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MSc in Development Management

This MSc 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 MSc is the major qualification in our development management programme. It is designed for anyone 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 anyone wishing to move into such areas, or who for personal and/or professional reasons wants 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, and the research and associated skills required to build up an evidence-based understanding of development management problems and to make a case for change
  • 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 MSc you are encouraged to make connexions between your learning on the MSc and your own involvement in development.

The MSc is the highest level of qualification in our development management programme, which also offers the following that can serve as building blocks for the MSc:

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

Masters degree

Course code
F11
Credits

Credits

  • 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.
180
How long it takes
Minimum – 3 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

Modules

Route A: study this route if you are starting your studies from May 2015

For this 180-credit masters degree 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

Register
30 07 Nov 2015
Conflict and development (T879)

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

Register
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

Register
30 07 Nov 2015

And 60 credits chosen from the following optional modules (or 30 credits from these optional modules and 30 credits from any postgraduate module):

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

Register
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

Register
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

Register
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

Register
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

Register
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

Register
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

Register
30 01 Nov 2015
MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice  (B716)

This MBA module 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

Register
60 07 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

Register
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

Register
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

Register
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

And 30 credits from the following compulsory module:

Postgraduate compulsory module Credits Next start
Development management project (TU874)

This module develops research skills necessary to address a development management problem, typically practice-related, and to make a persuasive case for change in policy and/or practice.

See full description

Register
30 07 Nov 2015

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules TUXX874, TUZX874

Route B: study this route if you started before May 2015 and/or have already completed the discontinued module TU875

For this 180-credit masters degree you require:

60 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

Register
30 07 Nov 2015
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

Register
30 07 Nov 2015

And 90 credits chosen from the following optional modules (or 60 credits from these optional modules and 30 credits from any postgraduate module):

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

Register
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

Register
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

Register
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

Register
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

Register
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

Register
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

Register
30 01 Nov 2015
MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice  (B716)

This MBA module 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

Register
60 07 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

Register
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

Register
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

Register
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

And 30 credits from the following compulsory module:

Postgraduate compulsory module Credits Next start
Development management project (TU874)

This module develops research skills necessary to address a development management problem, typically practice-related, and to make a persuasive case for change in policy and/or practice.

See full description

Register
30 07 Nov 2015

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules TUXX874, TUZX874

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 an MSc in Development Management entitling you to use the letters MSc (Dev Mgmt) (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

The classification of your degree will be based on your best 120 credits of study:

  • you will be awarded the degree with distinction if you obtain a distinction in 90 credits, including the 30-credit compulsory project module plus at least one of the other compulsory modules and you obtain a merit or above in a further 30 credits
  • you will be awarded the degree with merit if you obtain:
    • a distinction in 60 credits from the 30-credit compulsory project module and a further compulsory module and merits in a further 60 credits
    • a merit in 120 credits including the 30-credit compulsory project module and at least one of the other compulsory modules.

Regulations

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.

The structure of this qualification has changed:

Route A: if you are a new student starting your studies from May 2015 you will be required to study:

  • three compulsory 30-credit modules (Capacities for managing development (T878), Conflict and development (T879) and Institutional development (TU872))
  • two optional 30-credit modules or one optional 60-credit module
  • the final project module (Development management project (TU874) – 30 credits).

Route B: if you started your studies before May 2015 and/or have already completed the discontinued module TU875, you will be required to study:

  • two compulsory 30-credit modules (Capacities for managing development (T878) and Institutional development (TU872))
  • three optional 30-credit modules or one 60-credit and one 30-credit optional module
  • the final project module (Development management project (TU874) – 30 credits).

To gain your degree by Route B you must complete your studies by 31 December 2021.

We recommend that you study Capacities for managing development (T878) before Institutional development (TU872), and you must study the Development management project (TU874) as the final module of your MSc.

If you are interested in international development, and in particular if you are new to the subject, we recommend that you begin your studies with the optional module Development: context and practice (T877), followed by the compulsory modules as advised above.

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.

Time limit: there is no time limit for completing the qualifications in the development management programme (unless you are following Route B as described above), though we cannot guarantee that the same selection of modules will continue to be available. Most of the modules that make up this MSc are worth 30 credits and each one requires 12 to 15 study hours per week for six months.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

Career relevance

The MSc facilitates the building up of a range of competences that are vital for people engaged in development and for the agencies, in all sectors, that employ them.

These competences, which cover the whole range of development management processes, from problem identification, through policy development, project and programme design, planning and implementation, to evaluation and critical assessment, are of various kinds. They include:

  • knowledge and understanding of particular development problems – most obviously poverty and inequality – and of ways of thinking about and responding to these problems
  • strategic thinking, including mapping and modelling skills, both about development problems and about the relationships, particularly between organisations, that are required to manage these problems and bring about solutions
  • negotiation and brokering skills that make possible joint action in contexts characterised by differences, often conflicts, of interests, values, meanings and agendas
  • practical skills for creating, establishing and evaluating development policy, projects and programmes
  • research skills that are fundamental for establishing evidence-based policy and practice.

Also throughout the MSc you will be encouraged to develop the critical reflection that is essential if policy and practice are to be improved.

Given this, you can be confident of the value of your MSc to any organisation concerned with bringing about good change.

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.