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Postgraduate Studies in Development Management

Wherever in the world you are, whatever you are doing, whenever you want, you can easily access our postgraduate studies in development management.

These studies are open to anyone with:

•    an interest in development and its management
•    English language competence to study at postgraduate level
•    the time – 12-15 hours per week for six months – to study one of our modules. 

Although not an absolute requirement, you are strongly advised to have a first degree, preferably related to development.  It also helps to have had some substantial involvement in development processes (in any country), particularly if you don’t have a relevant degree.  If you have any doubts about any of these criteria – and particularly the English language competence – please get in touch with: Richard.Pinder@open.ac.uk

With twice yearly starts for our modules, qualifications that are fully modular, and the availability of a range of specialist options, we offer you a uniquely flexible learning experience, one that fits your schedule, and engages with your particular interests. See Pathways.
Whether you are an established development manager, a professional specialist working in a development context (engineer, health worker, scientist, educationalist, for example), or someone wanting to move into development work, you will find that our modules and qualifications give you a deeper understanding of development and a better grasp of skills needed to manage it. 
The following testimonies from students from different professional areas will give you some idea of what you might gain from our modules and qualifications:

Hazel Siri, a qualified nurse, says the programme not only improved her knowledge in a range of topics including business, human rights law, urban transition and intervention – it also changed the way she thinks and works.

“It’s taught me to analyse how and why we deliver programmes in the way we do – and work out what we should be doing. The study allows a lot of capacity for reflection, which has brought me closer, clearer interaction with partners, donors and external stakeholders such as government departments...Everything I have studied has relevance to my work.

I started the course when I was in Chad, then continued when I went to Libya, and am completing it in Haiti. The online learning means I’ve taken part in tutorials with students from all over the world.
You learn by yourself but you never feel alone.”

Hazel Siri
Head of sub-office in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
“The MSc in Development Management enabled me to understand much better the context in which I work, and to also understand better the motivations and mentalities of many other non-engineering stakeholders who are crucial to successful sustainable engineering. Although I work particularly in a development context, I believe that many of these skills and lessons can also be usefully transferred to sustainable engineering in the developed world.   I consider myself both an Engineer and a Development Manager and I believe that the combination of skills is needed to enable engineers to make a more effective contribution to sustainable development in any context.”

Nick Gardner
Head of Contracts Management, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), responsible for providing advice and direction on UNOPS construction contracts around the globe
"I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the MSc in Development Management. I would recommend it to anyone and feel that I learned a tremendous amount during my time with the OU. I was thoroughly impressed by the content of the courses as well as the professionalism and support with which they were delivered.
My thesis was one of the best things I have ever done and taught me a great deal….What I loved most about TU874 (and in many ways the masters in general) was that I was given the flexibility and confidence to investigate what interested me most. I work for a solar energy company in Guatemala that provides electricity to rural communities without access to the grid. My original thoughts were to study a topic related to this work as it would have been a perfect fit. However, as I was able to apply this experience in other courses such as TU870 and TU872, I took the opportunity to investigate another area of interest to me - the link between human rights and development.
After its 36 year civil war, the relationship between human rights and development is an important one within Guatemala. After studying the masters course I felt capable of addressing this challenge as I was armed with a broad view of the many different perspectives of development management and how and why they had arisen. Within my study of this area I was also able to pull in learning and understanding from each module I had studied, including my options (TU875 and W822 within the faculty of law). I was able to reflect on what development management really meant to me and feel confident that I was viewing my research question in a holistic, reflective and investigative manner.
I want to thank you all very much for helping me to gain this understanding and confidence. I could not have asked for more from the OU or for more support throughout my masters. I feel very proud to say that I studied with you all and I will be forever grateful.”

Victoria Kasprowicz
Guatemala
“I firstly enrolled in a postgraduate certificate in conflict and development and set off for a language course in Vietnam. Later, while working remotely in the field for a foreign NGO in Bangladesh, it did not take me long to think about upgrading my education to a postgraduate diploma. Studying primarily for private enrichment proved to be a good alternative to keep sane in a ‘never ending 24/7’ humanitarian and early-recovery work…

During the course of the OU study I lost my father. Also (unlike a couple of people) I survived the cyclone Mahasin that swept over the parts of Bangladesh in late 2013. Despite all these inconveniences the OU enabled me to continue my study journey. Overall, I am grateful for the Open University development management program that simply followed me wherever I went.”

Jiri Rous
Monitoring Officer, Human Rights
European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM), Georgia
“During the last year or so, some of the stuff we've read with the OU has rocked my world! Made me question myself, my job, my organisation... not that I didn't question stuff before, but this time, to such an extent that I feel 'opinion-less' sometimes until I work stuff out again. I've been a front-line worker for nearly 20 years, but only ever in poor northern UK communities - I've been called many things - 'Neighbourhood Worker', 'Community Organiser', 'Community Development Officer (depending who's in power and who I'm working for) ... this MSC has confirmed how much I don't know (in a good way!).”

Sharon Darnley
Quality of Life Manager
The Goodwin Trust, Hull, UK

Sharon’s employer adds:
“The OU MSc in Development Management has been a wonderful experience not only for Sharon, our Quality of Life manager, but for the organisation as a whole.

As an organisation we are committed to being able to improve the quality of life for our 5000-strong inner city community in Hull, however, this can occasionally lead to an overly tight operational focus on those very immediate problems that our community faces on a day to day basis. The MSc demanded that both Sharon and Goodwin get our collective heads up and engage with the wider context that those problems inhabit.

The MSc has clearly succeeded in providing an excellent professional development opportunity to a valued member of staff, however, it has also provided a wider opportunity for the whole organisation to reflect on both its strategic context and its operational practice.  I would have no reservation in recommending the MSc as a challenging, creative and valuable opportunity for individuals and organisations alike working in the sector.”

Peter McGurn,
CEO, The Goodwin Trust

“When I started the MSc course I was working as a recruitment consultant, a job I had no love for. I started the course with the intention of trying to move into international development. Having completed just 1 or 2 modules I was able to secure a job in the Economic Development Unit of Cambridgeshire County Council where I was able to combine my private sector experience with the knowledge and skills I was developing through my studies.

My intention was to develop experience locally, given that I had no experience of working in a developing country and that the international development market is so competitive, and try and move over later. However, over the course of my studies, and through the experience I was developing in my new job, it became more and more apparent to me that there was plenty of work to be done here to help combat inequality in my own community. I have since moved on from Cambridgeshire County Council and I’m now the Senior Economic Development Manager for Opportunity Peterborough. We’re a small, private, not-for-profit company, wholly owned by Peterborough City Council, and tasked with overseeing the economic development of Peterborough.”


Tom Hennessy
Peterborough, UK, UK