Postgraduate Diploma in Development Leadership

What is the effective leadership of development organisations about? 


What is effective leadership of development organisations about? Is it merely about the ability to implement multiple projects, programmes, and managing teams? Are organisational leaders expected to have a broader understanding: of development theories, India’s overall development journey, frameworks of development action, and organisational cultures and leadership approaches?

Does leadership of development organisations need to be based on the same organisational principles which apply in the corporate world? Does the development ecosystem and organisational context require us to rethink some of these foundational principles?

Our diploma programme responds to such questions. We aim to enable mid-career and senior level professionals to prepare for leadership roles in their organisations. We aim to advance your understanding of development leadership beyond programmatic considerations, helping anchor their work in rich experiences and within a broader understanding of civil society and its trajectories.

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Deeper perspectives

We will look at the wider historical processes and lived experiences shaping development realities in India to better inform your work

Alternative development outcomes

We will together imagine alternative development outcomes and approaches, that foster equity, justice and sustainability.

Enhanced capabilities

We will strengthen your capacities around leadership in order to build inclusive, adaptive and collaborative organisations.

Enhanced skills

We will work to enhance analytical competencies, for financial management, data analysis and communication for development action and advocacy.

This programme is for professionals with eight years or more of experience in the development sector. This is open to those working in NGOs, social movements and other grassroots organisations.

The programme is in English.

You can apply if

  • You have an undergraduate degree in any discipline
  • You have eight or more years of work in the development sector, in any domain, especially with marginalised groups in urban or rural locations
  • You are fluent in in English (reading, writing, and spoken)
  • You are currently in leadership roles in their respective organisations, or likely to move into such roles within the next three years.
  • You have the consent and recommendation of the your current employer.

We encourage applications from women and other groups which are underrepresented in the leadership of social sector organisations in the country.

If you need to bring children or young children to the programme, please contact us for childcare requirements. 

Do write to us at <admission.​pgd@​apu.​edu.​in> with your queries. 

This is a eleven-month programme with a blend of contact classes and online learning, over 3 terms.

Each term has an on-campus residential component of three weeks, and an online component of 3 months.

This work is done over weekends with live lectures, online discussions, assignments and guided project work.

Our programme is designed to help you continue your existing work and employment, while being enrolled in study.

Classes on campus

  • - Classes on campus
  • - Classes on campus
  • - Classes on campus
  • - Online classes
  • - Online classes
  • - Online classes
Partners or small NGOs

Approximately INR 30,000 for tuition and accommodation (including GST)

For all other organisations
Approximately INR 60,000 for tuition and accommodation (including GST)

Additional fee waivers will be considered upon request from organisations or participants



Course structure

We offer you courses that explore India’s experiences around development, its realities and action. Our programme is focused on bringing your understanding of theories, approaches and methods of development action towards impact on organisational culture. Our courses include developing competencies for effective communication and shaping work culture, as well as work on financial management and leadership practices. 


Our programme is designed for experienced organisational professionals, and assumes that you will bring deep experience of grassroots work. We hope you will build on that experience in classroom interactions. 

The programme relies on peer group learning, practice-based readings, guest lectures, discussions, films and simulations.

In this term, you will spend three weeks on campus and twelve weeks online, studying the following courses:

  • India’s Experience of Development
  • Contemporary Development Realities in India 
  • Approaches to Development Action 
  • Project A: Reflections on Development Practice 

In this term, you will spend three weeks on campus and eight weeks online, studying the following courses:

  • Development Theories and Critiques 
  • Competencies for Effective Communication
  • Shaping Organisational Culture
  • Data Analysis for Social Action 

In this term, you will spend three weeks on campus and six weeks online, studying the following courses:

  • Project B: Leading Organisational Change 
  • Principles of Financial Management
  • Leadership Practices for Development Organisations 

Total 22 credits