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MN5821 Managing Non-Governmental Organisations

Manager: Dr Eleanor Burt

NGOs and other Third Sector organisations are highly significant actors within society, the democratic polity, and the economy. They are also distinctive organisations in certain key respects that set them apart from either public sector organisations or commercial enterprises, and which make them particularly challenging to manage. This module will examine the nature and significance of these organisations and the opportunities and challenges with which they are engaging.

Although topics may change as significant new issues arise, themes with which the module will engage are expected to include:

  • Mapping the sector: definitions, scale, scope, significance.
  • Origins of the sector.
  • What makes the sector different?
  • Strategic challenges.
  • Voluntarism.
  • Managing humanitarian disaster relief missions.

Please see below for NGO module resources.

Student Testimonials - Online Articles/Video - Recruitment-Volunteering-Internships-General Voluntary Sector Links

The University of St Andrews is not responsible for external links.
Module materials (outline, seminar preparation, overheads etc.) will be available on Moodle for enrolled students.
See the Taught Postgraduate Programmes Handbook.
The Module Guide can be found at Postgraduate Modules.

Assessment information for 2018-2019:

  1. Book review: The book to be reviewed is Powers, M. (2018) NGOs as Newsmakers: The Changing Landscape of International News, Columbia University Press: New York.
    Reviews should be circa 1500 words in length.
    Due 12 noon Friday of Week 7.
  2. Essay: Essays should be circa 2500 words in length (including bibliography).
    Due 12 noon Friday of Week 10.
  3. Seminar Reading Review: Details will be provided.
    Due 12 noon Friday of Week 11.

Required Seminar Readings will be found by searching for MN5821 on the University Library Reading List.

Testimonials: What Students Have Said About the Module

"Thank you once again for your guidance, and for the eye-opening and thought-provoking journey that was this semester's NGO module."

"I completed the NGO module MN5821 and found it to be one of the most rewarding classes I took during the year."

"I took this module as an optional one and am so glad that I did – it was one of the most enjoyable. It has opened my eyes to various issues around the world. The reading materials were very interesting and I could only find myself reading more than was required. What I liked most about the module was the way it was presented to students. You got to work on case studies where you were able to use and also improve your problem-solving and judgement skills – I didn't get a similar opportunity in other modules. Good choice! I would definitely take it again."

"I thoroughly enjoyed MN5821. The course was both engaging and dynamic, bringing students from a diverse range of cultural and academic backgrounds together to examine the 'big issues' in contemporary NGO management. Tellingly, though I entered MN5821 with considerable prior experience in studying the Third Sector, I frequently found myself looking at once-familiar concepts in an entirely new light as the course progressed. Managing Non-Governmental Organisations is simply a must for anyone interested in working in the NGO sector or considering a PhD in the field."

"The module on 'Managing NGOs' provided an extensive and critical overview on the voluntary/third sector. Due to the very engaging style of teaching, most of the students were involved in discussions, presentations and class preparation. In comparison to a very traditional style of lecture this module merges a more sustainable way of studying. The module assignments and readings challenged the initial way I was thinking about charities, NGOs and voluntary work. Whenever I watch a commercial of a charity-campaign at Christmas in the future, I will most likely think about the situation differently."

Selected online articles/videos


Student volunteering opportunities

Humanitarian Aid educational and training courses


Charity consultants

General voluntary sector links


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