examining specific aspects of international development.
  • Ability to negotiate the challenges of inter- and multi-disciplinary research drawing in particular on political science, human geography, history and social-cultural anthropology.
  • Ability to critically evaluate and analyse empirical evidence on the implementation of development projects and policies.
  • Apply the critical analysis in writing, discussion and oral presentations as well as group exercises.
  • Ability to conduct independent empirical research in sub-Sahara Africa drawing on a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods.
  • Critical understanding of the challenges and realities of work in the field of international development.

Career opportunities

With a multidisciplinary grasp of issues in regional and international development many of our graduates go on to careers in development agencies, consultancy, 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.


Visit the Africa and International Development (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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