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Development Management

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

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

• Knowledge and understanding
• Cognitive skills
• Practical and professional skills
• Key skills

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.

Recognition in your country
If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.

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.

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.


1 – 2 years

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.

Number of credits

120 credits

Careers or further progression

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.

Further enquiries

Tel: (01) 678 5399
Fax: (01) 678 5442

Subjects taught

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

90 credits of compulsory modules:

Compulsory modules Credits
Capacities for managing development (T878) 30
Conflict and development (T879) 1see note below 30
Institutional development (TU872)30

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 list:

Optional modules Credits
Business, human rights law and corporate responsibility (W822) 30
Development: context and practice (T877) 30
Making environmental decisions (T891) 30
Managing systemic change: inquiry, action, and interaction (TU812) 30 FINAL
Project management (M815) 30
Thinking strategically: systems tools for managing change (TU811) 30

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

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 from the 60-credit module MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (B716). 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.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!