Philanthropic Studies (Distance Learning) (PCert)

University of Kent the United Kingdom

For more information about Philanthropic Studies (Distance Learning) at University of Kent, please visit the webpage using the button above.

The award

How long you will study
24 Months

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How you will study

Course starts
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International course fees
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All study options

About Philanthropic Studies (Distance Learning) at University of Kent

Location: Canterbury

Our programme meets demands for better higher educational provision for the charity workforce, as well as demands from donors for greater understanding of the meaning and purpose of philanthropy. It is delivered by academics trained in a wide range of relevant disciplines including social policy, business, history, sociology, geography, moral philosophy, anthropology, law and economics.

The programme also draws significantly on expertise from beyond the University, including teaching contributions from leading philanthropy experts, advisers, consultants, grant-makers, fundraisers and strategic philanthropists.

The team at Kent is led by Dr Beth Breeze - author of the annual ‘Million Pound Donor Report’, co-author of Richer Lives: Why Rich People Give, and frequent contributor to charity sector and media debates.

This programme will be attractive to students seeking a high-level understanding of philanthropy and/or a career in the buoyant philanthropy sector, as well as to professionals seeking an opportunity to reflect on their practice.

The programme is entirely distance learning, with an optional one-day annual conference for all current, alumni and prospective students, held at our Canterbury campus (recorded for students who cannot attend in person).

All students pay two years of fees, regardless of whether they pursue the full MA, PG Diploma or PG certificate.


2 years part-time

Knowledge and understanding

You gain a knowledge and understanding of:

  • An advanced critical understanding of the major theories of philanthropy and how these relate to practice.
  • A systematic understanding of the historical evolution of philanthropy and charity across the world and how these relate to and impact upon current debates.
  • An advanced knowledge of the range of funding streams available to charitable organisations and the impact and consequences of pursuing different types of income.
  • A comprehensive understanding of the theory and practice of key techniques used in the philanthropy sector.
  • A critical awareness of the policy environment in which philanthropy and charitable organisations operate and how this impacts upon their work.
  • A practical understanding of the rationale and methods for collaborating with a range of stakeholders, including colleagues, trustees, volunteers, donors, funders, beneficiaries and representatives of statutory funders
  • An advanced knowledge of qualitative methods for researching outcomes and applying best practice.
  • An advanced knowledge of quantitative methods for researching outcomes and applying best practice.
  • A comprehensive understanding of how to apply theoretical knowledge in order to reflect upon and develop professional practice.

Intellectual Skills

You gain the following intellectual skills:

  • To gather and interpret complex information and synthesise this to develop rigorous, reasoned and original arguments.
  • To critically analyse a range of theoretical perspectives and empirical findings, demonstrating sound judgement of what to include and exclude.
  • To identify problems and be able to use theoretical and empirical knowledge to develop original, effective and innovative responses.
  • To design and implement robust research which can contribute to professional best practice.
  • To effectively communicate complex topics to a range of stakeholders by verbal, written and electronic means.
  • To critically reflect on and manage their own learning and seek to make use of constructive feedback from peers to enhance their academic work and professional practice.

Subject-specific skills

You gain the following subject-specific skills:

  • To have an advanced understanding of the key issues in theory and empirical research on philanthropy and charitable organisations from a multidisciplinary perspective.
  • To be critically aware of the main sources of information relevant to the study and practice of philanthropy in the UK and internationally.
  • To have an advanced understanding of the ways in which useful data for philanthropy practice can be gathered and used.
  • To understand the various needs of the wide range of stakeholders in philanthropic organisations and to be able to communicate with them effectively.
  • To be able to identify and critically reflect upon the social, economic, political and organisational contexts of philanthropy sector.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferrable skills:

  • To undertake research utilising critically a diverse range of sources, including academic work, national and international data, practice best practice reports and government policies.
  • To systematically and creatively summarise detailed and complex information concisely and accurately for a diverse range of audiences.
  • The ability to exercise sound judgement in order to recognise, define and prioritise problems and work towards effective solutions.
  • To present information and arguments in a range of written forms, demonstrating an ability to adapt to different audiences and mediums.
  • To be critically reflective on personal and organisational performance and be able to utilise reflection to improve future practice. 

The programme aims to:

  • develop the intellectual and professional practice of those working in the philanthropy sector including grant-making, philanthropy support, fundraising and related roles, to develop their knowledge, equip them with skills and extend and deepen their ability to reflect on and develop their practice.
  • provide a challenging, high quality and focussed learning environment for students that establishes Kent as a leading UK centre for the study of philanthropy.
  • attract outstanding students from the UK and beyond, irrespective of race, background, gender and physical disability,
  • enable students to make links to develop their professional practice and to facilitate the sharing of best practice in the philanthropy sector.
  • give students the opportunity (when feasible) to develop and enhance their knowledge and skills of fundraising and the charitable sector within Europe and elsewhere.
  • provide a flexible learning environment than enables professionals to engage with excellent teaching.
  • offer research-led teaching that builds on the body of research undertaken by the Centre for Philanthropy.
  • enable professionals working in the philanthropy sector to develop advanced skills in reflection in relation to their professional practice.
  • facilitate the personal and professional development of those already working in the philanthropy sector and to prepare students to move into working in these roles.
  • provide structured learning opportunities that are challenging, flexible and realistic, with opportunities for students to engage with relevant and enjoyable topics in a theoretically and rigorous way.
  • provide high quality teaching in a supportive and dynamic environment, delivered by a range of research-active and appropriately qualified and trained staff.
  • develop opportunities for self-directed learning and reflection To enable professionals working in the philanthropy sector from a diverse range of educational backgrounds to access and participate in learning that seeks to capture reflection on experience gained in every day organisational practice.

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardPCertHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study24 months
    Course starts find outDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out
  • The awardPDipHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study24 months
    Course starts find outDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out

Notes about fees for this course


Entry requirements

Contact University of Kent to find course entry requirements.

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