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Postgraduate Diploma in Development Management

Please note that the final enrolment date for this qualification will be 10 October 2019 after which it will no longer be available to new students. You must complete your study by 31 December 2021. If you would like to discuss your options with one of our advisers, please contact us.

This postgraduate diploma addresses the needs of development managers as well as other professionals – such as engineers, health workers, educationalists, agriculturalists, bankers, scientists – who work in development contexts, local and global, with a view to bringing about good change. You'll gain a better understanding of the complex processes labelled ‘development’, with a particular focus on dealing with conflict and on building the institutions that make development sustainable. Alongside this, the diploma helps you build a range of development management skills, and encourages both critical reflection on how development is managed at present and creative thinking on how it might be managed better. 

Key features of the course

  • Explores the complexity of ‘development’ locally and globally
  • Critically analyses development management, challenges conventional thinking, and encourages the creation of better approaches
  • Builds a range of understandings and skills – conceptual, professional, and practical – for managing development
  • Promotes competence in using key tools that contribute to development management practice
  • Makes links between academic learning and professional practice, to the benefit of both 


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
1–2 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


To gain this qualification, you need 120 credits as follows:

90 credits from the following:

Compulsory modules Credits Next start
Capacities for managing development (T878)

This module builds the competence and confidence to manage development, local and global, more effectively, and bring about greater social equality and justice. 

See full description

30 01 Nov 2019
Conflict and development (T879) 1see 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 Nov 2019
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 01 Nov 2019

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

If your interest is particularly in international development, we recommend that you study the optional module Development: context and practice (T877) before the compulsory modules listed above. We also recommend that you study Capacities for managing development (T878) before Institutional development (TU872).


30 credits from the following:

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 02 Nov 2019
Creating and sustaining value  (B872) NEW

Critically explore the ways organisations create, sustain and expand value in an increasingly complex and dynamic business environment.

See full description

30 02 Nov 2019
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 01 Nov 2019
Making environmental decisions (T891)

T891 ‘Making Environmental Decisions’ teaches you to use a systems framework to integrate environment with other considerations when making decisions in complex environmental management situations.

See full description

30 01 Nov 2019
Making environmental decisions (TB871) NEW

TB871 builds capability for making strategy within your own chosen area of (professional) practice using ideas and tools from five traditions of systems thinking.

See full description

30 01 May 2020
Managing in a changing world  (B870) NEW

This module will encourage you to develop, as well as challenge, your current knowledge and skills in order to deal with contemporary and rapidly changing areas of management and marketing.

See full description

30 02 Nov 2019
Managing systemic change: inquiry, action, and interaction (TU812)

Enables postgraduate students to take a learning approach to managing change in complex and problematic situations, using systems ideas and their own and other perspectives.

See full description

30 01 Nov 2019 FINAL
Project management (M815)

Postgraduate module for aspiring project managers and practicing project managers who wish to develop their knowledge and skills of managing technological projects. APM accredited.

See full description

30 01 May 2020

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, D837, D860, D861, ET821, T860, T861, T863, T889, T890, TD866, TU811, 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.

If either point above applies, to gain your diploma you must complete the other two compulsory modules and gain 60 credits of optional modules from the list above plus TU875, or have gained 60-credits from B716 (now discontinued). This must be completed before 31 December 2019.

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.

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 20th March 2019.

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.

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 achieve 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 qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

Entry requirements

You should normally hold a bachelors degree from a UK university (or equivalent), or have had experience of working, in a paid or voluntary capacity, in a development agency (international or local).

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.

How long it takes

Most students study this qualification in two years by studying the four six-month modules in succession, though some take a six-month break at some point in their studies. The minimum time to complete is one year, by studying two modules at the same time for two six-month periods. We do not recommend this, but it might suit you if you have no other major time commitments during that period.

Career relevance

This diploma addresses the needs both of those who 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.

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 – whether development managers or not – 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.

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.