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Postgraduate Diploma in Development Management

This postgraduate diploma is for anyone with a professional and/or personal interest in development and a desire to bring about good change. It addresses the needs both of those who would label themselves development managers, and those, such as engineers, health workers, educationists, agriculturalists, bankers, scientists, who need the capacity to manage development if they are to do their work effectively. It engages with development at all levels, from the local to the global, and is as relevant in rural as in urban contexts. It addresses development in diverse fields, including health and well-being, livelihoods, education, the environment, war and resettlement, infrastructure, with the issues of poverty and inequality running through all. It takes theory seriously; consciously and constantly linking it to practice and policy. And it serves to enhance the competence of individuals and the capacity of agencies to undertake development successfully.

This postgraduate diploma is designed for people in government, non-governmental organisations, international and inter-governmental agencies and public and private enterprises, who have responsibility for development interventions, programmes and policies. It is also of value for people wishing to move into such areas, or 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 deliberately links development management theory with the realities of development policy and practice, and aims to equip those undertaking it to be better agents of development.

It provides a range of opportunities for you to:

  • build up knowledge and understanding of how development theory, policy and practice have themselves developed, and a critical appreciation of the ways in which development is managed
  • explore key development issues, including poverty, inequality, complex emergencies, migration, health, employment and livelihoods, education, governance, and the relationships between the agencies who undertake development
  • examine and practise the use of tools that contribute to situational and stakeholder analysis, participation, project and programme planning, implementation and evaluation
  • develop key skills necessary for managing development, in particular the skills of strategic thinking and planning, relationship building, mapping and modelling, negotiation and brokering
  • share learning with students drawn from over 100 countries working in diverse development fields
  • critically reflect on development management theory, policy and practice, not least your own.

Throughout the diploma you are encouraged to make connexions between your learning and your own involvement in development.

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 a MSc in Development Management (F11).

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 – 2 years
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 120-credit postgraduate diploma, you require:

90 credits from the following compulsory modules:

Postgraduate compulsory modules Credits Next start
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
Conflict and development (T879) 1 see note below

Combining theoretical concepts with practical tools, this module explores the causes of conflict, the impact conflicts have on development, and actions that can help mitigate conflicts.

See full description

30 01 May 2016
Institutional development (TU872)

This module analyses institutions, identifies their significance for development, examines how to build inter-organisational relationships, and explores the skills of mapping, modelling, negotiation and brokering.

See full description

30 07 Nov 2015

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules TU870, TUXX870, TUXX872, TUZX870, TUZX872

And 30 credits chosen from the following optional modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Business, human rights law and corporate 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
Changing cities: urban transitions and decision making (D837)

This module enables you to explore how environmental changes, economic instability, limited resources and other challenges impact on our cities, towns and neighbourhoods.

See full description

30 07 Nov 2015 FINAL
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
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 01 Nov 2015
Environmental responsibility: ethics, policy and change (TD866)

This module 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 07 May 2016 FINAL
Making environmental decisions (T891)

Defining environment to include biophysical, social, political, economic factors, this module uses a systems framework to integrate environment with other elements in environmental decision-making situations.

See full description

30 07 Nov 2015
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 01 Nov 2015
Problem solving and improvement: quality and other approaches (T889)

This module 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 01 Nov 2015
Project management (M815)

In this online module you’ll explore the whole life cycle of projects, from initiation, through to planning, scheduling, execution, handover and review.

See full description

30 01 May 2016
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 01 May 2016

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules B713, B800, B820, B822, B856, B880, B882, BXX822, BZX822, BZX713, BZX820, D820, D830, D831, D832, D833, D860, D861, T860, T861, T863, T890, TU871, TU875, TXX860, TXX861, TXX863, TUXX871, TUZX871, TUXR873, TUXX875

1 This module (T879) is not compulsory if you:

  • started your studies for this diploma before May 2015 and/or
  • have already completed the discontinued module TU875 as an optional module for this qualification.

Note: to gain your diploma by this route you must complete the remaining two compulsory modules and 60 credits from the optional modules listed above (or the 60-credit module MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (B716) ) before 31 December 2019.

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

If you have already completed some successful study at postgraduate level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this Open University qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible as it may affect your choice of OU modules. If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete your qualification with us.

Visit our Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Development Management entitling you to use the letters PG Dip Dev Mgmt (Open) after your name.

Once you have completed the postgraduate diploma, you can gain the MSc in Development Management (F11) by completing a further 30 credits of study from the postgraduate diploma modules and a 30-credit development management project.


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.

Most of the modules that make up this diploma are 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. We also recommend that you study Capacities for managing development (T878) before Institutional development: conflicts, values and meanings (TU872).

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 40 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

Career relevance

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. They cover skills – in particular 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.