Global Challenges (Online), M.Sc.

  • N/A
    Application Deadline
  • 36 months
  • Tuition
    Tuition (Module)
    Tuition (Module)
  • English (take IELTS)
The MSc Global Challenges (Online) from The University of Edinburgh is a part time, online programme. Study while you work — from anywhere in the world with internet access.


Why study Global Challenges (Online) at The University of Edinburgh?

Develop your knowledge and skills to help tackle the challenge of how over 7 billion people can live well on one planet.

What is the MSc Global Challenges?

We live in an increasingly complex, often contradictory, fast changing world:

  • we have experienced unprecedented economic growth but inequality grows between and within nations
  • we know more than ever about the natural environment, yet we may be on the cusp of irreversible changes caused by human activity
  • more people than ever before are living longer, healthier lives, while billions suffer from hunger, malnutrition and disease

Climate change, natural disasters, political instability, conflict and wars, mixed in with overpopulation, poverty and underinvestment in low-income countries are leading to a range of challenges on a scale and at a frequency not experienced before. Challenges of migrating and vulnerable populations, emerging and re-emerging diseases, humanitarian crises and unprecedented urban development need a multidisciplinary approach with sustainability at the heart of it. With 7 billion people on earth, and rising, how can we all live well without compromising the life support systems of our planet?

Our programme is a collaboration between the University's Global Academies - global networks of experts from over 25 academic disciplines developing innovative solutions for the world's most challenging problems. The Global Development Academy, the Global Environment and Society Academy and the Global Health Academy supported by the Global Justice Academy provide a step change in the way the University is able to build multi-disciplinary responses to these complex global issues. This programme is part of the University's commitment to offer world leading interdisciplinary postgraduate degrees that equip future leaders to tackle global challenges and contribute to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Why should you apply?

This unique and cutting edge programme will enable you to tackle these global problems in a multidisciplinary way and equip you to address causes, consider preventative approaches, and implement suitable responses.

Taught entirely online, this part-time programme is specifically designed so you can study while you work. Whether you’re already working in a related field and looking to broaden your expertise, or seeking to move into a new area of work, we provide opportunities to not only bring your experience into your studies, but also to apply your new insights and skills to your work while you study.

What career opportunities are there?

Using their skills and knowledge acquired through the MSc Global Challenges, graduates will be able to pursue careers in:

  • Consultancy
  • NGOs and charities
  • International development
  • Corporate managerial positions in environmental and social governance
  • Ministry of health policy, strategy and managerial positions

Graduates from this programme will be uniquely equipped to advise and guide on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The goals emphasise the need for a coherent connection across many challenges and this programme will give you the language, and knowledge to understand the complexity of the challenges and to look at innovative solutions and approaches.

Programme Structure

The challenge of how seven billion can live well on one planet can only be understood and tackled effectively by taking multiple perspectives and drawing on a range of disciplines. The MSc Global Challenges is awarded following successful completion of our three Postgraduate Certificates:

  • Global Development Challenges considers the increasing economic, social and political inequalities in many parts of the world, and the need for new ways of thinking about and addressing international development. The programme is offered by the School of Social and Political Science.
  • Global Environment Challenges considers how human activity is changing the natural environment at an unprecedented rate and the impact of this on human wellbeing and development. The programme is offered by the School of Geosciences.
  • Global Health Challenges considers the connections between local and global health challenges, and our changing understanding of health and wellness, illness and health care. The programme is offered by the School of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences.


This programme is designed for those interested in following a career in international development, environmental and/or global or national health work in government and non-governmental organisations and also for those who intend undertaking research in these disciplines. It will provide a broad background for local, country or international level careers in policy, planning and management.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Deadline and start date Application deadline and start date were not specified by the programme.
  • Programme intensity

    You can choose to do this programme part-time or full-time.

    • Average duration 36 months
    • Intensity Flexible
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    • Time flexibility
    • Attendance
      No Attendance
    • Teacher support
      Continuous support with feedback on request
    • Student interaction
      Individual work/assignments (with online group discussions), Online group works/assignments
Check my chance of being admitted

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Take IELTS test

    StudyPortals Tip: The UK government has confirmed new English-language testing requirements for visa and immigration purposes. Learn more

  • Minimum required score (Grade A):


    The CAE test – or the Cambridge Advanced English – is an exam for applicants who wish to get a Certificate in Advanced English. To receive the Advanced certificate, test-takers must score between 142 and 210 on the Cambridge English: Advanced test. Read more about CAE.

    Note: degree programmes and applications may require a more specific minimum score for admission.

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).

Academic Requirements

The entry requirement is normally a 2:1 honours degree or its equivalent in any subject. We especially welcome applicants from a professional background with a wide range of practical experiences which can be taken into consideration.

Applicants are encouraged to use their personal statement in the application to describe their interests in the programme and what they would bring to the programme as well as provide details on any relevant work experience.

Language requirements
  • IELTS 7.0 (with no score lower than 6.0 in each section)
  • TOEFL-iBT: Total 100 (with no score lower than 20 in each section)
  • Pearson Test of English: 67 (with no score lower than 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections, "Enabling Skills" section scores are not considered)
  • Cambridge CPE Grade B (Grade C for Global Health Challenges)
  • Cambridge CAE Grade A (Grade B for Global Health Challenges)

Technological Requirements

You should have the following:
  • access to a PC or Mac that you are confident will be able to cope with the volume of online activity that takes place. Note that while some aspects of the course may be accessible via tablet devices these can not substitute for a 'normal' computer
  • a back-up plan (access to an alternative computer/internet access) in place in case your computer fails at any point during the programme
  • access to a good internet connection – we strongly recommend that you have a broadband connection, though you will find that a wireless connection is sufficient for most activities.
  • an up-to-date web browser, we recommend using Mozilla Firefox

Getting a Student Visa

This is an online programme. You can attend from the comfort of your chair! So you don't need a student visa! (Unless that chair you're sitting on is in a foreign country...)

Tuition Fee Per Module

  • GBP 770 International
  • GBP 770 EU/EEA
  • 10 credits £770; 
  • 20 credits £1,535; 
  • 60 credits £4,600


StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.