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Postgraduate Certificate in Human Rights and Development Management


This postgraduate certificate covers issues of human rights law and development in the context of business practices. It will allow you to engage actively with these issues and make a full contribution to assessing and finding solutions to complex situations arising in a business or institutional environment. The qualification will facilitate constructive and informed decision-making, giving you a thorough grounding in all areas of corporate social responsibility both in domestic and global international contexts. You will develop the skills needed for helping and encouraging companies to respect human rights, to avoid harm to people and environment, and maximise their positive contribution to sustainable development.

This postgraduate certificate will appeal to an international audience with an interest in human rights and in the responsiveness of companies and other organisations to the changing external environment. It will also appeal to people who for personal and/or professional reasons want to build up a better understanding of the complex processes labelled ‘development’, with a view to managing those processes better. 

It offers:

  • a critical examination of the concepts of corporate responsibility and human rights
  • an exploration of the changing external environment within which concern for corporate responsibility and human rights human rights has to be expressed
  • how these concepts are applied in different business contexts
  • a critical analysis of the nature of development and development management.

The certificate is part of our development management programme, which also offers a Postgraduate Certificate in Development Management (C48) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Conflict and Development (C67), a Postgraduate Diploma in Development Management (D37) and MSc in Development Management (F11). Besides being of value in its own right as a postgraduate qualification this 60-credit certificate also provides a foundation in development and development management for those who wish to continue to the diploma and MSc.

You can find additional information about postgraduate development management studies on the Development Policy and Practice website

Planning your studies

You should normally hold a bachelors degree from a UK university (or equivalent), or have experience in this field. If you are a non-graduate we suggest that you ask our Student Registration & Enquiry Service for advice before registering on your first module.

The certificate is made up of two, 30-credit modules that each requires 12 to 15 study hours per week for six months. Because of the demands this study will make on you, we recommend that you study only one module at a time, and that you study Development: context and practice (T877) first, particularly if you are new to this subject.

You will also need an appropriate facility in English language, sufficient to be able to work effectively at postgraduate level; generally this means capability equivalent to an International English Language Test System (IELTS) score of 6.5. To assess your English language skills in relation to your proposed studies you can visit the IELTS website. If you are unsure whether your skill level in English is adequate you may find it helpful to look at our Skills for OU Study site.

There is no time limit for completing the qualifications in the development management programme, though we cannot guarantee that the same selection of modules will continue to be available. 

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 20 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

Career relevance and employability

In the past decade, the social expectations from business actors and the social engagement of these actors have changed dramatically. There is also evidence of an increased demand for those skills and expertise that could help business organisations fulfil their re-defined social role. This certificate provides invaluable professional expertise required for influencing the decision making processes related to business engagement in society. The modules making up this certificate combine to give a good overview of the complex issues raised by such an engagement and to allow practitioners to make a full contribution to organisational strategy formulation.

Those completing the certificate will be able to progress on to the MSc in Development Management (F11), which nurtures the development of a wider ranges of competences valuable to any organisation which works in the field of development.

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 postgraduate certificate you require:

30 credits from the following compulsory module:

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

This module 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 Nov 2014

And 30 credits from the following optional modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Capacity for managing development (TU870)

This module analyses development management, examines a range of tools for planning, managing and evaluating development, and investigates key aspects of development management, including strategic thinking.

See full description

30 Nov 2014
Development: context and practice (T877)

This module provides a conceptual framework for analysing the complex, contested contexts in which development takes place, and a critical analysis of development management practice.

See full description

30 Nov 2014

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules TU871, TUXX870, TUXX871

Learning outcomes

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

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.

Credit for previous study elsewhere

For this qualification, we do not allow you to count credit for study you have already done elsewhere.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules, you can be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Human Rights and Development Management entitling you to use the letters PG Cert HRDM (Open) after your name.

You can continue your studies and add 60 credits to your postgraduate certificate to gain a Postgraduate Diploma in Development Management (D37) and a further 60 credits to obtain an MSc in Development Management (F11).


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.

How to register

If you want to study for this qualification, read the description and check you meet any specific requirements (for example, some of our qualifications, require you to be working in a particular environment, or be sponsored by your employer). Then select the module you wish to study first and ensure it is suitable for you before following the registration procedure for that module. During the registration procedure you will be asked to declare which qualification you are studying towards.

See a full list of modules available for this qualification

About this Certificate
Code C96
Level Postgraduate
Made up of 60 credits

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