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Postgraduate Certificate in Human Rights and Development Management

Please note that the final enrolment date for this qualification will be 10 October 2019 after which it will no longer be available to new students. You must complete your study by 31 December 2021. If you would like to discuss your options with one of our advisers, please contact us.

This certificate will appeal to an international audience with an interest in human rights law and corporate social responsibility in development contexts. It is designed to facilitate constructive and informed decision-making, giving you a thorough grounding in all areas of corporate social responsibility in contexts ranging from the local to the global. You will develop the skills needed to help and encourage organisations to respect human rights, avoid harm to people and the environment, and maximise their positive contribution to sustainable development. 

Key features of the course

  • Builds your understanding of the complex processes labelled ‘development’, and how to manage those processes more effectively
  • Offers a critical examination of the concepts of corporate responsibility and human rights
  • Focuses on assessing and finding solutions to complex situations in fast-changing business and institutional environments
  • Makes links between academic learning and professional practice, to the benefit of both.

This certificate is part of a progressive programme of courses that also includes the Postgraduate Certificate in Development Management (C48), Postgraduate Certificate in Conflict and Development (C67), Postgraduate Diploma in Development Management (D37) and MSc in Development Management (F11).


Course 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.
How long it takes
Minimum – 6 months
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


If you plan to study development management beyond this certificate, we recommend that you read the following qualification descriptions before choosing your first module:

To gain this qualification, you need 60 credits as follows:

30 credits from this list:

Optional modules Credits Next start
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

30 01 Nov 2019
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

30 01 Nov 2019

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules TU870, TU871, TUXX870, TUXX871


Compulsory module Credits Next start
Business, human rights law and corporate social 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

30 02 Nov 2019

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 20 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 20th March 2019.

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

For this qualification, we do not allow you to count credit for study you have already done elsewhere.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules, you will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Human Rights and Development Management entitling you to use the letters PG Cert HRDM (Open) after your name.

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.


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 experience in the field of development and/or human rights and corporate social responsibility. 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 one year, by studying the two six-month modules in succession. The minimum time to complete is six months (by studying two modules at the same time); we do not recommend this, but it might suit you if you have no other major time commitments during that period. 

Career relevance

In the past decade, the social expectations from business actors and the social engagement of these actors have changed dramatically. There is also evidence of an increased demand for those skills and expertise that could help business organisations fulfil their re-defined social role. This certificate provides invaluable professional expertise required for influencing the decision-making processes related to business engagement in society. The modules making up this certificate combine to give a good overview of the complex issues raised by such an engagement and to allow practitioners to make a full contribution to organisational strategy formulation.

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