Application status: Applications for the September 2024 intake are now open
Master of Leadership for Development
- Qualification: Master's
- Duration: 24 months
- Delivery: In partnership with the University of Melbourne
- Workload: Approx 15 hours per week
- Next enrolment: September 2024
- Fees: AUD$28,152
Create change through collaboration
Learn to lead with confidence and tackle contemporary development challenges, working in partnership to find sustainable solutions.
This fully-online master's, delivered jointly with the University of Melbourne, focuses on the practical skills, global connections and collaborative outlook needed to make a real difference in the development world.
Learn on the job
Combine your studies with your work and start implementing change from day one.
Build a global network
Learn from development colleagues in different settings across the world.
Practise new skills
Build on your practical experience in simulations of real-world scenarios.
Seopedi Baitsile's story
It provides the theoretical background about the world’s development challenges, but is also future-focused and deliberate about making leaders in the sector.
The Upcycle Project
Seopedi Baitsile has big plans for the development sector. Born and raised in Botswana, she moved to South Africa to study at the University of Cape Town. Through studying two degrees - a Bachelor of Social Science, majoring in Environmental Sciences and Sociology and an Honours Degree in Development Studies - she realised that development was the career for her. “I realised that there is a role I could play to drive meaningful and positive change in these communities,” she tells us.
Seopedi has been working in environmental and social consultancy in Botswana since returning. Currently, she is a freelance social consultant and the founder of The Upcycle Project, a business that repurposes glass bottles and educates local communities about the environment.
For Seopedi, development work and taking care of the environment are closely linked. She also believes that cultural heritage has a role to play. Through a project for a mining company, Seopedi got to know the residents of a village where they were conducting exploration work. This experience had a profound effect on her. “It was through this project that I got to learn that cultural heritage should be preserved in the pursuit of development,” she says.
Breaking down barriers
“The lack of meaningful involvement of communities’ voices and identity in development projects and goals has been a barrier for many decades,” she tells us, “and it’s one which I hope to help address through studying this course.”
The way to remedy this, Seopedi believes, is by approaching development in a sense of partnership with local communities. Through studying the Master of Leadership for Development, she hopes to further understand how to navigate this barrier and gain leadership skills to development in a way that is ethical and culturally sensitive.
Transforming the industry
When applying for this course, themes about the implications of shifts in power for development projects, the connection between leadership and dependencies, and the distinctiveness of leadership in the sector stood out to Seopedi. “Not only does it provide the theoretical background about the world’s development challenges, but it is also future-focused and deliberate about making leaders that will serve in various fields of the sector,” she says. She wants to radically change the way development projects are created and sees this course as a route to doing this.
The Master of Leadership for Development has allowed Seopedi to leverage her interests and experience, and she is confident it will equip her with the tools to make a difference. “After completing it, I will have the skills and platform to be actively involved in work that challenges the inequalities and development injustices that exist in my field,” Seopedi tells us.
Wellbeing and community
People from all walks of life deal with challenges and pressures on their wellbeing. According to Seopedi, focusing on caring for mental health in a time of great stress and uncertainty is extremely important. Taking time to go outside and commune with nature has also been key. Taking a digital detox is another thing that helps. “We spend a lot of time indoors and in front of computer screens and on our mobile phones,” she says, “taking social media breaks and turning my phone off after dinner has also made me less anxious.” Keeping in touch with friends and family is also important. In work as in life, Seopedi reiterates the importance of community to help overcome challenges. This community-minded spirit is what Seopedi wants to bring to the development sector, infusing every single project with contextual sense and a collaborative approach. The Master of Leadership for Development will empower her to do that.
This degree is delivered in partnership with the University of Melbourne
Benefits of our collaborative approach
- Draw on the combined strength of two world-class institutions.
- Get a global perspective on development issues.
- Learn from a joint team of international experts in the field.
- Build diverse relationships and open doors for the future.
100% online courses developed to fit around your lifestyle and circumstances.
Master’s - 24 month, part-time.
Master’s – Start your studies in September.
Start your studies in September. Complete the contact form below and we'll email you with the details about the course.
Approx 15 hours per week
Jaco Renken (Manchester), Natalie Cunningham (Manchester) and Violeta Schubert (Melbourne)
Fees and funding
This course is a joint master's with The University of Melbourne and The University of Manchester.
Fees for the September 2024 entry are $28,152AUD.
The University of Melbourne is managing the admissions process hence the Australian fee displayed on the website.
You can save up to 50% on your tuition fees. Please see our fees and funding section below for more details.
We offer payment by instalments, so you can spread the cost of studying with us.
Explore a range of fee remissions, scholarships and bursaries available for this course below.
To apply for the Master of Leadership for Development you are required to have:
A bachelor degree with honours (minimum Upper Second (2:1) or international equivalent) and at least two years of documented, relevant work experience; or a H2B (70%) or equivalent at The University of Melbourne.
Contact us today
Who this course is for
If you want to reposition yourself to take up a leadership role in the development sector, but don't want to take time out from your important work to study, this fully-online master's course will support you to learn on the job.
If you already work in or alongside the global development sector – as a manager, planner, policy maker, consultant, educator, entrepreneur, researcher, or community advocate – develop your skills, transform your career with us and change the world for the better.
What you will learn
- Build your leadership capabilities, with strong foundations in sustainability and collaboration.
- Learn to effectively navigate the complex circumstances and challenges of contemporary development.
- Build practical skills for effective negotiation, diplomacy and cross-cultural communication.
- Champion positive, proactive and improved social transformation in a global context.
- Develop the digital competencies required in the modern development sector.
Where and when you will study
This fully-online, part-time master's means you can study from anywhere in the world and fit it around your day-to-day life. You will be expected to learn while you continue to work, and to use examples from your work throughout your study.
You will complete four taught units in year one, followed by two taught units and a research project in year two. You'll learn through interactive teaching and have plenty of opportunities to work collaboratively with your peers.
How it will benefit your career
- Build a professional network across the globe and be in prime position to hear about the latest international opportunities.
- Through our highly interactive teaching platform, you'll learn from the experiences of colleagues and your fellow students in diverse settings and gain a broader perspective.
- Hone your leadership skills and knowledge acquired through the course in your job from day one to start advancing in your role, working with complex stakeholders and organisations and beyond.
- Build your resilience and practise applying your skills in real-life scenarios so you're ready for the situations you'll encounter as your career grows.
- Consider how the changing global landscape affects the context of current development challenges.
- Explore key development theories, paradigms and concepts.
- Examine the implications of shifts in power for development.
You'll examine the rapidly changing landscape of contemporary global development in order to provide the appropriate contextual background for the challenges currently facing leaders in development. This unit will explore the key development theories, paradigms, and concepts, as well as critically examine the implications of shifts in the global context for development institutions, programmes, and frameworks.
- Study the key aspects of leadership theory, specifically the foundations of exercising influence, and the role of situational factors.
- Understand the different styles and models of leadership.
In this unit, you'll examine the key aspects of leadership theory, specifically the foundations of exercising influence, and the role of situational factors that affect it. Key themes include understanding of the different styles and models of leadership, the distinction between role of manager and leader, connection between leadership and political and organisational governance, issues of power, dependencies, accountability and responsibility and the requisite qualities of leadership.
- Examine the distinctiveness of leadership in the development sector.
- Explore the changing meaning of leadership and implications of the post-heroic perspective.
- Draw on key concepts and context to develop a model for leading in a global context.
You'll examine the distinctiveness of leadership in the development sector. It critically explores the changing meaning of leadership and examine the implications of the post-heroic perspective on leadership for global development. It draws on the concepts and context of development and leadership fundamentals to develop a leadership reference model that is appropriate for effectively leading development in a global context. It particularly draws on a collection of teaching cases and practitioner insights.
Organisation Development and Change
- Understand the organisational context of change initiatives.
- Learn theoretical foundations and practical interventions from applied behavioural science.
- Examine strategies for training leaders and succession planning.
This unit focuses on the organisational context where development leaders plan and implement change initiatives. Theoretical foundations are drawn from applied behavioural sciences, and cover interpersonal, group, inter group, and organisation-wide interventions to effect comprehensive and lasting change. It examines innovative strategies for training and developing leaders, as well as planning and implementing succession in global development sector organisations. Blending theory and practice, you'll work in teams, applying lessons learned from this module in the analysis of real-world change scenarios and leadership challenges.
International Management and Leadership
- Understand the processes of internationalisation in multilateral institutions and NGOs.
- Examine the challenges and opportunities for addressing global inequalities.
- Explore global trends, including public/NGO-private partnerships, corporate social entrepreneurship, value chain arrangements and open innovation.
In this unit, you'll examine the processes of internationalisation in private- and public-sector, multilateral institutions and non-governmental organizations, examining the challenges and opportunities for addressing global inequalities. It'll examine global trends including the formation of public/NGO private partnerships, corporate social entrepreneurship, new forms of business models, value chain arrangements and open innovation.
Leadership Skills in Action
- Apply new knowledge and skills to simulated scenarios.
- Practise the practical management of change and leadership in the context of real-life development challenges.
This unit will allow you to apply management and leadership knowledge and skills gained through the course using adaptive simulations. The focus will be on the practical management of change and leading through challenges and uncertainties all related to a specific challenge and context. The simulation of scenarios will take place over the 10 weeks of teaching. It'll give you big problem areas to deal with using your analytical and critical skills you’ll learn throughout the course.
- Undertake a research-based activity using the knowledge and skills you've acquired.
- Choose between a group project and an individual dissertation.
This course is taught from a global, future-focused perspective, where you will explore key development theories, contemporary global issues in development, fundamental principles of leadership and the nuances of leading in development, the complexities of institutional structures and how to implement change within an organisational context.
With our focus on highly applicable skills and knowledge, you will also learn through interactive teaching the chance to experience and practice your developing leadership skills in real-world scenarios. You will complete four taught units in year one, followed by two taught units and a research project in year two. You’ll learn through a mix of interactive teaching and have plenty of opportunities to work collaboratively with your peers.
You will critically analyse the complexities of institutional structures and power relationships. You will develop leadership skills in a highly-complex sector and will learn to be able to navigate and make change happen.
This course is fully online, yet highly interactive. You'll have the opportunity to network with other development professionals who work across the globe and in different sectors such as multi-lateral organisations including the World Bank and UN, governments, public and private sector organisations, NGOs and charities.
You'll apply your learning and practical leadership competencies directly into your workplace, using real-life scenarios and global case studies. This is at the core of this course and sets us apart from other development courses globally.
Key thematic streams that run throughout each subject unit allow you flexibility to develop or hone your skills within a specific area. While addressing important competencies such as communication, decision-making and self-reflection, the design of subject modules ensure exercises and assessments are as practical and applicable to your professional leadership aspirations.
You will acquire critical reasoning and analytical expertise to interpret complex development situations and attain practical management and leadership skills to champion positive, proactive, and improved social transformation in this global context. This knowledge, analytical expertise and practical skills can transfer to a range of roles across different sectors, organisations and settings.
You will be studying course units from The University of Manchester and The University of Melbourne. Each institution is responsible for teaching three units over the two years.
You will be provided with a comprehensive set of course materials at the beginning of each course unit from the institution teaching the unit. These interactive, specially designed materials provide an introduction to the issues and skills central to each unit and direct you to other study components such as further reading.
Each unit is supported by a virtual learning environment (VLE) where you can access all course materials, online reading lists, podcasts, and the University's extensive online library . You will have an induction to the two virtual learning environments at the start of the course.
You'll examine the rapidly changing landscape of contemporary global development in order to provide the appropriate contextual background for the challenges currently facing leaders in development.
You'll examine the key aspects of leadership theory, specifically the foundations of exercising influence, and the role of situational factors that affect it. Key themes include understanding of the different styles and models of leadership, the distinction between role of manager and leader, connection between leadership and political and organisational governance, issues of power, dependencies, accountability and responsibility and the requisite qualities of leadership.
This unit examines the distinctiveness of leadership in the development sector. It critically explores the changing meaning of leadership and examine the implications of the post-heroic perspective on leadership for global development. It aims to answer questions such as, how do I lead? It'll address management performance specific to the Development sector.
Organisation Development and Change
You'll focus on the organisational context where development leaders plan and implement change initiatives. It examines innovative strategies for training and developing leaders, as well as planning and implementing succession in global development sector organisations. You'll work in teams, applying lessons learned from this module in the analysis of real-world change scenarios and leadership challenges.
International Management and Development Innovation
You'll examine processes of internationalisation in private-and public-sector, multilateral institutions and non-governmental organizations, examining the challenges and opportunities for addressing global inequalities. You'll examine global trends including the formation of public/NGO private partnerships, corporate social entrepreneurship, new forms of business models, value chain arrangements and open innovation.
Leadership Skills in Action
You'll apply management and leadership knowledge and skills gained through the programme using adaptive simulations. The focus will be on the practical management of change and leading through challenges and uncertainties all related to a specific challenge and context. The simulation of scenarios will take place over the 10 weeks of teaching. It'll give you big problem areas to deal with using your analytical and critical skills you'll learn throughout the course.
Each subject or unit will include different types of assessment.
These may include written assignments, peer reviews, reflective learning, scenario simulation reporting, group work and how you engage and contribute to group discussions.
From your initial expression of interest right through to graduation, you’ll receive all the support you need. We can support you with enrolment and subject assistance, administrative logistics and fee options, online learning skills, workload management and special circumstances including a possible professional entry route.
Academic entry qualification overview
In order to be considered for entry, you must have completed:
- An honours degree in a cognate discipline (e.g. social sciences including anthropology; sociology; public policy; social policy; political science; media and communication; journalism; economics; management; population and global health; education; engineering; or architecture and public planning), or equivalent and at least two years of documented, relevant professional work experience, or
- an undergraduate degree in a cognate discipline (e.g. social sciences including anthropology; sociology; public policy; social policy; political science; media and communication; journalism; economics; management; population and global health; education; engineering; or architecture and public planning), or equivalent, and at least two years of documented, relevant professional work experience, or
- a minimum of eight years documented, relevant professional work experience. Candidates entering through this route will be registered for the master's certificate under a probation arrangement. Failure to pass all master's certificate course units in the first year of study will disallow registration for a higher-level qualification.
Meeting this requirement does not guarantee selection.
In ranking applications, the Selection Committee will consider:
- prior academic performance; and
- relevance of previous studies; and
- relevant professional work experience
Applicants whose first language is not English must meet the following language requirements:
1. IELTS (Academic) Test score of 6.5 or more overall, with a minimum score of 6.5 in writing and a minimum score of 6.0 in the other subsections, or
2.TOEFL internet-based test score of 90 or more overall, with a minimum writing score of 22 and no other subsection below 20, or
3. Pearson Test of English score of 62 or more overall, with a minimum score of 62 in writing and a minimum score of 59 in the other subsections, or
4. Grade C in the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English, or
5. Grade A in the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English.
(agreed by Melbourne, but subject to finalization of joint regulations)
English language test validity
How to apply
As this is a joint degree with the University of Melbourne, when you apply you will be taken to Melbourne's online application form. A member of the Admissions team in Melbourne will be in touch with you soon.
If you have any questions regarding the course, please contact us on email@example.com
Advice to applicants
This first-of-a-kind, joint qualification draws on the combined strength of two world-class institutions: the University of Manchester and the University of Melbourne. The fully online course provides the flexibility to study around your commitments and complete the programme part-time over 24 months.
The course embraces action-based, reflective learning, facilitated through a comprehensive online platform, simulations, individual and group projects. The programme is designed to forge strong enduring networks among study fellows and alumni. Applicants from all disciplinary backgrounds are welcomed.
Paying by instalments
You will be expected to pay for each taught subject/unit as the unit starts at the beginning of each study period. This will take place in September, November, February and May of each year you study with us.
If you are looking to secure funding from your employer, we can help you build a business case or talk to your employer directly. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a consultation.
How your application is considered
When you submit your application, please provide a personal statement that outlines your personal motivation for pursuing the course in terms of future career ambitions, the nature of leadership/managerial experience and the relevance of prior qualifications in relation to this course, as it is keenly focused on the Development sector. We normally expect around 500 words.
An education selection committee from both institutions will meet regularly to discuss and make a decision on your application.
Reduced tuition fee - Early application deadline:
To be eligible for a reduced tuition fee, you will need to submit a complete application on or before the early application deadline date and if offered a place, accept your offer by the deadline in the offer letter (normally three weeks from date of the offer).
The University offers a one-discount policy. You will be awarded the discount that offers the largest amount.
Alumni discount (15%): If you have successfully graduated from a degree at the University of Manchester, Melbourne or UMIST, you can receive a 15% alumni loyalty bursary
Early application discount 10%:
Sustainable Development Goals Scholarship - A third off your tuition fee.
Deadline for submissions: TBC
A merit scholarship, open to all who can demonstrate their commitment to delivering against one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
We award these scholarships to support opportunities for talented individual interested in careers in development to learn from our experts and start, or continue, their journey into future development roles.
You will need to show:
- Outstanding academic excellenceStrong motivation and potential to their commitment to delivering against one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (current work experience in the development sector may be required).
- Determination to act as a role model for others in Development.The presentation should be a maximum of 6 pages/slides
- You will not deliver your presentation orally therefore think of the presentation as a ‘story book’. You are welcome to use diagrams, photographs etc., to illustrate your messages. We will evaluate the presentation on the content, showing how you meet the scholarship criteria, not on technical expertise.
The University offers a one-discount policy. You will be awarded the discount that offers the largest amount.
Fees for the September 2024 entry for Master of Leadership for Development are AUD$28,152
International fee remissions (50%)
The University of Manchester and The University of Melbourne’s co-taught and joint award program the Master of Leadership for Development gives students the skills and connections they need to make a real difference in the developing world. Our International 50% fee remission program empowers future leaders to deliver solutions globally within the development sector. These fee remissions are available to citizens of countries deemed low and middle income by the World Bank .
These fee remissions are for academically excellent students with the potential to make a significant contribution to development in their home countries and around the world. They cover 50% of tuition fees for eligible students studying the Master of Leadership for Development (online) co-taught between the University of Melbourne and the University of Manchester.
The fee remissions are intended for those who cannot otherwise afford to study at the University of Melbourne or University of Manchester. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity. All eligible applicants with citizenship from an eligible country are automatically considered on merit for the fee remission when they submit their application for the course.
Early application discount (10%): Apply on or before 19th May 2024 to receive 10% reduction on your tuition fee.
A lumni discount (15%)
One-discount policy : If you qualify for more than one, you will be awarded the one that is the highest amount.
Policy on additional costs
All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).
Regulated by the Office for Students
The University of Manchester is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS aims to help students succeed in Higher Education by ensuring they receive excellent information and guidance, get high quality education that prepares them for the future and by protecting their interests. More information can be found at the OfS website.
You can find regulations and policies relating to student life at The University of Manchester, including our Degree Regulations and Complaints Procedure, on our regulations website.