Who is it for?

You may already be working in a social funding environment, or wishing to learn more about the world of philanthropy and social investment. The course is suitable for both aims, as a boost to your existing career or to facilitate a change in career direction.

Most of the examples studied on the course are from the UK, but international examples give a broader perspective, meaning your learning is transferable to any culture or jurisdiction.


As a student on this course, you will develop a clear understanding of the principles and practice of philanthropy and grantmaking. And the importance of all aspects of risk assessment, probity of applications, ethical frameworks and relationships with external communities and agencies.

You’ll examine grant-giving and other investment categories such as loans, endowments, contracts, social bonds and impact investing.

The course provides a solid background in the history and theory of philanthropy and grantmaking (with examples both from the UK and abroad). Beyond the theory, you’ll study the application of social investment practice as a business process.

For further enquiries please contact: Dr Peter Grant ,The Charities Programme Office or 020 7040 5114.


The MSc course is taught on a part-time basis over a period of two years (30 months for those who chose to start with the PgCert in April due to the structure of the timetable).

Students initially enrol on the Postgraduate Diploma with the specialist area of their choice, and confirm their intention to complete the MSc at the end of the first year.

The focus for those starting with the PgCert is on the Specialist modules which is balanced with the sector context provided by the core modules on the PgDip.

  • Deepen your understanding of the background to the grantmaking and philanthropy sector, from history to key facts.
  • Study the different models and practices of the sector. 3. Enhance your understanding of the strategic and tactical decisions that philanthropic activity demands.
  • Get to grips with the theoretical tools critical for social investment, including evaluation, impact measurement, risk and operations management.
  • Learn about a range of approaches to key issues presented by major practitioners.
  • Discover how to design and operate a programme for social investment that maximises societal impact.

Assessment methods

The Postgraduate Certificate is offered on a part time basis and is taught over a period of six months. The Certificate consists of four modules:  Learning and Understanding the Voluntary Sector, Principles and Practices of Grantmaking, Management of Grantmaking and Shadowing/Fieldwork exercise.

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

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

April 2019 Intake - PgCert

Induction/Learning and Understanding the Voluntary Sector
12 - 13 April 2019

Principles and Practices of Grantmaking
17 - 18 May 2019; 14 June 2019; Exam* 12 July 2019

Management of Grantmaking
15 June 2019; 26 - 27 July 2019

Fieldwork Exercise to be completed by early August 2018

Course Review Day
06 September 2019

* all other modules are assessed by coursework

October 2019 Intake - PGDip

03 October 2019

Learning and Understanding the Voluntary Sector
04 - 05 October 2019

Strategy, Diversity and Governance
15 - 16 November 2019; 13 - 14 December 2019

Marketing and Fundraising
10 - 112 January 2020

Resource Management
07 - 08 February 2020; 06- 07 March 2020; 03 - 04 April 2020; Exam* 08 May 2020

Principles and Practices of Grantmaking
29 - 30 May 2020; 19 June 20209 Exam* 10 July 2020

Management of Grantmaking
20 June 2020; 24 - 25 July 2020

Fieldwork exercise Process to be completed by early August 2019

Course Review Day 04 September 2020

* all other modules are assessed by coursework

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.

For students progressing from the Postgraduate Certificate Intake in 2019

Postgraduate Diploma (conversion)
October 2019 to May 2020

Masters conversion
January 2021 to August/September 2021

For students progressing from the Postgraduate Diploma Intake in 2019

Research Methods for Managers January 2021

Dissertation or Taught Masters Option completion by mid-September 2021

Teaching staff

Course Director

Course director profile

Dr Peter Grant FRHistS

Academic expert working at Cass Business School.

Dr Peter Grant is one of the UK’s leading practitioners in public and charitable funding. After working in the arts, he was Director of an inner-city youth charity for eight years. On the commencement of the National Lottery he moved to Sport England where he devised the first Lottery programme to favour areas of deprivation and was one of the architects of Awards for All. As Director of Operations at the New Opportunities Fund between 1999 and 2005, he developed and delivered over £4.5 billion of funding programmes. Peter then devised the world’s first full masters-level programme in grantmaking and philanthropy at Cass Business School. He has published widely on philanthropy, CSR, and history (notably the period of the First World War). His definitive book ‘The Business of Giving: The theory and practice of philanthropy, grantmaking and social investment’ was published in 2011. Peter has also written the definitive study of charity during the Great War, ‘Philanthropy and Voluntary Action in the First World War’ which was published in 2014. His latest book is ‘National Myth and the First World War in Popular Music’ came out in 2016.

Guest lecturers on the Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment have included: Dr Beth Breeze, Director, Centre for Philanthropy, University of Kent; David Cutler, Director, Baring Foundation;  George Gosling, Teaching fellow in Modern History, King’s College London (with particular interest in the relationship between business and charity);  Margo Horsley, Chief Executive Fixers; Gerald Oppenheim, Head of Policy, Fundraising Regulator;  Elisabeth Paulson,  Investment Director, Impetus Private Equity Foundation;  Sarah Ridley, Chief Executive, London Marathon Trust;  Michelle Russell, Director of Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement, Charity Commission; Jane Steele, Head of Impact and Evaluation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation; Paul Streets, Chief Executive, Lloyds Bank Foundation.


How to apply

The Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment postgraduate degree has two separate entry points each year.

The intake for the six months Postgraduate Certificate is in April each year.

We are accepting applications for the PgCert Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment intake for October 2019. We will open applications for the PgDip Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment for the April 2020 intake soon.

Terms and conditions

Students applying to study at Cass Business School are subject to City, University of London's terms and conditions.

Entry requirements

All students will be highly motivated graduate-level people who bring a wide range of professional competencies, skills and experience from a wide range of backgrounds.

In general we ask for a good first degree, normally an upper second-class honours degree from a British University or equivalent qualification from a leading overseas institution and three or more years relevant experience at a senior level. In exceptional cases we will accept those without a degree, provided they have significant and relevant work experience.

English language requirements

In order to participate fully in the collaborative learning process all students who have not previously studied in English must sit an IELTS exam.

The minimum required IELTS level is an average of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in writing and no less than 6.0 in any other section.

If you are not a native English speaker but have been working in the UK for the last three years it is unlikely you will need to take the test.


UK/EU/International (part-time) £9,690 - 2018/19 (for April 2019 entry) £9,810 - 2019/20 (for October 2019 and April 2020 entry) Tuition fees are subject to annual change

Fees in each subsequent year of study (where applicable) will be subject to an annual increase of 2%. We will confirm any change to the annual tuition fee to you in writing prior to you commencing each subsequent year of study (where applicable).

For  the Postgraduate Certificate: £3,060 for 2018/19 (£3,120 for 2019/20). A deposit of £400 is payable on acceptance of a place and the balance is payable on registration.

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 6,240 for 2019/20. 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 £3,570 ( 2019/20) is payable in one instalment at the beginning of the second year.

You may wish to look at both the PG Loan option for funding.

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.

Career pathways

Students are selected on their professional experience, and generally continue working in their full –time role whilst undertaking this course.

"Completing the MSc in Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment enabled me to make a step change in my career.  I had been a Director at my charity for a number of years and so had a solid foundation from which to develop but the course gave me the extra edge and helped me to secure my first CEO position in 2015. The course content is really engaging and the range of speakers is excellent, I would not hesitate to recommend the programme to others."

Caroline Taylor, CEO Essex Community Foundation

"It was a fascinating experience to have core modules shared across the different disciplines highlighting all aspects of civil society, non-profit organisation management, and the role of funding within the sector. The in-depth grantmaking, philanthropy and social investment modules provided theory and range of practices in my own field of expertise, and helped me to reflect on the way we work in our own organisation and how to become more strategic and impactful in what we do."

Bruno Spriet, Grant Manager

“ I found the PGCert course a very good opportunity to debate and research the issues, trends and practices at this time in the social sector whether driven by legislation, funding or a wish to innovate. The course gave thorough instruction across the field of social sector work, especially grant making.”

Cathy Elliot, Chief Executive, Community Foundations for Lancashire and Merseyside

“I started at CASS with the Postgraduate Certificate in Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment, and I then continued on to complete the Post-Graduate Diploma. The course was invaluable to me in terms of: practical assignments applicable to my own working environment; access to a wide range of knowledge and teaching and; most importantly, a fantastic and diverse network of colleagues with whom I am still in touch today. I believe I would not have had the confidence to advise my Company on our Strategic Review, which has been a vital part of our modernisation, had it not been for the resources and knowledge gleaned from the course. “

Ciorsdan Brown, Grants Officer, The Goldsmiths’ Company

"The course has been hugely useful to me, both for the excellent content provided, but also as an introduction to a diverse set of participants from all across the sector. As someone who had not had prior direct experience of grantmaking, the provision of a solid academic grounding combined with practical experience has been invaluable."

Chris Llewellyn, Director CriSeren Foundation

Course information and statistics

A complete toolkit
for the construction of social investment programmes.
Human brain
This course is a unique blend of theoretical and practical learning.
Graduation hat
Highly experienced teaching
including both senior academics and experienced practitioners.