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Africa and International Development (MSc)

Course Description

Programme description

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.

Online learning

We also run an online distance learning programme in Africa and International Development.

Programme structure

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.

Work-based project

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.

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

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.

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

Entry Requirements

A UK 2:1 undergraduate degree or its international equivalent.

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