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Postgraduate Diploma in Development Leadership

For experienced development professionals

Is effective leadership of development organisations only about the ability to implement multiple programmes and managing teams? Or, are organisational leaders expected to have broader understanding of development theories, India’s overall development journey, frameworks of development action, and organisational cultures and leadership approaches?

Should leadership of development organisations be based on the same organisational principles which apply in the corporate world? Or, does the development ecosystem and organisational context require us to rethink some of these principles?

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

This programme will help participants to:

1. Deepen their perspectives on the wider historical processes and lived experiences shaping development realities in India to better inform their work.

2. Imagine alternative development approaches and outcomes, which foster equity, justice and sustainability.

3. Strengthen capabilities of leadership to build inclusive, adaptive and collaborative organisations.

4. Enhance analytical, communication and other competencies for oversight of financial management, data analysis and communication for development action and advocacy.

This programme is designed for professionals with eight or more years of experience in the development sector (like livelihood, sustainability, education, health, sanitation and hygiene, ecology etc). It is open to those working in NGOs, social movements and grassroots organisations.

The programme will be conducted in English.

Eligibility criteria

  • Undergraduate degree in any discipline 
  • Eight or more years of work in any domain of the development sector(like livelihood, sustainability, education, health, sanitation and hygiene, ecology etc), preferably with marginalized groups in urban or rural locations 
  • Currently in leadership roles in their respective organisations, or likely to move into such roles within the next three years
  • Consent and recommendation from the applicant’s current employer
  • Fluency in English (reading, written, spoken)

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 young children to the on-campus component, please contact us for childcare requirements. 

Please note that the University will not be able to assure child-care arrangement and any such arrangement may incur additional cost.

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

Contact no — 8951978091


Step 1: Submit online application form

Step 2: Recommendation form to be submitted by the current employer of shortlisted applicants

Step 3: Written test and panel interview


The fee for the programme is INR 72,000 (this includes tuition fees, accommodation fees for the on-campus component and GST). Other expenses such as travel, food, etc. will have to be borne by the participant or their organisation. Financial assistance will be considered upon request

For partners or small NGOs, a fee waiver of 50% can be considered. This is at the discretion of the University.




Term 1Jan 08 – Jan 252024Feb 10 – Mar 02, 2024 (all Saturdays) & Apr 13 – May 182024
Term 2Jul 01 – Jul 192024Aug 03 – Sep 14, 2024 (all Saturdays)
Term 3Dec 02 – Dec 192024Oct 19 – Nov 23, 2024 (all Saturdays)

*Dates are tentative

Course structure

This is a eleven-month programme with a blend of on-campus classes and online learning, over three terms.

Each term has an on-campus residential component of three weeks, and an online component of three months. The online classes are transacted 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 towards this diploma.


Our programme is designed for experienced organisational professionals, and assumes that you will bring deep experience of grassroots work and will build on that experience in the class interactions. It therefore utilises peer group learning, practice-based readings, guest lectures, discussions, films and simulations.

India’s Development Histories

Contemporary Development Realities in India 

Approaches to Development Action 

Development Theories and Critiques 

Data Analysis for Social Action 

Competencies for Effective Communication 

Shaping Organisational Culture 

Principles of Financial Management 

Leadership Practices for Development Organisations 

Seminar course: Emerging Themes in Development

Term 1 Project: Reflections on Development Practice 

Term 2 Project: Leading Organisational Change 

The programme also includes interactions with institution builders and organisational leaders from the development sector


All Programme faculty →


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