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When you begin your journey towards postgraduate studies in Global Development, you become part of a vibrant, dynamic, passionate community of students and staff. We are the UK's only Higher Education Institute which not only leads cutting-edge, practice-based  development research alongside its range of teaching, but also implements education and health development programmes at scale in low and middle income countries. These include IGATE-T, Improving Gender Attitudes, Transition and Education Outcomes, designed to advance the life chances of 73,000 marginalised girls across nine districts of Zimbabwe, SAGE – Supporting Adolescent Girls’ Education provides the most marginalised girls from 11 of the poorest districts in Zimbabwe with an accelerated learning programme to help them ‘catch up’ their education and GATE-GEC – the Girls’ Access to Education programme works with rural communities in Sierra Leone, to support young women who have been unable to complete secondary schooling to become learning assistants and to qualify as teachers.

Plus, the OU works with many of the world's leading NGOs. We are currently supporting international development staff through free, open, online bespoke courses, such as Save the Children’s Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning programme, and Nesta’s DIY Toolkit.

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10 reasons why you should choose us:

  1. You will study in your own time, when you’re on the go, juggling family or in the field. Your studies will be designed to fit around your life
  2. We are one of the most affordable online postgraduate degree providers in International Development in the UK
  3. We engage with experts working in international development to develop our qualifications to ensure our content is both high quality and highly relevant to those interested and working in development management roles, for example, Water Aid and Save the Children
  4. Our Associate Lecturers will be supporting you throughout your journey, and come from a range of fascinating backgrounds, including Human Rights Law and leading International NGOs
  5. Our academics and cutting edge research underpins some of the most exciting and forward-thinking developments within the sector. Academics in Development Policy and Practice at The Open University have worked on a range of BBC/OU co-productions, including Project 17, Why Poverty? Syrian School, and Why Slavery? As a student, you will find much of this fed into your modules, enriching your experience and expanding your learning
  6. We have some of the best academics in the world working for us, not to mention Professors Emeriti, including Norman Clark, former Vice Chancellor of Kabarak University, Kenya and adviser to the UK House of Commons Select Committee on Overseas Development
  7. Our teaching staff have a wealth of experience in development, with colleagues having worked for the United Nations Development Program, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Oxfam, the African Capacity Building Foundation, Comic Relief and the International Labour Organisation to name a few…
  8. The OU is a world leader in distance learning, we have been doing it for over 50 years. The quality of support we offer students meant we were shortlisted in the Time Higher Education for outstanding support to students
  9. You will have access to seminars by leading professionals in the field and development community. All our students can access the range of fascinating seminars we hold at the OU, with speakers from top Universities and experts working in international development
  10. We have an active social media network and a monthly e-newsletter so you will always be kept up to date with what is happening.

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

Our modules are designed for:

  • Project Managers with an international focus or working in developing countries
  • Development Managers
  • International Development Managers
  • Development Professionals & practitioners
  • Development, policy and advocacy officers
  • Humanitarian aid workers      

But what makes our modules unique is that they are also highly relevant to professional specialists working in a development context like engineers, health workers, scientists and educationalists, and of course for all of those looking to move into development work. Our modules and qualifications give you a deeper understanding of development and a better grasp of the 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:

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

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

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

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

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