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Professional Diploma in Management

The Professional Diploma in Management will be of particular interest to those aspiring to middle level managerial roles in large organisations and those who have a leadership role in smaller organisations.

The key to effective management and leadership lies in developing a critical understanding of your organisation and the practices of those who work in it, including your own. To respond quickly and flexibly to rapidly changing markets and environments managers need a broad integrated picture of how their organisations work; they need to consider compromises, tensions and interdependencies between operational, accounting, marketing, information, financial and 'people' issues. The professional diploma will help you meet this challenge, focusing on the management of teams, departments and projects; the skills of the reflective practitioner are an important theme throughout.

The study programme affords the opportunity to stand back from your current situation in order to concentrate on themes of understanding and improving performance, managing projects and change. The emphasis is on your own professional development. Everything you study is related to the management roles and responsibilities you exercise. The elements of the programme - study texts, activities and assignments, online resources, and personal and group support - ensure that you can apply newly learned skills and techniques in very practical ways immediately. You can build on your experience and make direct links to your management development needs wherever you are in the world, whatever the size of your organisation and whether it is in the commercial, non governmental or public sector.

The professional diploma is not only a recognised qualification in its own right but also it is Stage 1 of the following masters degree qualifications:

  • MBA (F61)
  • MBA (Technology Management) (F03)

Once you have gained the professional diploma you can go on to study Stage 2 of these masters degrees.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Career relevance and employability

The Professional Diploma in Management is a generalist qualification in the core aspects of management: marketing, accounting, operations, human resource management etc. It is appropriate for all sectors: private, public or voluntary/third sector; the models and ideas are sufficiently general to be useful for people in all sizes of organisation, from multi-national to individual entrepreneur. As a stand-alone qualification it is intended mainly for first-line or middle management; as the first one-third of a masters degree in business or management (such as our MBA) and is appropriate for all levels of manager.

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 60-credit professional diploma you require:

Postgraduate compulsory module Credits Next start
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

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules B700, BZX700

Educational aims

  • to equip you with the tools and techniques to implement performance improvements at a team, departmental, project or small organisation level
  • to enable you to understand how different functional perspectives work together to approach the real and complex problems of management
  • to give you an opportunity to apply a range of management concepts to an in-depth analysis of a management problem in your own organisation.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of this programme are described in four areas:

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this programme you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • the main managerial issues associated with key business functional areas of managing people and organisations; finance; marketing; operations management; change and project management
  • the leading and alternative theories, concepts and models in business and management
  • the critiques of and key debates within the study of business and management
  • the complex and interrelated nature of organisations and management practice; and the global context in which business and management is practised.

Cognitive skills

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

  • analyse and synthesise key concepts and frameworks with clarity and critical reflection
  • draw appropriately as a manager on both academic and practitioner knowledge
  • evaluate and compare possible courses of action and make appropriate decisions in the light of the context in which you are managing
  • appraise and accommodate constraints, opportunities and threats present in your management contexts.

Practical and/or professional skills

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

  • identify learning needs and design development plans to address them
  • communicate effectively as a manager with staff and colleagues at all levels and areas of an organisation
  • work effectively with others with openness and sensitivity to diversity
  • plan and manage your work and study time
  • develop an awareness of the impact of your own thinking and behaviour and a use this as the basis for developing your professional and personal competences.

Key skills

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

  • apply numeracy skills and quantitative analysis to business and management
  • find, record and use information, data and evidence effectively - drawing competently on relevant professional and academic literatures
  • conduct independent inquiry, investigation and on-going reflection on your own learning in context
  • use a variety of communication media effectively
  • work both independently and as a member of a team.

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