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Postgraduate Diploma in Development Management

This postgraduate diploma course is part of our development management programme, which also offers a Postgraduate Certificate in Development Management (C48), Postgraduate Certificate in Conflict and Development (C67), Postgraduate Certificate in Human Rights and Development (C96) and MSc in Development Management (F11).

The postgraduate diploma is for:

  • Professionals in project management and those who have responsibility for development initiatives in government, non-governmental organisations, international and inter-governmental agencies and public and private enterprises.
  • People who intend to work in those areas, or who have an interest in public action for development.
  • Those who want to combine important elements of development and management.
  • Those who want to expand their conceptual and practical skills by taking an international perspective on management.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Career relevance and employability

Managing development gets ever more complex, as more agencies become involved, new goals emerge, complementing and confronting existing goals, and the right of 'beneficiaries' to participate in their own development is increasingly asserted. This diploma addresses the challenge of this complexity. The core modules give practitioners the opportunity to strengthen their policy development and project management skills. They put inter-organisational relationships at the heart of development management, offering a framework for analysing existing relationships and for making strategic decisions about relationships that are required, and covering skills - mapping and modelling, negotiating and brokering - that contribute to the building of relationships. The diploma thus equips practitioners to negotiate good change more effectively.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.


For this 120-credit postgraduate diploma, you require:

60 credits from the following compulsory modules:

Postgraduate compulsory modules Credits Next start
Capacities for managing development (TU870)

This course provides development practitioners with a conceptual framework for analysing development management practice; and develops skills and capacities for analytical thinking and strategic action.

See full description.

30 May
Institutional development (TU872)

Develop the conceptual and practical skills needed to frame, manage and negotiate institutional development, change organisational structures and adopt new norms and values.

See full description.

30 May

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules TUXX870, TUXX872, TUZX870, TUZX872

And either 60 credits chosen from the following optional modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Business, human rights law and corporate social responsibility (W822)

This course examines the nature of corporate commitment to principles of corporate social responsibility in different contexts and its inter-relationship with human rights law.

See full description.

30 May
Changing cities: urban transitions and decision making (D837) planned for presentation in November
Creativity, innovation and change (B822) (or version BZX822)

This interdisciplinary course is about managing innovation and change, sustaining a creative climate in your organisation, and promoting imaginative, flexible and practical thought and action.

See full description.

30 May FINAL
Development: context and practice (TU871)

This foundation course for our MSc in Development Management gives a grounding in development studies and explores the meaning and challenge of international development today.

See full description.

30 May
Education for development (ET821)

Explores the relationship between education and development through topics such as teachers, use of new technologies and gender equality in education.

See full description.

30 Nov
Environmental decision making: a systems approach (T863)

This course uses systems ideas to explore environmental decision-making situations, to make sense of their complexity and to look for feasible changes and action.

See full description.

30 May
Environmental responsibility: ethics, policy and action (TD866)

This course is about understanding and taking responsibility, individually and collectively, for policy and action relating to environmental dilemmas, from climate change to biodiversity loss.

See full description.

30 May
Managing systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction (TU812)

Develop your understanding of systemic inquiry, systemic action research and social learning in order to extend your skills of project, programme and change management.

See full description.

30 Nov
MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (B716)

This MBA course will enable you make a real difference within your management practice and provide a good grounding in the core disciplines of management.

See full description.

60 May
Problem solving and improvement: quality and other approaches (T889)

This course focuses on the practical application and deeper understanding of many of the methods and techniques associated with modern quality management and systems thinking.

See full description.

30 May
Thinking strategically: systems tools for managing change (TU811)

Improve your management skills by exploring different approaches to engaging with complex situations and by developing your understanding of how cognitive processing shapes practice.

See full description.

30 May
War, intervention and development (TU875)

This course analyses the roots of violent conflicts, investigates the processes of peace-building and development, and helps develop the tools necessary for successful intervention.

See full description.

30 May

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules B713, B800, B820, B856, B880, B882, BXX822, BZX713, BZX820, D820, D830, D831, D832, D833, D860, D861, T860, T861, T890, TXX860, TXX861, TXX863, TUXX871, TUZX871, TUXR873, TUXX875

Alternatively you can include 30 credits from the optional modules listed above and 30 credits from any of our postgraduate modules. Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service for further information.

Educational aims

This postgraduate diploma aims to:

  • enhance knowledge of the changing dynamics of development policy and management
  • expand the conceptual and practical skills for taking an international perspective on management
  • combine study of development management with special areas of organisational management, environment and social policy
  • facilitate critical and creative thinking about multi-organisational and institutional development.

Learning outcomes

The programme leading to this diploma provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas.

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this diploma, you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • development management as a process of steering social change involving multiple actors
  • different discourses about development management and institutional development, their history, utility and limitations
  • public action and new approaches to public management
  • the possibilities and limitations of tools for development project design
  • planning and evaluation
  • the possibilities and limitations of methods of investigation aimed at informing development policy and action
  • the importance of learning approaches to developing capacities of development managers, organisations and beneficiaries of interventions
  • the major areas, and critical awareness, of current debate in institutional development and the values and meaning underlying these debates, including in governance, poverty reduction and growth, and humanitarian interventions in complex emergencies
  • the relationship between environmental, technological, social and economic approaches and practices of development management.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this diploma, you will be able to:

  • use and evaluate a range of tools associated with project design and planning and with clarifying and focusing development interventions
  • design investigations involving appropriate use of different methods for information gathering and interpretation
  • analyse and reflect on the assumptions behind interventions, and critically assess the performance of interventions
  • use and reflect on the use of taking a public action frame to think strategically about the fragmentation and integration of development interventions
  • analyse and reflect on the discourses, debates, and frameworks of development management
  • critically examine the importance of inter-organisational relationships in institutional development and the significance of competition, coordination and cooperation in these relationships
  • assess the role and use of negotiation and brokering in the context of institutional development intervention
  • use maps and models to organise and represent thoughts as a means of building shared understanding for action.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this diploma you will be able to:

  • appreciate your own position with respect to the institutional and organisational contexts in which development management takes place, and appreciate the experiences and viewpoints of other development managers
  • apply and differentiate between concepts, frameworks, planning tools and investigative methods in practical and/or professional development management contexts
  • locate yourself in the discourses, frameworks and landscapes of development management policy and practice
  • identify stakeholders in a development management situation
  • appreciate the intra- and inter-organisational dilemmas and difficulties facing development managers attempting public action build interpersonal skills of negotiation and brokering.

Key skills

On completion of this diploma you will be able to:

  • develop the ability to advance your own knowledge, understanding, and performance through independent learning
  • communicate effectively knowledge, ideas, techniques and conclusions about development management
  • support arguments with evidence (including the use of a range of primary and secondary source materials
  • design investigations involving appropriate choice and use of different methods
  • build negotiation and brokering skills that facilitate the management of development by enabling people and organisations to work more effectively together
  • model programmes, projects, organisations and institutions
  • map, as a means of organising thoughts and developing different views and approaches to action.

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