Graduate School of Public and Development Management
Ladderized Approach
     GSPDM degree programs can be completed in a piecemeal, ladderized manner. Thus, completing 15 units of Core Courses entitles a student to a Certificate (e.g. 'Graduate Certificate in Public Management'), which one can obtain and immediately benefit from without completing the entire Master's degree program. Should a student opt to return to the program, he/she can accomplish 15 units of Major Courses, which then entitles him/her to a Candidacy (e.g. 'Graduate Candidacy in Productivity and Quality Management' ). This leaves only the final paper, which, when successfully completed, finally earns the student a Master's degree.

Customized/Twinning Program
     GSPDM offers customized Master's programs to partner institutions. The Major courses of each program are tailored to respond to concerns relevant to the Public Managers' specific field of work. The concepts and principles learned in the Core courses will underpin the specific policy applications of the Major Courses.

The Action Plan and Project
     GSPDM degree programs feature a final paper requirement that is equivalent to a Master's Thesis or a Doctoral Dissertation, but whose character and approach is more practical than theoretical. Known as the Action Plan and Project (APP), the paper represents an ambitious but doable policy or project intended for implementation in the student's own institution or policy field.

Unlike the majority of graduate degree programs, GSPDM programs incorporate student work on the APP into the regular coursework; hence, some sections of the APP are
completed by the students as part of the coursework for some of their major courses. This allows students to complete their APP and win their degree in 12 to 15 months for Master's degree programs, and in as short as 18 months for the Executive Doctorate in Education Leadership program.

Student-centered Learning Experience Design
     GSPDM Master's degree programs use a Student-Centered Learning Experience Design (SCLED). This design is characterized by a de-emphasis on the teacher as the primary actor in the classroom and on the lecture/discussion as the primary mode of instruction. Since graduate students by and large already have extensive knowledge of and experience in the public service, civil society leadership, or private sector management, it is only logical to make use of his knowledge and experience as tools in the learning process. In addition, the classroom gathers the public managers together in one venue, and to use such an opportunity primarily for the usual teacher-centered lecture/discussion is to fail to
exploit its full potential. The primary classroom learning activity in SCLED is therefore the small-group guided discussion, designed carefully to channel the energizing presence of the student's peers - similar to the individual student in work experience but also necessarily different from him or her in many significant ways - as a goad, as an aid, and as a foil in serious study and reflection. In SCLED, the lecture becomes merely a measure for motivation, for contextualization of reference texts, and for filling in the corners. The function of communicating new knowledge is borne primarily by carefully selected reference texts, which the students are expected to study assiduously outside of classroom time.

SCLED is not only student-centered, it is also heuristic. In many educational settings, it is assumed that the student's main task is to receive information from the Resource Persons, and then to demonstrate an ability to process and apply this information in the student's own context. Repeated experience has shown this technique to be far less effective than expected or desired, even when it is well executed; additionally, it may have the perverse effect of producing merely skilled technician managers whose primary role is to execute other people's ideas. In contrast, SCLED permits, invites, and even compels students to flex their creative visioning and problem-solving muscles; in this way, it encourages leaders to be innovative strategists and policy-makers in their own right.

SCLED is premised on the notion that the learning method has as great, if not a greater, influence on the character of graduates as the learning content.

Accreditation System
Executive Order (EO) 910 mandates the establishment by the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) of an accreditation and equivalency system for management and development-oriented training and related courses conducted for government personnel by other government agencies and private training institutions.