Postgraduate Diploma in
Leadership Development for NPOs

Acquire the leadership skills to help professionalise the social sector

  • Blended
  • Course
  • Fees
  • Structure & Content
  • Learning Philosophy
  • Admission Requirements
Course Overview
Course starts 01 February 2021
Application closes 8 January 2021 (SA) / 15 November (International)

USB’s Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership Development for NPOs will equip you with the leadership skills to help professionalise the social sector. The programme serves as a learning journey for those who want to lead non-profit organisations (NPO) towards fulfilling their social purpose. This PGDip taps into USB’s well-known legacy of transformative leadership learning where you will learn how to lead self, others and your organisation in ways that are ethical, responsible and sustainable. The programme pays special attention to the unique demands of leading in the face of complex social and environmental issues guided by a clear strategy, maintaining integrity and quality, and practicing accountability to all stakeholders.

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Format: Blended learning

Application deadlines

  • South African applicants: 8 January 2021
  • RPL applicants: 15 November
  • Applicants from (visa-exempt) SADC countries: 15 November
  • Applicants from the rest of the world: 15 November
Year 1
5 Blocks
Block 1 (on campus block)
1 – 6 February 2021
Block 2 (Blended classes from 08:00-13:00 and 14:30-16:00)
12 – 16 April 2021
Block 3 (Blended classes from 08:00-13:00 and 14:30-16:00)
21 - 25 June 2021
Block 4 (Blended classes from 08:00-13:00 and 14:30-16:00)
30 August – 3 September 2021
Block 5 (on campus block)
18 – 23 October 2021

Time to learn?

Take advantage of USB’s fee relief for the PGDip in Leadership Development for NPOs, and get access to the skills needed to rebuild the economy.

Programme tuition fees for 2021 Total Provisional Quotes
Students from South Africa R89 900 Download
Students from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries R94 400 Download
Students from the rest of Africa (non-SADC) R99 430 Download
Students from the rest of the world R127 930 Download
Deposit payable on acceptance of admission for 2021
Students from South Africa R13 060
Students from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries R47 200
Students from the rest of Africa (non-SADC) R49 715
Students from the rest of the world R63 965
Application fee for 2021
Application fee R 850
  • Application fee: The application fee must accompany the application. The application fee is not refundable.
  • Travelling, accommodation and meals are for students’ own accounts.
  • USB reserves the right to change the fees at any time.



This programme acknowledges responsible leadership as the prime differentiator that drives sustainable high performance. It focuses on the development of personal leadership, team leadership, organisational leadership and societal leadership (me, we, work, world) to strengthen your capability to grow as leader.

This PGDip is offered as two streams:

  • The PGDip in Leadership Development with generalist modules is aimed at those who want to lead in any industry sector.
  • The PGDip in Leadership Development with stream-specific NPO modules is aimed at those who want to lead in the social sector.

Students select their stream right from the start. All PGDip Leadership Development students (generalist and NPO) follow Modules 1, 2, 3 and 7 together. For Modules 4, 5 and 6, the generalist students follow generalist modules while the NPO students follow NPO-focused modules.

This one-year programme (both the generalist and NPO streams) is presented in blended learning format. It combines on-campus classes with blended learning sessions, allowing you to study while you work.

The on-campus block at the start of the programme enables you to physically meet your lecturers and fellow classmates first, allowing for a more immersive experience of the entire year. The on-campus block at the end of programme helps to ensure an integrative experience.

The blended learning sessions allow you to join the class via any internet-linked smart phone, laptop or device. USB’s high-tech class rooms allow the lecturers to see, in real time, the faces of all the online students portrayed onto a screen or class room wall. This virtual environment enables you to actively participate in classroom discussions – whether you are logging in from an airport in Europe, a boardroom in Africa or your office at home. See how blended learning works at USB.

This programme is presented at NQF level 8, the equivalent of an Honours degree. This means it can give you access to an MBA or MPhil in Management Coaching.

Core modules

  • Personal Authentic Leadership
  • High-Impact Leadership and Teaming
  • Leading High-performance Organisational Culture
  • Leading Strategy in NPOs
  • Quality and Integrity in NPOs
  • Management Control in NPOs
  • Integrated Personal Leadership Development


You need to choose one of the following electives:

  • Negotiation and Conflict Management
  • Advanced Technology Leadership
  • Leadership and Coaching

This PGDip’s content is rooted in academic research and internationally benchmarked theory and practices. The main objective is to encourage you to combine academic rigour and experiential learning, and to apply it within the larger framework of action and work-based learning. The learning philosophy of this programme is based on the following:

  • Offering a thriving learning environment – one that is creative, innovative, experimental, relational, peer-based and energising
  • Facilitating transformative and whole person learning – with activities that enhance knowledge, develop skills and nurture personal development
  • Learning about the self through reflection, learning from experts and participants by sharing knowledge and experience, and learning from real-life situations
  • Using the student’s organisation or NPO context as a living case to work with.

This NPO programme is relevant for Africa and beyond. It pays special attention to the unique demands of leading in the face of complex social and environmental issues guided by a clear strategy, maintaining integrity and quality, and practising accountability to all stakeholders.

  • A relevant Bachelor’s degree, Higher National Diploma or Recognition of Prior Learning
  • Proven relevant working experience of five to seven years

NOTE: International students require a SAQA evaluation to evaluate your degree according to South African standards.  USB’s International Affairs Office will handle your credential evaluation free of charge.  Please complete an online application, upload all certificates to your application. The international office will conduct an in-house credential evaluation, after we received your submission and application fee, as part of the process.

Recognition of prior learning

USB provides wider access to its programmes through its Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process. In line with the requirements of the Council for Higher Education (CHE), USB may admit up to 10% of its student body under RPL. Candidates admitted under the RPL policy will firstly have to submit all the documentation and tests as required for all prospective students. In addition, prospective RPL students have to adhere to the following:

  • Have at least an NQF 6 qualification (all school and academic certificates are required).
  • Have at least SIX years of working experience after obtaining the above-mentioned qualification, of which at least THREE years should have been in a management or related professional position.
  • Submit a comprehensive CV, indicating detailed areas of responsibility as well as information on activities outside the work environment.
  • Provide USB with at least two references (typically current or former line heads) who can testify about the candidate’s managerial or related professional abilities (on forms provided by USB).

The RPL selection process entails the following:

  • USB’s Admissions Committee (programme head and another academic) will conduct an in-depth interview with the candidate.
  • If the Committee is of the opinion that the candidate has the ability to cope with the demands of the programme, he/she may be admitted.
  • A recommendation of admission is sent via USB’s Academic Planning Committee to the Board of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences for notification.
  • Important: RPL candidates need to apply by 15 November each year to allow sufficient time for the assessment process.
Professor Arnold Smit

Prof Arnold Smit’s teaching and research focus on the contextualisation and integration of ethics, responsibility and sustainability in management education and organisational practice. His fields of expertise include responsible leadership, corporate sustainability, multi-stakeholder process facilitation and spirituality. He holds an Honours in Philosophy and Doctoral degree in Theology from Stellenbosch University. He is a member of the Board of the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI), the PRME Advisory Committee, and USB-ED’s International Advisory Board.

Download our Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership Development for NPOs brochure

  • Who should enrol?
  • What will you gain?
  • NPO leaders and managers who want to improve their personal leadership competencies
  • Career changers who are in the process of leaving the corporate or government sphere in exchange for a leadership role in the social sector
  • Members of NPO boards who want to improve their understanding of NPOs and their role in society, and who want to ensure that they are sufficiently capacitated and well governed
  • People working at foundations and who have oversight responsibilities over funded NPOs
  • Corporate social investment managers in companies or corporate foundations with a responsibility to work with NPOs
  • People with an interest in establishing a social sector organisation.
  • More resilience, resourcefulness and confidence as a leader
  • The know-how to build organisational capacity
  • The know-how to create public value and social impact so that your organisation can take its rightful place in society
  • An understanding of stakeholder leadership to help ensure social return on investment
  • The ability to leverage network knowledge and peer learning skills


Yes, it is. You may know how to manage well. But to lead, calls for a journey of personal development. That is one of the reasons why this postgraduate degree starts with leadership of the self (me). You cannot lead others (we) if you cannot lead yourself (me). You cannot lead society (world) if you do not know how to get smaller groups or teams to work together (work). It is a daily choice to show up as a leader. This requires a level of consciousness, courage, discipline and strong values. As one PGDip Leadership alumnus said, “Taking this one year to really get to know your own leadership strengths, and where they come from, will bring a sense of clarity and groundedness that nobody will be able to take away from you.”

This one-year programme combines on-campus classes with blended learning classes, allowing you to study while you work. This also enables you apply your newly acquired skills in your workplace right from the start. It is better to work consistently and to manage your time well. To keep up and really enrich your experience of the PGDL you should be doing between 10 and 12 hours of work a week. The blended learning sessions will also set some time free as it allows you to join the class via any internet-linked smart phone, laptop or device. This means no travelling to USB, and minimum time away from work. Like with all worthwhile things in life, what you put in is what you will get out. Also see

You will qualify to apply for an MBA. However, you still need to meet the additional entrance requirements in order to be accepted for an MBA. You will also qualify to apply for the MPhil in Management Coaching.

Please contact Ester at [email protected] in this regard.

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