There is a growing recognition, that in addition to a common body of knowledge all managers need in order to succeed, there are critical specialist areas for managers which provide a sound understanding of all aspects of their work and a springboard for further career progression.

This charity degree course is the first of its kind in the UK and Europe and reflects the increasing interest in funding and the need for transparency and accountability. Students will hold responsible positions within funding organisations wishing to gain a professional academic qualification.

Introduction by Peter Grant

This course aims to:

  • Develop a clear understanding of the principles and practices of funding
  • Explore the importance of all aspects of the management of funding
  • Develop skills in problem solving, risk assessment and probity of applications
  • Explore ethical frameworks within funding

Students should be highly motivated managers and will normally have a good first degree, a related professional qualification or at least three years wholly relevant experience.

Course structure and content

Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert)

The Postgraduate Certificate is offered on a part time basis and is taught over a period of six months. The Certificate consists of five modules: Introduction to Learning Principles and Practices of Grantmaking, Management of Grantmaking, Shadowing/Fieldwork and Strategy, Diversity and Governance.

All courses are taught at Cass Business School and will require attendance one weekend a month commencing on the Friday afternoon at 13:00 to 21:00 and finishing on Saturday at 18:00.

Additional times of attendance will be required:

  • On the Induction Day
  • For Action Learning Set meetings (usually alternate months on the Friday morning of the teaching weekend)
  • The Principles and Practice module exam.

Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip)

The Postgraduate Diploma is offered on a part time basis and is taught over a period of 12 months. The Diploma consists of five core modules, plus three specialist pathway modules. The core modules are shared by all five Centre for Charity Effectiveness postgraduate courses.

All courses are taught at Cass Business School and will require attendance one weekend a month commencing on the Friday afternoon at 13:00 to 21:00 and finishing on Saturday at 18:00.

Additional times of attendance will be required:

  • On the Induction Day
  • For Action Learning Set meetings (usually alternate months on the Friday morning of the teaching weekend)
  • The Resource Management, and Principles and Practices module exams.

Term dates

October 2014 Intake - PGDip

Induction/Introduction to Learning

03 October 2014

Voluntary Sector Policy

04 October 2014
07 - 08 November 2014

Marketing & Fundraising

12 - 13 December 2014

Resource Management

09 - 10 January 2015
06 - 07 February 2015
06 - 07 March 2015

Exam * 10 April 2015

Specialist Pathway Modules

17 - 18 April 2015
15 - 16 May 2015
26 - 27 June 2015

Exam* 12 June 2015

Fieldwork exercise

Process to be completed by early August 2015

Strategy, Diversity & Governance

24 - 25 July 2015
04 - 05 September 2015

April 2014 Intake - PgCert

Induction/Introduction to Learning

10 April 2014

Specialist Pathway Modules

11 - 12 April 2014
09 - 10 May 2014
20 - 21 June 2014

Exam*  06 June 2014

Fieldwork Exercise

to be completed by August 2014

Strategy, Diversity & Governance

25 - 26 July 2014
05 - 06 September 2014

* all other modules are assessed by coursework

Module Outlines

Introduction to Learning

This module aims to enables the student to:
  • Map out their learning and development needs
  • Set these needs within the context of the programme
  • Learn new learning and study skills
  • The Theory of Learning
  • Assessing your learning style
  • Learning and polishing study skills
  • Making use of all the available tools
  • Drawing up a Learning Contract

Voluntary Sector Policy

This module aims to enables the student to:
  • Develop an informed and critical understanding of the public policy environments in which voluntary organisations operate, to which they variously respond or help shape
  • Policy concepts and the contested nature of public policy
  • Developments in new public management and public policy trends - marketisation, modernisation, joint working, partnerships
  • Fissures, links and building blocks in public policy networks in and for voluntary organisations
  • Policy actors in governmental and voluntary organisations and models of governmental/voluntary sector relations in UK and international contexts
  • Structuring and restructuring policy problems; new and enduring responses (e.g. faith based provisions, cross sectoral working)
  • Reputational impact on policy advocacy; the impact of mergers, alliances, closures and scandal on organisations' policy roles
  • Policy outcomes - the voluntary sector as provider, evaluator and critics
  • Lesson drawing in public policy and forecasting public policy futures; the voluntary sector as provider of policy evidence, policy learner and policy leader and advocate
  • Sectoral policy contributions to the development of civil society

Resource Management

This module aims to enables the student to:
  • Provide students with an understanding of the principles of resource management within the specialist context of charities
  • Definitions and the legal framework of charities and voluntary organisations
  • The role of the Charity Commission
  • Sources of finance for the charity sector
  • Introduction to general accounting principles
  • Charity accounts and regulatory framework
  • Understanding, interpreting and analysing charity accounting statements
  • Costing and budgeting in voluntary organisations
  • Risk assessment
  • Outsourcing
  • Appraising, appointing and dismissing auditors and other resource consultants and experts
  • IT Strategic appraisal and implementation
  • The nature of Human Resource Management
  • Human resource and personnel issues including training and development, reward and retention and effective selection and recruitment

Marketing and Fundraising

This module aims to enables the student to:
  • To provide you with the concepts, underpinning knowledge, skills and techniques to plan and develop marketing and operations systems
  • To enable you to analyse marketing needs, evaluate marketing plans, in the context of applying marketing concepts to your own organisation
  • Effective Marketing Information Systems
  • Development of a marketing strategy
  • Product/Service policy and new product development
  • Role of Communications
  • Branding
  • Pricing as a value-added marketing tool
  • Capacity planning - resources planning and allocation
  • Total Quality Management
  • Stakeholder/Customer care

Strategy, Diversity and Governance

This module aims to enables the student to:
  • To develop a broad knowledge and conceptual base in the field of strategy development, diversity and governance
  • Introduce practical tools to help improve the quality of an organisation's strategic response to the changing environment
  • Introduce practical tools to help improve the ability of the organisation and its managers and leaders to build a diverse workforce
  • Enhance appreciation of the constraints and opportunities offered by the changing governance and service-delivery frameworks which affect voluntary organisations
  • Improving an organisation's strategic response by use of strategy and diversity management and theory
  • Approaches to developing strategy
  • Approaches to managing diversity
  • The changing environment of the voluntary sector
  • Case studies on the application of strategic planning and diversity

Fieldwork Exercise

This module aims to enables the student to:
  • Develop a wider perspective on their role by gaining an understanding of the environment of philanthropy and grantmaking
  • Consider the different ethical and environmental issues faced by Funders
  • Gain an insight into the funder's role and working practices through observing or in other ways
  • Have the opportunity to extend the learning experiences gained through the learning sets and specialist modules
  • Negotiate the approach to the fieldwork exercise with appropriate colleagues (approval sought from the module leader)
  • 4-5 days gaining an insight into the organisation's role and working practices
  • Reflections using all the theories and models learnt on the programme
  • Preparation of reflective report containing reflections

Principles and Practices of Grantmaking

This module aims to enables the student to:
  • Develop a clear understanding of principles of funding and how these are applied in different institutions in a UK context: public and quasi-public authorities, independent charitable trusts and foundations
  • The settings and context of funding
  • The development of different types of funding institutions, with their income sources, legal structures and governance
  • The different styles and purposes of funding, and alternatives to it
  • The key elements and dilemmas of funding: innovation/replication, outputs/outcomes, the funding cycle, evaluations, risk-taking, public/donor expectations
  • The module provides the underpinning for the fieldwork exercise report
  • Foundation for the Grantmaking Management module

Management of Grantmaking

This module aims to enables the student to:
  • Facilitate and enhance understanding of the importance of the management of funding, in all its aspects, in a variety of funding organisations
  • Explore and critique alternative models and methods of funding
  • Strategic and policy choices for funders
  • Planning funding administration
  • Promotion and publicity
  • Processing
  • Assessment and decision-making
  • Fund management and monitoring
  • Evaluation and strategic planning

MSc Conversion

Upon successful completion of the diploma, you will be given the option to continue to the MSc. This requires completion of the Research Methods for Managers module.

This can be followed by a further six months of personal, supervised research and the presentation of a 15,000-word dissertation.

Alternatively, you can opt to take a taught Masters which allows you to choose specialist modules from one of the other Charities programmes.

Term Dates

Research Methods for Managers

January & February 2016

Dissertation or Taught Masters Option

completion by the end of September 2016

Our course professionals

The Course Director is Professor Paul Palmer, who is also the academic leader on the Charity Accounting and Financial Management course. The course team draws upon staff in the Centre for Charity Effectiveness like Caroline Copeman, Andrew Forrest, Ruth Lesirge and Atul Patel and the wider Business School including Professor Jenny Harrow, Peter Grant (Grantmaking academic leader) and Professor Stephen Lee (Fundraising academic leader).

The internal course team is supported by leading sector practitioners, for example Geraldine Peacock, Stuart Etherington and Stephen Bubb together with professional firms, all of whom bring their skills to each of the courses.


Students for all five courses in the Charities Masters Programme will be highly motivated graduates who bring with them a wide range of professional competence, skills and experience from a wide range of charitable and not-for-profit organisations. Gender is evenly balanced across all the courses and there are no age barriers.

Students will normally have a good first degree, a related professional qualification or at least three years, wholly relevant experience. If you have more than three years relevant experience, two professional references are acceptable.

Course fees and expenses

Course fees

The course fees for all five courses within the Charities Programme are payable at the start of the academic year. The fee for the Postgraduate Diploma is £5,850. A deposit of £400 is payable on acceptance of a place. For self-paying students, the balance is payable in two instalments, the first during the registration process in September and the second at the end of January. For those converting the Diploma to MSc a further £3,150 is payable in one instalment at the beginning of the second year.

Students on the Postgraduate Diploma who are sponsored by their employer will need to complete a sponsorship form as part of the application process. An invoice for the full fees will be sent to the employer in October. If the employer is a charity, they can request payment in two instalments by contacting the person named on the invoice. This arrangement allows the charity to spread the fees across two financial years..

For Postgraduate Certificate: £2,750. A deposit of £400 is payable on acceptance of a place and the balance is payable on registration.

Salary Sacrifice Scheme

Please note that self-funded students are able to gain substantial savings on the cost of course fees if they participate in a 'Salary Sacrifice Scheme' with their employer. Students who set up a salary sacrifice scheme with their employer will also need to submit a sponsorship form as part of their application process.

Cass Business School cannot legally provide individual advice on how to benefit from this government scheme. For more information, see below.

Find out more about the Salary Sacrifice Scheme [pdf]

Course expenses

The weekend modules will incur additional accommodation and subsistence expenses for those participants living outside London.

Application deadline

There is no application deadline for this course. However, we advise you to apply well in advance, as competition for places is high and applications are considered on a continuous basis.