The postgraduate program in CSR & NGO Management is about sustainable leadership in NGOs and private companies. Students will learn how to drive sustainability within their working environment.

Combining academic knowledge and practical expertise, scientific approaches, and general management techniques with a special focus on strategic and functional operations, the MBA program enables graduates to blend conventional management strategies with aspects specific to NGOs and CSR.

The program is built around its participants’ diverse international and professional backgrounds. The cooperative learning process thrives off interdisciplinary, intercultural exchange as well as diverse theoretical and practical approaches.

Link to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development

The degree program specifically refers to the “Agenda 2030 for sustainable development” and its 17 derived sustainable development goals (SDGs) and so reflects the defined core characteristics of universal validity, a comprehensive understanding of sustainability as well as the principle of global partnerships. Development issues are covered in many aspects by the curriculum in the degree program. 

The following structure provides an outline of the curriculum’s modules:

Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg

(mid of September until the beginning of February)

1. Preparatory Courses

2. Basics of CSR & NGO Management

3. General Management
     GM 1: Information and Communication
     GM 2: Leadership &  Human Resource Management
     GM 3: Statistics and Accounting
     GM 4: Investment and Finance

(beginning of April until mid of July)

3. General Management
     GM 5: Logistics and Quality Management

4. CSR & NGO Management

5. External Environment
     EE 1: Politics and Ethics
     EE 2: Economics (part 1: International Econ.)

6. Group and Individual Coaching

(beginning September until the beginning of February)

5. External Environment
     EE 2: Economics (part 2: Sustainability Econ.)

6. Electives

7. Master Thesis



As a preparatory course, the Academic Writing class provides the students with an overview of academic writing styles and refreshes knowledge about structure, referencing and academic tone. The course also treats common mistakes in academic writing and solutions on how to avoid them.



The Basics Module is divided into two submodules (Basics 1 and Basics 2):

Basics 1: Concepts, Functions, and Actors in CSR & NGO Management
Our students have various backgrounds, so this seminar builds a foundation for the rest of the study program. Clarifications of terminology and various concepts of the international sphere, as well as an overview of different actors and stakeholders in CSR & NGO management, will be provided. Economic principles and challenges in international cooperation will also be discussed. The course also treats differences between commercial enterprises and NPOs and NGOs respectively.
- Clarifications of terminology
- Presentation of concepts, actors and stakeholders in CSR & NGO management
- Difference between profit-oriented and non-profit approaches

Basics 2: Introduction to Business and Project Management

Basics 2.1: Introduction to Business Management
Objectives: Students learn managerial behavior based on different corporate policy approaches (e.g. Shareholder-Value and Stakeholder Management). They learn how to use strategic planning techniques and management strategies on an operational level in various organizations. They also look into the basic organizational pre-conditions.
- Corporate policy concepts and the impact of national/global trends
- Instruments of corporate policy (e.g. corporate guidelines…)
- Concepts of strategic planning (e.g. portfolios, SWOT…)
- Concepts of corporate controlling (e.g. MIS, budgeting…)
- Corporate organization
- Organizational pre-conditions (business location, legal forms…).

Basics 2.2: Project Management
This course teaches the main objectives and methods in project management as an organizational concept and a management technique. It focusses on intercultural groups and inter-functional inside/outside perspectives.
- Environmental scenario and corporate strategies
- Basics of innovation management theories
- Corporate/project organization
- Project planning and project controlling
- Problem-solving techniques in PM
- Project and team leadership
- Project management skills
- Specifics of intercultural projects and NGO working areas

Basics 2.3: Corporate Governance
It is increasingly accepted that both parties benefit when NGOs and companies cooperate. Consequently, a considerable number of strategic alliances have been established. Because there is no specific NGO governance framework for reference, the students will experience the complexity of problems in various NGO fields. Organizational issues and monitoring responsibilities have to be discussed as well. The results, therefore, present a diverse perspective on the relationship between NGOs, companies, organizations, and corporate social responsibility. NGO experts will talk about their various fields.

- The complexity of international regulatory frameworks, such as law of nations, and national specifics in NPO and NGO law
- Definitions of corporate governance
- Systems and structures of corporate governance
- History and regulation of corporate governance
- Theories of corporate governance and motivation
- Motivation and remuneration
- CSR operating model vs. the organizational model
- Legal forms of NGOs / NPOs
- Purpose and type of entity
- Constitution and good governance
- Introduction of CSR as a management system in profit and non-profit organizations
- CSR for NGOs
- The role of stakeholders
- Sustainability reports: analysis and reporting tools for CSR
- Case studies to illustrate CSR within an organization



General Management is divided into five modules (GM 1-5):


After these courses, the students will be able to describe and develop marketing strategies and concepts, such as fundraising and campaigning activities for NGOs and Corporate Social Responsibility Concepts. The GM 1 Module has two submodules:
"Marketing" and "Fundraising, Lobbying & Campaigning".

GM 1.1: Marketing
Objectives: Analyse multi-dimensional environments and describe how organizations develop mission statements and objectives. Principles of socially responsible marketing and the role of ethics.

- Marketing in a changing world: satisfying human needs, social responsibility, and marketing ethics
- The strategic marketing planning process
- Scanning the Marketing Environment (market development, market structure, buyer behavior)
- Market dynamics and competitive strategy
- Core marketing strategies, e.g. market segmentation and target markets, positioning and differentiation, developing new and global market offerings, building successful brands
- Strategic marketing mix with product development, product lifecycle strategies, pricing/conditions, communication and promotion, and placement (distribution) strategies
- Specific marketing strategies for NGOs.

GM 1.2: Fundraising, Lobbying & Campaigning
 The course introduces theories of marketing in businesses and non-profit organizations, the role and functions, concepts and instruments of successful fundraising, lobbying and campaigning. The course has a domestic and an intercultural focus.
- Marketing in the non-profit sector
- Strategies, concepts, and instruments in Fundraising, Lobbying, and Campaigning
- Intercultural specifics in communication and cooperation
- Performance measurement and controlling of fundraising activities (such as lobbying, campaigning)


These two courses are designed to provide an understanding of ethical behavior for employees and managers.

GM 2.1: Individual and Group Behaviour
Objectives: Study the impact that individuals, groups, and structures have on behavior within organizations. Understand the principles of individual and group behavior applied to the workplace. Understand the principal historical and contemporary approaches to the study of individual and group behavior. Apply theory to practical workplace situations, with a special focus on the NGO sector. Understand the critical role of group dynamics between regular and volunteer staff and in intercultural teams.
- Individual processes and personality dynamics
- Values, attitudes, and emotions
- Content theory and process motivation theory
- Teamwork and decision-making
- Social processes and group dynamics
- Organizational processes, structures, and types
- Organizational and international culture
- Change management approach
- CSR and organizational development, teamwork and HRM

GM 2.2: Human Resources and Leadership
 To study the fundamental concept of attracting, developing, and maintaining an effective workforce. The students should learn the basics of HRM approaches (Harvard vs. Michigan approach) and leadership. They should understand common instruments and concepts, especially in intercultural settings. Students will learn how to adapt HRM and leadership in strategic management to environmental change (e.g. demography or human attitudes) and to the specifics of NGO settings (e.g. working with volunteers or in intercultural development projects).


- Functions in human resource management (planning, recruitment, development, controlling…)
- The organization of human resource management
- Corporate strategy and personnel management
- HRM approach
- Leadership theories
- Leadership situations and styles
- Intercultural specifics in HRM & leadership
- NGO specifics in HRM & leadership


GM 3.1: Applied Statistics
Learning and understanding the fundamentals of statistics, the theories of probability and the exploration of data. Furthermore, practical statistical analysis to establish structures and trends in data for operational and strategic decision-making for non-profit and profit management.

- Introduction to official statistics (Statistisches Bundesamt, Eurostat, OECD…)
- Introduction to descriptive business statistics (university, vicariate, regression analysis)
- Presentation approaches
- Fundamentals of financial and managerial accounting (planning corporate success and liquidity)
- Systems of corporate budgeting with specifics of non-profit organizations

GM 3.2: Management Accounting
Learning and understanding the fundamentals of financial and management accounting and the basics of business planning, with a focus on operational and strategic decision making for non-profit management. Show the strategic significance of management accounting for corporate decision-making from a shareholder value/stakeholder perspective.
- Balance sheet
- Financial reports
- Cost relevance analysis
- Flexible budgeting
- Operating budgets and financial strategy
- Financial project planning


The courses teach about investing in social settings, including the legal, cultural, social, political, and economic background of such investments. This module will focus on relevant interdisciplinary and professional skills. Besides, the class helps students build personal networks with NGOs. Site visits, guest speakers, and the lecturer’s own NGO network complement the course.

GM 4.1: Investment and Finance
Every investment needs a measure of risks and returns. This means being aware of potential sources of risk, such as financing (liquidity, credit, etc.), operations, and the business area. Being able to analyze risks is fundamental to operate on any stage, especially in a non-profit. This class will provide a thorough understanding of finance, investment, and business value creation.
- Definitions
- Basics of financial mathematics
- Capital budgeting techniques
- Forms and methods of corporate finance
- Introduction to social investing, defining social investments, and showing the importance of social investments
- Fundamentals of social investments
- Developing a business case for social investments
- Determining the financial potential of a social investment project
- Evaluation of investment choices and funding of social investment projects
- Monitoring the success of social investments

GM 4.2: Social Investment
Social investment is about supporting projects and ventures that support environmental or social goals or target social problems. It means aligning investment policies with social responsibility and is also called ethical investing or socially responsible investing. Key policy areas include education, healthcare, climate protection, environmental issues, renewable energy programs, or water management systems, social equality programs and workshops, and rehabilitation. Many NGOs and NPOs deal with social investments. This includes setting up feasible business plans, raising funds, and recruiting the right people.
The students will learn about projects for social and environmental development in different cultural settings. They will assess current trends and activities in national and international NGOs. Also, they will learn the fundamentals of writing a business plan.
- Introduction to social investing, defining social investment, the importance of social investment
- Fundamentals of social investment
- Developing a business case for social investments
- Determining the financial potential of a social investment project
- Evaluation of investment choices and funding a social investment project
- Monitoring the success of social investments

GM 4.3: Business Simulation
Qualitative and quantitative description of processes to analyze, plan, test and improve them. Assisted by process modeling software, students will learn how to make various processes in their fields more transparent.
- Modeling of NGO processes
- Process measurement
- Process improvement
- Process simulation


Both courses of the module Logistics and Quality Management belong to the field of “Management Strategies and Functions”. They are designed to acquaint students with strategies and instruments for disaster- and quality management, as well as logistics operations with emphasis on NGOs.

GM 5.1: Logistics
Students learn about the potential for disasters, the concepts of risk and consequence management and related challenges, the roles, and responsibilities in the network of governmental, international, non-governmental, and other scientific/commercial organizations, as well as social responsibility in disaster management. Students should understand the role of logistics as the main performance driver in disaster response operations and the integrated management required to move products through the supply chain for humanitarian aid.
- Natural and man-made hazards: risk, vulnerability, exposure
- Disasters, consequences, and responses
- Disaster/risk/consequence management
- Roles and responsibilities (national, UN, EU, NGOs); cooperation and coordination incl. civilian-military relations
- Social responsibility and quality management in disaster management: code of conduct, Humanitarian Charter on Minimum Standards, etc.
- Operational view on logistics: logistics functions
- Strategic view on logistics: logistics networks, supply chain management, global logistics
- Logistics planning, outsourcing (3PL, 4PL), logistics controlling
- Green logistics as a contribution to sustainable development
- Humanitarian logistics: tasks, basic principles, circumstances and challenges, performance attributes

GM 5.2: TQM and Business Excellence
Students understand the concept of quality and managerial commitment to maintaining a continuing, organization-wide drive towards excellence in all products and services. Students understand quality management principles and techniques, the variety of quality management concepts and models, and learn how to introduce a quality management system into an organization.
- Concept of quality: products, services, projects, organizations
- Concept of quality management: quality planning, quality control, quality assurance, quality improvement
- Total quality management principles: top management leadership, employee empowerment, customer-driven quality, continuous improvement
- TQM models: Kaizen, Malcolm-Baldrige Model, ISO
- Business excellence concept and models: EFQM, CAF
- Quality management challenges: change management, costs
- Sustainability as a quality factor



The CSR & NGO Management module comprises these four subjects:

4.1 Management of Complex Projects
This course offers advanced techniques for managing complex projects. Traditional project management approaches assume that project contexts do not change and that key factors, though complicated, can be distilled. However, these techniques do not work in projects which may be described as complex. Complexity may result from various sources (range of variables, strong interdependencies between variables, long duration, multiple stakeholders, dispersed stakeholders, diverse cultural or institutional environments). Consequently, complex projects bear high uncertainty about a project’s objectives and/or its implementation.
- Understanding complexity in projects
- Determining project complexity
- Limits of conventional project management
- Project cycles of complex projects
- Complexity and project design
- Complexity and project implementation
- Complexity and leadership

4.2 NGO Business Strategy and Organization
 Showing the importance of corporate and organizational strategy concepts in NGOs, students will learn to apply strategic planning (i.e. strategy, governance vs. management vs. operational level, shareholder vs. stakeholder, vision vs. mission) to NGOs. They understand the importance of strategic planning, monitoring, and evaluation. They get an overview of the variety of NGOs and how an NGO is organized – taking into account recent trends in the NGO world and using many real-life examples.  
- Basic concepts and definitions for strategies of corporate policy management in NGOs
- Business/legal environment of NGOs
- Corporate strategic planning and monitoring in corporations (organizational development)
- Staffing/leadership in NGOs
- Public relations
- External NGO perspective: identification of relevant fields, structural analysis, implications for strategy development
- Internal NGO perspective: organizational analysis, internal resource evaluation, process analysis, budgeting and outcome, implications for strategy development
- NGO strategy formulation: competition or cooperation strategy approaches, differentiation strategy, niche strategies for NGOs
- Strategy and controlling: assessing strategies, with instruments like use-of-potential analysis, future scenarios, early diagnostic systems for NGOs
- NGO organization: OD concepts in NGOs, NGO M&A

4.3 Corporate Social Responsibility
Students should be able to apply the CSR approach both to small and medium-sized (even family-owned) companies and multinationals. They can distinguish the role of CSR in the developing world and industrialized countries. They can adapt a CSR strategy to a specific company with its history, market, and sustainability approach.
- A brief history of CSR and the relevant values
- The growing national and international importance of CSR
- ISO 26000 as a guideline
-  Communal activities as a supporting function for public goods
- Importance of the International Labour Organisation (ILO)
- Practical experience with the implementation and evaluation of CSR
- NGOs as critical observers and watchdogs over CSR
- Trust, criticism and anti-corruption measures as central elements of CSR
- CSR as a driver for financial sustainability

4.4 Business Plan Development
In previous classes, the students learned about risks and returns, financials, investment, and the creation of business value. This class will provide a chance to put it all into practice. Students will create their business plan for a social business. The combination of investment policies and social responsibility is key to this group exercise. Students will assess current trends and activities in a national and international NGO context and learn the fundamentals of building a business.
Content: Developing and writing a business plan



The External Environment module is divided into two submodules (“Politics and Ethics” and “Economics”). These again comprise two separate subjects:


These courses discuss basic ethics inside and outside of organizations. They treat current religious, cultural, and political influences on global trends and working fields.

EE 1.1: International Politics
This seminar gives an introduction to international politics and areas such as peace and war, human security, global governance, international regimes, sustainable human development, foreign assistance, climate change, democracy, and human rights. Case studies will focus on specific countries (e.g. Germany) and supranational bodies (e.g. the EU) by explaining international relations and related theories. Students work out processes and structures of international cooperation and political integration worldwide as well as advocacy networking approaches. Using theories of development, conflicts, and international relations, they think about positive and negative factors for development, peace research approaches, humanitarian interventions, the role of the United Nations, and the interactions between states in the age of globalization.

- Introduction to international politics and global challenges
- Theories of international relations
- Structures of international cooperation and networks
- Global governance and power shifts in world politics
- Regionalism and processes of political integration/groupings (e.g. EU, SADC, MERCOSUR, ASEAN… G7/8, G20)
- Germany’s foreign policy, including development cooperation
- Theories of conflicts and peace research approaches
- Human rights and democracy as universal values
- Humanitarian interventions – responsibility to protect
- United Nations – history and development
- International politics: NGOs and the private sector

EE 1.2: Global & Business Ethics
Learning about the foundations of ethical thought. Discussing a variety of perspectives on ethical dilemmas in both the personal and professional context. Critically evaluating different perspectives in business ethics from a personal ethical theory base. Critically analyzing different business situations between management, law, economics, and public policy from a multidisciplinary and philosophical perspective.

- Values and ethics, the nature and goals of business ethics and the law
- Stakeholder theory and ethical perspectives
- Ethical theory and business (e.g. ethical relativism and reasoning in ethics, psychological egoism, utilitarian ethics, deontological ethics, virtue ethics)
- CSR and ethics
- Employer & employee ethics (e.g. moral law and rights in the workplace, diversity approach, equal opportunity, and affirmative action)
- Marketing & sales ethics
-  Environmental responsibility in business (e.g. sustainability, CSR)
- International business and globalization (e.g. ethical relativism, cross-cultural values and international rights, global compact)


Both courses teach the basics of international economics and sustainability economics with their global impact and interconnections and with their economic, social, and environmental consequences.

EE 2.1: International Economics
Students will learn about international economic relations and use theoretical approaches to analyze the complexity of the global environment and forms of regional integration. They will get to know data, statistics, and economic policies, work out specifics of the developed, emerging, and developing countries, as well as reasons and outcomes of regional/global crises.
Content International Microeconomics:
- International trade theories, e.g. mercantilism, absolute cost advantage (Adam Smith), the principle of comparative cost advantage (David Ricardo), the theory of factor endowments, product cycle theory, imperfect competition, etc.
- International trade policy, e.g., global trade and trade liberalization, structures and stages of regional integration, the basic theory of regional integration, worldwide integration projects.
Content International Macroeconomics:
- International monetary economics, e.g. macroeconomic links between countries
- Monetary systems
- Global economy
- Development, emerging and developing countries
- Transition countries and European expansion
- International institutions
- Regional crises worldwide
- Global economic challenges

EE 2.2: Sustainability Economics
Students should be prepared and enabled to understand future questions and societal global challenges and their consequences on companies, consumers, civil society (NGOs), governments, countries, and their interconnections. They will learn about the different dimensions of sustainable development. On the microeconomic level, the economic analysis focusses on environmental issues. On the macroeconomic level, it focusses on a larger economic system with measures of sustainable growth, incl. social, economic, and environmental measures. The students will get to know different sustainable management systems, such as biodiversity, water, energy, mobility, etc. (incl. institutions, politics). Consideration will be given to developed, emerging, and developing countries and the valuation of natural resources.

- Global challenges and importance of CSR and NGOs
- Natural resources, social equity, and sustainable development
- Economic analysis of environmental issues (microeconomics)
- Sustainable management, institutions, and policies (case studies)
- Standard and extended economic systems
- Economic growth and sustainable development (macroeconomics)
- Project valuation (valuing natural resources)



Students are free to choose courses to collect 6 ECTS in total to complete this module. All courses offered will be announced before the semester and aim to sharpen the students’ profiles.

The list of courses might contain, but is not limited to:
- Specialized management skills, such as monitoring and evaluation
- Soft skill development, like proposal writing, communication, and negotiating skills
- Interdisciplinary knowledge of human rights, international law, and CSR-reporting standards

The following courses have been offered in the last two years:
- Impact evaluation
- CSR, human rights and international law
- Intercultural communication
- Diversity management
- Social media marketing 
- ...



Objectives: The Group and Individual Coaching module is designed as a personal counseling process focusing on finding a master’s thesis topic that fits the content of the MBA Programme as well as the academic and practical interests of the students. The course should enable students to identify and understand which kind of work is suitable for them, their major strengths and weaknesses, and their short-term and long-term career goals following the PDP approach (Personal Development Planning). Academic coaches with relevant expertise will support the students in achieving their own academic and personal goals in this MBA program.

This module focusses on finishing the master’s thesis and aims at:
- Building academic writing skills
- Identifying individual interpersonal skills and personal attributes, as well as major strengths & areas for development
- Taking into account educational achievements & qualifications, work experience, and extra-curricular and leisure activities
- Analyzing labor market competition and career consequences and giving tailored advice

The module includes intensive counseling sessions and the course “How to write a master’s thesis”. This course aims at making students familiar with the research process and the various steps involved. This course is essential for preparing students for their research project (master’s thesis).



The thesis is a research paper treating a current problem in CSR or NGO management and should show that students used the methods and theories they learned.

Students should transform their knowledge, methods and working techniques into responsible management behavior. The thesis paper should be based on a real project in an NGO or CSR department and include critical reflection of the used theory and approaches. 


Explore the course syllabus and get the details on each subject covered in the different semesters of the MBA in CSR & NGO Management program.