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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 enable 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 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 a 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


Course code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
Minimum – 1 year
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


For this 60-credit postgraduate certificate you require:

30 credits from the following optional modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
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 07 Nov 2015
Capacities for managing development (T878) NEW 

This module teaches the conceptual, methodological and evaluative tools and skills that development managers will need working in any sector, anywhere.

See full description

30 07 Nov 2015

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules TU870, TU871, TUXX870, TUXX871

And 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 07 Nov 2015

The modules quoted in this description are currently available for study. However, as we review the curriculum on a regular basis, the exact selection may change over time.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

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 transfer

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 will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Human Rights and Development Management entitling you to use the letters PG Cert HRDM (Open) after your name.

Ways of continuing your studies to gain a Postgraduate Diploma in Development Management (D37) and/or a MSc in Development Management (F11) are outlined in Planning your studies above.


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.

Entry requirements

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 contact us for advice before registering on your first module.

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum overall score of 6 and minimum score of 5.5 in each of the four components: reading, writing, speaking and listening under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the IELTS website for details.

The certificate is made up of two, 30-credit modules that each requires 12 to 15 study hours per week for six months. We recommend that you study Development: context and practice (T877) first, particularly if you are new to this subject.

If you are planning to continue your studies in development management, you will have two options.

1. If you choose to study Development: context and practice (T877):

2. If you opt to study Capacities for managing development (T878), which is compulsory in both the diploma and MSc, you can gain the diploma by completing two compulsory modules. You can then complete the MSc by studying an optional module and the final compulsory project module.

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

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.

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.