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The development management project

Development managers are often called upon to undertake investigations that contribute to changes in practice and policy. The development management project, the final, compulsory element of the MSc in Development Management, provides an opportunity to learn, develop and practise the skills required for such an undertaking. The project is individually chosen, the choice determined by your own passions and priorities. The process is guided by learning from previous modules of the masters degree. And the product is a report that makes the case for change in the understanding of, and/or the practice and policy related to, a significant development management problem.


This is a compulsory module in the MSc in Development Management which is no longer available to new students. 

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with an adviser before registering.


Module 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.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

You will choose a subject for your project that you can study from a development management perspective, using knowledge and understanding, concepts and theories, drawn from modules you have studied previously for your MSc. This gives you a wide choice. It may well be that your subject will relate to work you are involved in, though it doesn’t have to. Whatever your subject, it should be something that you can formulate in development management terms – and that you are confident will sustain your interest over the whole six-month period.  

As well as the substantive subject of your research project, this module is about the research process itself, and is structured in such a way as to guide you through that process. You will learn and practise a skill that is increasingly important in development management, the skill of doing research in a rigorous fashion to produce knowledge that can be trusted.

The module is divided into four blocks that support your project work and that are linked to the assignments and to the final project report.

Block 1: Preparing your project proposal
This block explains the nature of the development management project; helps you to choose a suitable topic; explains some of the common pitfalls that you might encounter; offers guidance that will help you to put your proposal together and prepare you for the rest of the project; and helps you to complete your initial proposal.

Block 2: Defining the problem
This block helps you develop a clearer understanding of the development management problem you will be exploring; shows you how to carry out an effective literature search and review; requires you to draw on concepts and theories from modules you have previously studied in order to define a development management problem in a clear and researchable fashion; and encourages you to identify a set of good research questions that will guide your exploration of that problem.

Block 3: Designing and doing the research, dealing with the data
This block establishes the nature and significance of research methodology; reviews the various kinds of data and styles of research; helps you build up the knowledge and understanding you need to collect data successfully; explains how to evaluate quantitative and qualitative data; helps you to organise your own research work; and shows you how to make sense of the information you have gathered.

Block 4: Writing your report
The final block offers advice to help you to write effectively and produce a professional report of your project work.

Throughout the module you will be encouraged, and required, to reflect critically on what you have done and are doing, and on how your understanding of your research problem is developing.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will be responsible for monitoring your progress on the module, marking and commenting on your written work and whom you can contact for advice and guidance. Your tutor will maintain contact with you throughout the module. There is also an online forum, moderated by a tutor, for all students on this module.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

Your project report (end-of-module assessment) must be submitted electronically.

Course work includes

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Future availability

The development management project starts twice a year – in May and November. This page describes the module that will start in November 2021 and May 2022 when we expect it to start for the last time.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    This module is not available for standalone study. You will only be able to study it as the final module in the MSc in Development Management. 

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser


    Start End England fee Register
    01 May 2022 Oct 2022 £1475.00

    Registration closes 07/04/22 (places subject to availability)

    May 2022 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.

    Future availability

    The development management project starts twice a year – in May and November. This page describes the module that will start in November 2021 and May 2022 when we expect it to start for the last time.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

    Ways to pay for this module

    We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

    That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

    Study materials

    What's included

    Study guide and set text, other printed materials, audio CDs. All study resources are also available in electronic format.

    You will need

    An audio CD player.

    Computing requirements

    You’ll need a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of 64-bit Windows 10 (note that Windows 7 is no longer supported) and broadband internet access. Any macOS is unsuitable with this module.

    To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

    Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

    Our OU Study mobile App will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

    It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook; however, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

    If you have a disability

    Some of the study material is presented on audio CD. 

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.