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Management in Welfare Organisations

Degree Master of Arts
Application mandatory
Course commences winter semester only
Standard course duration 5 semesters
Format options career-integrated only
Language requirements none
Other features postgraduate / continuing education
Language of instruction German
Study fees EUR 1,950 per semester

Faculty of Theology


This career-integrated course was introduced by Heidelberg University’s Institute of Diaconal Studies and the Ludwigshafen University of Applied Sciences in 2005.

Course outline

The welfare sector is undergoing a sea change. Non-profit service providers notably in the health and social sector are confronted by structural changes and there are a variety of factors with an impact on the operative environment: economising as a result of financial restrictions, increasing competition from private/commercial providers entering the market, necessity for value-related profile formation and organisational development as a result of dwindling religious/ideological convictions on the part of clients. These factors have an effect on staff complexion and motivation. The significance of religious and/or humanitarian convictions sustaining non-profit organisations in the past is fading.

Under these circumstances, non-profit welfare organisations can only assure their long-term success by changing their leadership style and/or social management and making it as professional and holistic as possible. In short, it needs to integrate skills and knowledge available from business studies, diaconal theology, social work and health studies.

Learning objectives

  • acquire the ability to analyse socio-political and economic change processes, relate them to one’s own organisation, and set in train innovative organisational development processes
  • develop an understanding for identity, structures and development of non-profit organisations, notably ecclesiastical welfare organisations
  • perform leadership functions in social organisations in an entrepreneurial and self-reliant manner on the basis of a sound knowledge of business management, social ethics and diaconal theology
  • devise strategies for social management and the strengthening of capacities for leadership and teamwork
  • acquire knowledge about development and implementation of quality management systems.

The course imparts the interdisciplinary skills required for the management and leadership of institutions, enterprises and associations in the non-commercial welfare sector, notably ecclesiastical providers of such services.

Target groups

  • managers in organisations of the social and health sectors intending to qualify for higher management or to place their leadership work on a broader foundation
  • potential managers intending to qualify for first-level management tasks
  • specialist and executive personnel in the welfare sector intending to qualify for consultancy work (e.g. corporate consultancy, organisational development)
  • specialist and executive personnel intending to acquire academic qualifications in the social management sector
  • enterprises, associations and administrative bodies in the welfare sector intending to enhance the qualifications of their staff.

Cooperation partners

Heidelberg University – Institute of Diaconal Studies

Since 1954, Heidelberg University’s Institute of Diaconal Studies has been unique in the academic support and supervision it provides for the diaconal/social activities of churches all over Germany. On the international plane it is renowned as a central academic authority for the development of Diaconal Studies as an interdisciplinary university subject. The Institute specialises in the study of foundational and practical issues connected with diaconal studies.

Ludwigshafen University of Applied Sciences

In the course of the year 2008, the Protestant University of Applied Sciences and the Business School of Ludwigshafen am Rhein were amalgamated to form the Ludwigshafen University of Applied Sciences under the aegis of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

The course “Management in Welfare Organisations” is associated with Divisions I (management, controlling, health care) and IV (social and health sector) of the Ludwigshafen University of Applied Sciences. The core competence of Division I is corporate governance. It focuses on institutions and corporations in the health sector, with functional emphasis on controlling and accounting, management, information management and health economics. Division IV is responsible for the socio-political and legal components as well as specific issues posed by social service and social management. The core competence of Division IV is reflected in the courses it provides on social work, care and health.

The continuing education course “Management in Welfare Organisations” qualifies its graduates for leading managerial posts in corporations, administrative bodies and associations active in the health and social sector. There is an emphasis on organisations dedicated to ecclesiastical welfare provision.

Course structure

  • The M.A. programme “Management in Welfare Organisations” is a career-integrated continuing education course.
  • The course takes 2.5 years and begins in the winter semester of a given year.
  • The attendance phases add up to a total of approx. 560 hours and normally extend from Thursday to Saturday. One attendance phase per month is the norm.
  • The course providers have applied to the Ministry of Science, Continuing Education, Research and Culture of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate for recognition as continuing professional education in accordance with the Law on Leave of Absence for Educational Purposes.

Course content

  • foundations of economics and business studies
  • corporate leadership and organisational development
  • financial services and marketing
  • controlling and planning
  • personnel management and simulation game
  • quality management
  • fundamentals of theology
  • historical and economic aspects of Christian social practice
  • anthropology, hermeneutics and diaconal studies
  • fundamentals of social policy and action strategy
  • communicative and ethical skills in management
  • legal knowledge for managers
  • interdisciplinary corporate leadership and social management
  • academic methodology

In accordance with the examination regulations, graduates from the course are awarded a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree entitling them to carry on and work for a PhD.


Formal requirements


Access to the course is restricted. Click here for the Admission Regulations.

Applications for the M.A. course must be addressed directly to the Institute of Diaconal Studies.

Application deadline

1 July for the winter semester

Further information

Information on application procedure

Admission requirements for the course:

  • an initial (Bachelor-level) degree for a course on subject matter relevant to the social sector and health system at a university, university of applied science, polytechnic university, ecclesiastical university or university of education
  • at least one year of professional experience in the social or health sector; in exceptional cases management functions performed on an honorary or voluntary basis may also be recognised (application required)
  • professional activity or honorary management during the continuing education course


Study and examination regulations

Examination regulations M.A. (20 December 2007)

Examinations board

Issues arising in connection with examinations, credit transfer and academic credential recognition are dealt with by the relevant examinations board/office. For more information, consult the academic advisor(s) indicated below.


The tuition fee is EUR 1,950 per semester. Students are also required to pay a contribution to Student Services and an administration fee. This covers all the expenses accruing for tuition and examinations. Libraries and other facilities at the three universities involved can be used free of charge. The course is included in the support programme of the bank and foundation of the Protestant Credit Cooperative (EKK). We will be happy to advise you individually on study loans and/or grants.


Academic advisors

A list of academic advisors can be found on the Institute website.

Director of the course

Prof. Dr. Johannes Eurich
Institute of Diaconal Studies
Karlstr. 16
D-69117 Heidelberg



Secretaries’ office, Institute of Diaconal Studies
Lucia Weber
Karlstraße 16
D-69117 Heidelberg
phone: +49 (0)6221 543336
fax: +49 (0)6221 543380


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Latest Revision: 2017-04-13
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