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Fully online: Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management (PDPM)

Be a part of the solution and change the way the government works from the inside. The 18-month Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management (PDPM) at the Wits School of Governance will prepare you for professional and managerial leadership roles in the public, development, and not-for-profit sectors.


This course will also provide you with the knowledge and skills to act ethically and effectively. Enhance your decision-making capacity, learn about conceptual frameworks for public management, and engage critically with the governance debates taking place today.

The PDPM is a post-experience diploma that provides you with key competencies in public management: governance, development, public management, public policy, ethics, and leadership. It focuses on enhancing your problem-solving, information management, and people management expertise that is vital for public sector managers and practitioners who work closely with the public, development, and not-for-profit sectors.

Feedback during this programme is constant and aligns with the exit level outcomes, and incorporates group assessments and peer feedback. Upon completion of this programme, you may qualify for entry to a Wits Master’s degree that demands a public sector qualification as an entry requirement. Entry into the School's Masters programme requires a 65% average.


Each module will run over a period of seven weeks.

Module 1 – Governance, Leadership and Public Value              

This module deals with contemporary conceptions of state and society. It seeks to provide students with a thorough understanding of government functioning and administration, government relations with the private sector and civil society, and government interaction within local, national and regional contexts. It examines the public sector and the complex challenges surrounding public administration, as well as the impact of different models of governance and leadership on the distribution of economic and other resources and the creation of public value.

Module 2 – Public Policy              

This module interrogates conceptual and theoretical frameworks of public policy, examines models of public policy making; offers a framework of public policy analysis and explores policy contexts in South Africa, Africa and globally. The module provides students with an understanding of the special challenges facing policy development and implementation and how to overcome them. This includes technical and skills requirements for evaluating policy, managing vested interests, consultation and public relations, monitoring and evaluation, and the management of inter-departmental coordination and relations.

Module 3 – Development              

This module reviews different conceptions of and current debates about development, including the role of states and markets in development. It deals with the roles of local communities, global actors, and the private and NGO sectors, as well as the impacts of marketisation and economic deregulation. It also highlights challenges to managing development in emerging economies such as South Africa, including social and economic exclusion, inequality, and skewed gender relations.

Module 4 – Public finance and performance-based budgeting              

This module introduces students to key concepts in public finance and public sector economics and then analyses public finance issues in the South African context. Key topics include the role of the state in the economy; public expenditure and its impact on economic growth; taxation; fiscal policy; key areas of social policy, including education, health, and social security; and intergovernmental fiscal relations.

Module 5 and Module 6 – Strategic Public Management A and B              

This module deals with managerial systems, strategies and cultures; organisational management; human resources management; performance monitoring; and organisational development and change. It focuses on how bureaucracies should be managed to ensure effective policy implementation and examines the research and analysis needed for making effective decisions in organisational settings. The module also covers the development and validation of operational plans for effective and efficient service delivery.

Module 7 – Analytical Methods              

This module covers the analysis and interpretation of quantitative data relevant to public policy research and practice. Students make decisions and communicate findings based on statistical approaches that enable the interpretation of data.

Module 8 – Evaluation              

This module covers the various forms and approaches to evaluation. Looking at the application of evaluation in a range of public and development management contexts and includes detailed debates around evaluation theory and practice. Issues in evaluation regarding sub-Saharan Africa are explored.

Entry Requirements
  • Applicants require a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent and preferably two years of relevant work experience in the public, parastatal or non-profit sectors. Students with relevant private sector experience will also be considered.
  • The pass mark for these programmes is 50%. Students who achieve an average mark of 65% or more may proceed to the Master’s programme.
Application Process

Please fill out your information here:


Fees are payable in advance of the start date for each individual module and must be received before the payment deadline for students to register successfully. No upfront deposit is required for the programme.

Payment can be made via EFT through our self-service portal. Please ensure you capture your student number accurately in the reference field to limit delays in registration. Do not include unnecessary alphanumeric characters or punctuation in the reference. Certain banks may take up to three days for funds to reflect in your student account. If the payment does not reflect by the fourth working day, please contact your Enrolment Specialist to follow up.

For full breakdown of fees visit:

More information on payment:  

*If you need financial assistance for this programme, please request information on financing options from your Enrolment Specialist.

Disclaimer: Cancellation of programmes by WSG

WSG is entitled to cancel or change the date of delivery of a programme without notice and for any reason without incurring any liability to individuals who have applied or are enrolled on the programme or any funders of such individuals (“participants” or “funders of participants”).

Without derogating from the aforesaid, and insofar as it possible, WSG will provide the participants or funders of the participants with 30 (thirty days) days written notice of any cancellation or changes in the dates of delivery of the programme.

Insofar as the programme is cancelled or rescheduled prior to delivery of the programme then in that event the participants and funders of the participants will not be charged the full programme fees.