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 (29 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
  • 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.


The Charities programme courses starting in October will have a final session for the in-person registration followed by an Induction Programme on Thursday 07 October 2021.

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 five 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 a set of specialist modules from one of the other Charities programmes.

Term dates

April 2021 Intake - PgCert

Induction/Learning and Understanding the Voluntary Sector
16 - 17 April 2021

Principles and Practices of  Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment
21 - 22 May 2021; 11 June 2021

Management of Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment
12 June 2021; 23 - 24 July 2021

Fieldwork Exercise to be completed by early August 2021

Course Review Day
03 September 2021

October 2021 Intake - PGDip

07 October 2021

Learning and Understanding the Voluntary Sector
08 - 09 October 2021

Strategy, Diversity and Governance
12 - 13 November 2021; 10 - 11 December 2021

Marketing and Fundraising
14 - 15 January 2022

People Management in the Voluntary Sector
11 - 12 February 2022

Charity Accounting and Finance
11 - 12 March 2022; 01 - 02 April 2022

Principles and Practices of Philanthropy, Grantmaking and Social Investment
20 - 21 May 2022; 10 June 2022

Management of Philanthropy, Grantmaking and Social Investment
11 June 2022; 22 - 23 July 2022

Shadowing process to be completed by mid August 2022

Course Review Day
02 September 2022

*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 2021

Postgraduate Diploma (conversion)
October 2021 to April 2022

For students progressing from the Postgraduate Diploma Intake in 2021

Masters conversion
Research Methods for Managers 20 - 22 January 2023

Dissertation or Taught Masters Option

completion by mid-September 2023

Teaching staff

Course Director

Dr Peter Grant

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 Philanthropy, Grantmaking 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 Philanthropy, Grantmaking 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 now accepting applications for the PgDip Philanthropy, Grantmaking and Social Investment October 2021 intake.

Terms and conditions

Students applying to study at The Business School (formerly Cass) 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) £10,350 (2021/22 (for October 2021 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: £3,180 for 2020/21. 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  £6,600 for 2021/22. 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 £3,750 for 2021/22 entry is payable in one instalment at the beginning of the second year.

You may wish to look at 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

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

"The MSc in Grantmaking Philanthropy and Social Investment at Cass Business School has been transformitive for me both personally and professionally."

- Fozia Irfan

"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.


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.