Who is it for?

If your career aim is to secure or develop a leading position in an international non-governmental organisation (NGO), this course is ideally suited to your needs.

Academically rigorous and practically applied, the course is designed to help you develop a senior management career in international development, become a board member of an international NGO board, or work in a foundation funding work internationally.


You will focus on the rapidly evolving context of international development. You will explore the implication for NGOs of the trends shaping the sector. How is the role of civil society changing? What will be the impact of altering aid flows, increased funding for humanitarian and security work and shifting North-South relations? How are new digital technologies affecting the way NGOs work? What are the implications of the moves to greater collaboration and the increasing influence of the private sector in the development process?

The aim of the course is to enable you to develop your management, analytical and leadership skills so that you develop a rounded set of competencies that will enable you to flourish at the highest levels in global NGOs.

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.

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.

As a student you will:

  • Develop your understanding of the strategic issues and organisational challenges facing NGO managers
  • Build relevant management and leadership skills, and analytical capabilities.
  • Acquire insights into the different strategies and approaches commonly adopted by NGOs.
  • Deepen your appreciation of the issues of managing change in NGOs.
  • Gain access to a strong network and connections within the charity sector.
  • Build your confidence as you pursue your career in the sector.


The Charities programme courses starting in October will have a final session for the in-person registration followed by an Induction Programme on Thursday 08 October 2020.

Assessment methods

The aim of the NGO Management course is to enable students to develop key management competencies and analytical capabilities needed by those in leadership and management positions in international NGOs.

The course has been developed in partnership with leading INGOs and BOND (the UK-NGO network). It is one of the five postgraduate courses offered by Cass’s Business School’s Centre for Charity Effectiveness. This is one of the only centres of excellence in Europe offering a full range of latest research, education, training and consultancy geared to the needs of voluntary sector managers and leaders.

The course is taught on a part-time basis and is taught over a period of twelve months. The Postgraduate Diploma consists of four core modules that all students take and are common to all the Centre’s postgraduate courses.  These core modules provide the essential underpinning of management skills for the specialist courses. Upon successful completion of the diploma you can continue to the MSc Programme.

The MSc requires completion of the Research Methods for Managers module. This is followed by either:  a further six months of personal, supervised research and the presentation of a 15,000-word research-based dissertation. Or 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

October 2020 intake

08 October 2020

Learning and Understanding the Voluntary Sector
09 - 10 October 2020

Strategy, Diversity and Governance
13 - 14 November 2020; 11 - 12 December 2020

Marketing and Fundraising
15 - 16 January 2021

People Management in the Voluntary Sector
12 - 13 February 2021

Charity Accounting and Finance
12 - 13 March 2021; 09 - 10 April 2021

NGO Management: The Strategic Issues

14 - 15 May 2021; 18 June 2021

Managing NGOs: People and Practices

19 June 2021; 23 - 24 July 2021

Shadowing Process to be completed by early August 2021

Course Review Day

03 September 2021

* 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 Diploma Intake in 2020

Research Methods for Managers 21 - 21 January 2022.

Dissertation or Taught Masters Option completion by mid-September 2022.

Teaching staff

The NGO Management course is under the direction of  Dr Rick James and Professor John Hailey. The Director of the overall MSc programme is Dr Peter Grant.

Rick James has more than 25 years’ experience working with NGOs in Africa, Latin America and Europe. He has worked with INTRAC since its inception more than 20 years ago. He focuses on organisational change specialising in strategy and leadership development. He has consulted for more than 100 NGOs, faith-based organisations and official aid agencies, and has published over 50 articles and books. He has a PhD in NGO Management from City University and is a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Faculty of Management at CASS.

John Hailey has worked in over fifty different countries, and has extensive international experience as consultant with a range of International NGOs, UN agencies, donors and foundations.  His research and publications have focused on the leadership and management of international NGOs, and the strategic issues facing International NGOs and development agencies generally. He was one of the founders of the Oxford-based International NGO Training and Research Centre (INTRAC).

Visiting lecturers on the NGO Management course have included:

  • Bev Jones, formerly: International Director, CAFOD;
  • Professor David Lewis, LSE;
  • Graham MacKay, Chief Operating Officer, BOND
  • Carolyn Miller, Chair, INTRAC;
  • Sarah Mistry, Director of Effectiveness and Learning, BOND;
  • Peter Moore, ActionAid International.


How to apply

We are now accepting applications for the start of the PgDip/MSc in NGO Management for October 2020.

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 an equivalent qualification from a leading overseas institution; and three or more year’s relevant experience at a senior level.

In exceptional cases we will also accept those without a degree but with significant work experience. Provided you have more than three years relevant experience, two professional references are acceptable.

This course is aimed at those currently working in the sector, but also at people exploring a career shift into the international development sector and consultants looking to develop their expertise in the NGO sector.

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 £10,000 (2020/21) 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).

The course fees for all five courses in the Charities Programme are payable at the start of the academic year. The fee for the Postgraduate Diploma is £6,360 for 2020/21 entry. 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 £3,640 for 2020/21 entry 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 course who are sponsored by their employer will need to complete a sponsorship form as part of the application process. This can be completed for the Postgraduate Diploma or the MSc. An invoice for the full fees for the academic year will be sent to the employer in October for the Postgraduate Diploma. 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

Experience of past students is that by completing the course increases their employability in the sector, and gives them greater flexibility as to career options. Past students have come from NGOs of all sizes, as well as foundations, business and the public sector. Their feedback has been very positive:

"I'm now better equipped to serve civil society and to strengthen its effectiveness in pursuit of an open society"

- Rozanne Nazir, Centre for Charity Effectiveness 2018

“I found the MSc in NGO Management to be extremely practical and valuable. The course gave an excellent overview of the issues facing charities that are working internationally … the quality of the teaching was high and the assignments relevant and stimulating.  I highly recommend it”

- Matt Parker, Vice President, Kids Alive International, Chicago, USA

“Studying NGO Management at Cass, and especially combining it with Finance, enabled me to make the step into a leadership role. The course provides the perfect combination of academic rigour, practical knowledge, and teachers and classmates with experience from across the sector.”

- Meryl Davies, CEO, Habitat for Humanity Great Britain

“I cannot recommend more nor speak more highly of the Masters in NGO Management at Cass. The quality, pace and depth of the teaching, learning and challenge was genuinely excellent. I was promoted within a few weeks of completing the course and 100% believe this would not have happened so quickly without the added value the Masters brought to me. The Masters itself, the professors and my fellow students gave me huge confidence and knowledge. Reflecting on it 12 months later, I feel that the main thing the course has given me is access – access to critical information, best practise approaches and most importantly individuals that will continue to help shape my learning and challenge my thinking throughout my career.”

- Jennifer Coffey, Deputy Head of Partnership Development, Save the Children UK Global Programmes

“The course gave me the confidence to strengthen my role in the senior management team, which ultimately lead to my appointment as Deputy Director”

- Gillian Garcia, Deputy Director, CDD, Mexico City

“It was like ten years of NGO management experience analysed thoroughly, distilled into a single course and personalised for me.  In the course you will have a chance to survey our field broadly, to think critically about what you bring to it, and to focus on what you can do to become a better international NGO leaders and manager”
- Ted Nierras, Global Coordinator of Alliance Centres, HIV/AIDS Alliance

“I have used the models and approaches which I learned on the course in my day to day work.  The breadth of the course gave me the confidence that I know the key issues across the range of functions within NGOs”

- Alison Marshall, Senior Advocacy Adviser, International Planned Parenthood Federation

“The NGO Management course provides a fascinating insight into the key challenges and trends that are shaping international development today. The course combines academic rigour with a practical focus, and is delivered by lecturers and practitioners who are able to illustrate issues with first-hand experience and recent case studies. Sitting in class, I’d often feel I was getting a “behind the scenes” look into how NGOs operate”

- Adam Groves. Senior Programme Manager, Radar

Course information and statistics

Shadowing Exercise
enables you to develop a unique insight into the day to-day realities of a senior NGO manager in another organisation.
Human brain
One of the only MSc courses in Europe to focus on charity financial management and accounting.
Diploma/ certificate
This course is a unique blend of theoretical knowledge and practical learning applied to the international NGO Sector.
Graduation hat
Highly experienced teaching
including both senior academics and experienced practitioners.


The Charities Master's courses were accredited by the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC) in January 2019 as the only programme in Europe to be included in the first group reviewed. NACC Accreditation fosters third sector academic programmes worldwide.