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 14 February 2022
Application closes 15 December (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

ABOUT BLENDED LEARNING: The blended learning format enables you to attend class on campus or remotely via an internet-linked laptop. This means you will be able to immerse yourself in a premium learning experience from wherever you are in the world. We have been investing in this technology since 2015 and our lecturers are trained in the art of virtual facilitation and teaching. See how blended learning works at USB.

These are the dates for 2022.

Application deadlines

  • South African applicants: 15 December
  • RPL applicants: 31 October
  • 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)
14 – 19 February
Block 2 (Remote classes from 08:00-18:15 daily)
04 – 09 April
Block 3 (Remote classes from 08:00-18:15 daily)
06 - 11 June
Block 4 (Remote classes from 08:00-18:15 daily)
15 - 20 August – 3 September 2021
Block 5 (On campus)
24 – 29 October

The fees below are the tuition fees for 2021 (with fee relief incorporated). Programme fees for 2022 will be published once this information becomes available.

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 2022
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 one-year programme is presented in blended learning format. It combines on-campus classes with blended learning sessions, allowing you to study while you work. This also enables you to start applying your newly acquired skills in your workplace right from the start while receiving comprehensive support throughout your studies.

The on-campus block at the start of the programme enables you to meet your lecturers and fellow classmates, 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 on-campus blocks will be presented online depending on Covid restrictions.)

The blended learning sessions allow you to join the class via any internet-linked laptop. This format means minimum time away from work. It also lowers the opportunity cost to do this programme at USB as it reduces travel costs. See how blended learning works at USB.


1 on-campus or online block in Feb  

⇒ Various online sessions (blended learning format) ⇒

1 on-campus or online block in Nov


Core modules

  • Module 1: Personal Authentic Leadership
  • Module 2: High-impact Leadership and Teaming
  • Module 3: Leading High-performance Organisational Culture
  • Module 4: Leading Strategy in NPOs
  • Module 5: Quality and Integrity in NPOs
  • Module 6: Management Control in NPOs
  • Module 7: Integrated Personal Leadership Development


You need to choose one of the following electives:

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

This programme is designed as a learning journey for those who want to improve their understanding of what it takes to lead non-profit organisations (NPOs) towards fulfilling their social purpose. The programme taps into USB’s legacy of transformative leadership learning where you will learn how to lead yourself, others and your organisation in an ethical, responsible and sustainable way.

An investment in this programme as an individual, organisation or donor to an NPO is an investment in the development of resilient, resourceful and confident leadership at personal, organisational and societal levels. It is an investment in social impact as NPOs have become our channels for services and support to the causes that we are passionate about. In NPOs we find people from all walks of life working together to take care of the most marginalised in society, to preserve endangered plants, animals and ecosystems, and to fight against corruption, human rights abuses and climate change impact.

Leading in this context is both a noble and challenging act, and for most, a steep learning curve. Indeed, NPOs also need to manage human resources and finances, satisfy legal, compliance and auditing requirements, and report to stakeholders.

If leadership in an NPO context resonates with you then consider this PGDip. The content of this programme is rooted in academic research and internationally benchmarked theory and practices. 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.

What you need to apply

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


  • International students require a South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) evaluation certificate to evaluate their degrees according to South African standards. USB’s International Affairs Office will handle the credential evaluations of international students free of charge. You therefore need to complete the online application, and upload all certificates to your application. The International Office will, as part of the application process, conduct an in-house credential evaluation after you have submitted your application.
  • All degrees undergo a formal vetting process to eliminate fraudulent applications.

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 on Higher Education (CHE), USB may admit up to 10% of its student body under RPL. Candidates who wish to be admitted under the RPL policy will firstly have to submit all the documentation and tests as required for all prospective students. In addition, prospective students under the RPL policy 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. The candidate will also be requested to write an essay motivating why they want to enrol and how this programme will contribute to their leadership journey.
  • 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. These references will be required to give a detailed personal reference about the candidate on forms provided by USB.
  • Complete a pre-interview screening.


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 31 October each year to allow sufficient time for the assessment process.
Dr Armand Bam

As head of Social Impact at USB, Dr Armand Bam understands the role of business in society and the need for leadership skills to help professionalise social-sector organisations. Dr Bam is also a lecturer in Business in Society on USB’s MBA, and in Quality and Integrity in Leadership on the PGDip in Leadership Development for NPOs. His research interests include responsible leadership, and transformative learning through social engagement.

Programme Ambassadors

These programme ambassadors are current students and alumni who support prospective students in their new stage of life and share their personal experiences about studying at USB.

  • 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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