University of Pretoria, South Africa








Ruvimbo Musiyarira

Acting MDP Director



The University of Pretoria’s (UP) Master of Philosophy in Development Practice (MDP@UP), is a one-year degree designed to deliver graduates with the intellectual, leadership and technical competence needed to implement Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda in Africa. The MDP@UP’s curriculum responds to six of the seven aspirations of Agenda 2063, and to thirteen of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Africa has many developmental challenges and therefore requires highly skilled development practitioners in government, business and civil society who understand the complexity of these developmental challenges and who have the leadership capacities to design and implement integrated and multidisciplinary sustainable solutions. The University of Pretoria recognises this and has developed the MDP@UP to address this requirement.

The programme uses a hybrid learning approach, introducing participants to the most relevant development theory and practice. This includes online and face-to-face learning, leadership service learning and case study write-up and analysis. The programme is truly multidisciplinary and focuses on development practice with regards to the social sciences, health sciences, management sciences and natural sciences. In addition, MDP@UP participants will be taught by world class faculty with a wealth of experience in industry and academia.

The MDP@UP consists of three units: theory, practice and leadership development and will take one year to complete. The theory unit makes use of the flipped classroom approach. Contact sessions will be clustered together in three intensive contact blocks. In preparation for each contact week participants will be expected to study online lectures and selected texts. Contact weeks will be devoted to high-impact input by experts, facilitated peer learning and theory application by means of case studies. It will be enriched with selected skills development and field exposure initiatives. The practice unit builds on the theory unit by enabling participants to apply the knowledge gained in the theory unit. As part of the practical unit of the programme, participants will be required to write up a case study detailing sustainability issues and solutions in their places of employment. The leadership unit consists of consists of two cross-cutting elements: leadership practice and leadership theory. The leadership development modules will follow an inductive approach whereby participants will be given the opportunity to reflect on the leadership capacities required to implement the respective cases in the theory unit before they will be introduced to leadership theory.

The University of Pretoria (UP) is one of Africa’s premier research-intensive universities. In addition to continuously increasing its research impact, UP also wants to increase its socio-economic impact. This is the reason why the university has decided to direct much of its research and teaching infrastructure towards the implementation of the SDGs in Africa. This can be seen by the development of its new Future Africa campus, which is one of Africa’s leading locations for interdisciplinary research to solve society’s most pressing problems.

The MDP@UP is hosted by the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership, within UP’s Department of Business Management and is Africa’s only programme that focuses on building leadership competence needed to implement the SDGs. The Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership also hosts the South African SDG Hub, Africa’s first initiative that links policy makers with SDG-relevant research and innovation. MDP@UP participants will be involved in activities co-ordinated by the SA SDG Hub, therefore broadening their understanding of sustainable development issues.