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MSc in Development Management

Please note that the final enrolment date for this qualification will be in October 2019 after which it will no longer be available to new students. You must complete your study by 31 December 2022. If you would like to discuss your options with one of our advisers, please contact us.

This masters degree addresses the needs of development managers as well as other professionals who work in development contexts, local and global,  Study promotes 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. The degree culminates in a research project which enhances both your research skills and understanding of a development management problem. Throughout, this degree helps build a range of development management skills, and encourages 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
  • Builds the research skills needed to create evidence-based understandings of development management problems and make cases for change
  • Links academic learning and professional practice, to the benefit of both

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 – 1.5 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
Postgraduate loan available
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details

Modules

There are two routes through this qualification:

  • Route A for students starting their studies from May 2015 onwards
  • Route B for students who started their studies before May 2015. If you are following this route you must complete your studies by 31 December 2021.

If you are interested in international development, and in particular if you are new to the subject, we recommend that you begin with the optional module Development: context and practice (T877) before moving on to T878 and TU872.

For both routes, we recommend that you study Capacities for managing development (T878) before Institutional development (TU872).

Whichever route you follow, you must finish your MSc with The development management project (TU874).

Route A – to gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

90 credits of compulsory modules:

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

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
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 Nov 2018
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 01 Nov 2018

Plus

60 credits from this list (or 30 credits from this list plus 30 credits from any other postgraduate modules):

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 03 Nov 2018
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 01 Nov 2018
Leading healthcare improvements (K827)

This module will help you develop leadership skills in relation to healthcare improvements, innovation and policy.

See full description

Register
60 06 Oct 2018 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 01 Nov 2018
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 2018
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 03 Nov 2018
MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (fast-track) (BXFT716)

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 06 Oct 2018
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 2019 FINAL
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 2019 FINAL

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules D837, ET821, TD866

Plus

Compulsory module Credits Next start
The 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 01 Nov 2018

Route B – to gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

60 credits of compulsory modules:

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

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
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 01 Nov 2018

Or the discontinued modules, TU870, TUXX870, TUZX870

Plus

90 credits from this list (or 60 credits from this list plus 30 credits from any other postgraduate modules):

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 03 Nov 2018
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 Nov 2018
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 01 Nov 2018
Leading healthcare improvements (K827)

This module will help you develop leadership skills in relation to healthcare improvements, innovation and policy.

See full description

Register
60 06 Oct 2018 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 01 Nov 2018
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 2018
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 03 Nov 2018
MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (fast-track) (BXFT716)

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 06 Oct 2018
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 2019 FINAL
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 2019 FINAL

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, TU871, TU875, TXX860, TXX861, TXX863, TUXX871, TUZX871, TUXR873, TUXX875

Plus

Compulsory module Credits Next start
The 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 01 Nov 2018

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. 


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 8th June 2018.

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 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 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 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 (local or international).

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 three years by studying the six six-month modules in succession, though some take one or two six-month breaks during their studies. The minimum time to complete is eighteen months, by studying two modules at the same time for three 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

Development agencies across the world increasingly require qualifications at masters level for their staff, and this degree is well-regarded by employers. The value of the degree will vary according to your situation. If you already working in development, particularly if you have responsibility for development interventions, you will find your practice challenged and developed. If you are a professional – engineer, health worker, educationalist, banker, for example – working in development contexts, you will develop an understanding of those contexts, and a grasp of the skills necessary to negotiate them. If you're thinking about moving into development work, you will find a guide to the world you are entering and build up a variety of skills needed to work in that world.

More specifically, this masters degree builds a range of competences that are vital for people engaged in development and for the agencies (in all sectors) that employ them.

These competences 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. 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.

In addition, 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.

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