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International Business (MSc)

MSc|Postgraduate Taught

International Business

Entry year
Entry requirements
1 year (Full Time)
Places available
Open (Full Time)
This course is now closed to applications for September 2021. If you are interested in September 2022 entry, please register your interest.
  • Overview

    You realise that business is increasingly conducted in a global marketplace and wish to gain essential skills necessary to understand and manage business challenges and opportunities in such a setting. You want a career in organisations such as multinational corporations, international non-governmental organisations, multilateral international organisations, and consultancies, many of which have offices in Ireland. You want to be taught and supervised by leading, research active international business and management academics who provide an engaging learning environment.

    International Business is focused on organisations that do not limit their operations to a single nation state, such as Citigroup and Google. The MSc programme in International Business considers why these organisations exist, how they are successful in the ever-changing global environment, and what their activities mean for the different countries in which they do business.

    This programme provides students with the knowledge and skills required to survive and thrive in an increasingly interconnected world. Students will gain an understanding of the tools, techniques and practical skills associated with operating an organisation across borders, and an appreciation of the interactions between firms, governments and society in an international context.

    International Business highlights

    World Class Facilities

    • Teaching methods employed across this programme typically include lectures, workshops, tutorials, case studies, meetings with practitioners and experts in international business, use of decision making tools (e.g. Excel solvers and tools typically used in companies, interactive web or computer applications) and software demonstrations. Lectures are also often interspersed with discussion, group exercises and case studies which allow students to engage with theories and concepts and reflect on their application in practice. In collaboration with the QUB Science Shop and links with the William J. Clinton Leadership Institute, as well as guest lecturers from multinational companies, non-governmental organisations and local companies, our students are provided with regular insights into reality of business practices. Students may expect a variety of assessment types (reports, presentations, essays, exams) aimed to enhance skills development, critical analysis and capacity building.

    Internationally Renowned Experts

    • This programme offers business students an opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge with regard to global business. The modules undertaken in this programme reflect such a perspective with students best placed to take up employment within global organisations. Further, the good academic foundation provided in this programme may serve as a starting point for progression towards PhD studies at high quality universities. The MSc International Business programme is run in a multicultural teaching environment with local and international students working and engaging together. The multinational environment coupled with the relatively small class sizes allow for a very strong learning experience where key intercultural competence's can be gained through various interactions.

    Student Experience

    • This programme is taught at the Riddel Hall campus in South Belfast, which has dedicated facilities and resources for postgraduate students, including a state-of-the-art lecture theatre, a postgraduate common room, computer suites, catering and parking on site. The excellent Queen’s University Student Guidance Centre provides learning development service for all students who want to improve their study techniques, enhance critical writing, or refresh knowledge on numerical skills. In addition, the INTO Study Centre provides language support for international students, as well as guidance on careers and employability.
  • Course content

    Course Structure

    The MSc International Business is awarded to students who successfully complete eight taught modules (120 CATS points) and a research dissertation/ consultancy project/academic research project (60 CATS points).

    Taught modules are:
    International Business Strategy
    The Multinational Enterprise
    Accounting in an International Environment
    Sustainable Supply Chains and Networks
    Global HRM
    International Marketing
    Research Methods and Techniques
    Global Innovation Management

    Exit qualifications are available: students may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma by successfully completing 120 CATS points from taught modules or a Postgraduate Certificate by successfully completing 60 CATS points from taught modules.

    IntroductionThis programme offers business students an opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge with regard to global business. The modules undertaken in this programme reflect such a perspective with students best placed to take up employment within global organisations.

    Students will study a combination of modules that address the increasingly integrated and interdependent global economy within which international business is conducted, and the core functional areas of business from an international perspective. A dissertation is also required.

    Modules are focused on core theories and contemporary issues related to international business strategy, accounting and financial aspects of international business, international supply chain networks, human resource management, marketing, as well as supporting methods for business and research.

    The MSc International Business programme is run in a multicultural teaching environment with local and international students working and engaging together.
    Semester 1International Business Strategy
    This module aims to reflect on multiple theories in strategic management and evaluate several theoretical models and underpinning strategic management concepts. It will also address more practical analytical tools by applying them to contemporary cases of major global companies. International Business Strategy requires the analysis of complex, uncertain and incomplete information and the ability to bound this ambiguity and develop, and implement, firm wide judgements. Ultimately, it is concerned mainly with the holistic, strategic level perspective of management decision making in an international business environment.
    The contents of the module are focused around several key themes. First, strategic thinking and analysis is impacted by industrial, resourcing and institutional effects. Second, strategic implementation focuses on internationalisation and diversification issues. Third, strategic execution incorporates both structural and social issues

    The Multinational Enterprise
    The aim of the module is to familiarise students with an organisational form unique to international business and explore some of the issues these firms face.
    The module focuses on the Multinational Enterprise (MNE), complimenting the broader content in the Fundamentals of International Business Strategy (FIBS) module. MNEs are a unique business organisational form, with firm activities spanning national boundaries and have received significant attention in the International Business literature for this reason. MNEs are key actors at the supra-national, regional and national levels and it is impossible to understand the conduct of international business without an appreciation for the unique nature of the MNE.

    Accounting in an International Environment
    The aim of this module is to equip students to critically assess managerial control systems used in International and /or Multinational Companies (MNCs). The module also explores the impact of those control systems on management behaviour and effectiveness in domestic and foreign subsidiaries. The module begins by examining global financial systems, financial crisis and short termism. We will explore the impact of short-term performance pressures on management control systems together with contemporary approaches to performance measurement and performance management. We will then examine fundamental macro-economic variables and their potential impact on MNCs management control systems. The traditional and contemporary techniques and practices used by managers in long-term capital investment decisions are examined. This is followed by performance evaluation of foreign operations and their managers under centralised decision making in multi-divisional businesses. In the context of improving organisational effectiveness, exchange rate considerations in operating budgets of foreign subsidiaries and their impact on foreign subsidiary managers’ behaviour are explored. The module will then examine international transfer pricing and its impact on management control systems. Published academic work will be critically evaluated for the purposes of identifying the potential impact of current issues and recent developments.

    Sustainable Supply Chains and Networks
    The focus of this module is on the theory and practice of global supply chain management and logistics. In particular, course content covers main managerial challenges in decision making at strategic, tactical and operational level by taking into account economic, social and environmental contexts of a business and exposure of supply chains to internal and external risks. The module context considers also business aspects of circular economy, as well as innovative technologies that impact way of doing international business such as block chains, Internet-of-Things, 3D printing, etc.
    Thus, on completion, students will have gained an understanding of the decisions that face supply chain managers in a global environment. More specifically, students will be able to apply the decision making tools, concepts and theories to make informed decisions and communicate those decisions to the stakeholders.
    Semester 2Global HRM
    Within international business, understanding the management of human resources and their interaction with their immediate environment is of critical importance. Global HRM is a module designed to give students an advanced appreciation of the changing nature of work, as well as key aspects of international human resource management.
    This module will focus on three key themes. First, the nature of changes being placed on work systems due to increased global competition. Second, the module will provide a focus on the issue of managing across borders within the modern business organisation. Finally, the module will focus on enabling students to understand key issues involved in the comparative study of work and work systems.
    International Marketing
    The focus of the module is on the theory, practice and challenges faced by marketing managers working in a global/international environment and the concepts and theories that can be used to inform marketing decision making in these contexts. Indicative themes during the course include principles of Marketing, Global/International Marketing in the Firm, Emerging Markets, Cultural Dynamics, Finding New Global/International Markets, Export Marketing, Product and Service Decisions 1: Branding Concepts, and A Review of the Top 100 Global Brands, Product and Service Decisions, Current Issues in Global/International Marketing, Communications – Competing in the Digital Economy, A Review of Standardisation Vs. Adaptation Debates in Global/International Marketing

    Research Methods and Techniques
    This module aims to provide students with a range of skills to undertake effective research in business and management. The skills learned in this module will be applicable across professions as the relevance and importance of being able to design research, interpret, critically analyse and evaluate qualitative and quantitative information is crucial in today’s management world. The general aim of the module is to introduce students to the research process and present the tools and methodologies of social science required to carry out your thesis research.
    Focus will be placed on equipping students with the necessary knowledge and skills to choose the most appropriate research methodology and method(s) for a particular research issue/problem. Building upon this, the module will develop students’ knowledge and skills in terms of qualitative and quantitative research methods, which have direct applicability in terms of future employment. On completion of this module students will have gained a comprehensive understanding of both the philosophical and practical aspects of conducting research and thus should be able to make more informed decisions about research strategy, design and methodology. Students should also feel confident in writing a dissertation/consultancy project.

    Global Innovation Management
    The main aim of this module is to develop an insight into innovation and how it has developed in a globalised world. Additionally, how knowledge is created, shared and transformed through collaboration and coordination across differentiated national innovation systems in order to develop global innovation networks is a key focus of this module. The module also addresses how knowledge is created, transferred, assimilated, transformed and used internationally through processes of innovation, learning, research and development (R&D). This module is broken into several overarching themes. Firstly, it will look at innovation theories more generally and apply these in an international context through globalisation insights. Secondly it will consider the importance of geography and space and how innovation may be rooted in national innovation systems of both cities and clusters of knowledge activity. Thirdly, the focus will be on how firms innovate and manage technology, knowledge and product innovation.
    More specifically, some of the main themes explored in this module include; globalisation of innovation, innovation strategies, knowledge management, business model innovation, national innovation systems, managing the location of R&D, geography and space, technology and information management, and sustainable innovation.
    Semester 3Every candidate for an MSc International Business is required to complete a traditional dissertation or a consultancy project or An Academic Research Project before they can be considered for the award of the degree. In order to be able to progress to the dissertation options in Semester 3, students should normally have successfully completed all of taught modules.

    A dissertation is an original and substantial piece of written work, in which a problem, hypothesis or question of importance is subjected to analysis and elucidation using an explicit method or methods. The originality of the dissertation lies in it being the new work of an individual author tackling an issue of practical and/or academic significance. The dissertation is expected to make a contribution to knowledge. This means that your research must be linked satisfactorily to what is already known about the topic. This requires a thorough review of the literature that already exists about the topic. The dissertation project normally entails the collection of primary data, a detailed discussion of the research methodology and conclusions/recommendations and the contextual value of the findings.

    Consultancy Based Project
    The aim of the consultancy based report module is to allow students to draw on their range of knowledge and skills and use this to provide solutions to a live business problem/challenge/issue or case.
    A Consultancy Project involves working with a client organisation to make recommendations for solving a pre-set consulting problem, challenge or issue. The purpose of the Consultancy Project is to enable students to develop critical skills in effective client engagement, leadership and project management. This module challenges students to develop and advance their ability to read and think critically, question received wisdom, and develop logical and reasoned arguments. There is a limited number of consultancy projects available; obtaining the consultancy project is a part of a competitive process.

    Academic Research Project
    Instead of completing a traditional dissertation or a consultancy project, students can elect to do an academic research project. The Academic Research Project is essentially a super-module that comprises three inter-related elements. The first two elements are similar to normal modules (Contemporary Issues in Management and Business Governance and Ethics), but are taught in bloc form. These modules, along with the other modules student complete on their respective programmes, help students prepare for the third element, the Critical Literature Review.

    People teaching you


    Queens Management School

    Teaching Times

    8 hours of lectures per week 4 hours of workshops per week

    Career Prospects

    This programme provides the knowledge and skills which are sought by employers - SMEs focused on business intelligence, trade or business solutions, manufacturing companies, multinational enterprises, international institutions and NGOs and government agencies responsible for trade and investment - as well the consulting industry. Some students may wish to pursue an academic career through PhD study – in the last three years four of our students started academic careers in the UK and abroad.

    Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

    Learning and Teaching

    Learning opportunities associated with this course are outlined below:

    Teaching Methods

    Teaching methods employed across this programme typically include lectures, workshops, tutorials, case studies, organisation visits, use of decision making tools (eg Excel solvers and tools typically used in companies, interactive web or computer applications) and software demonstrations. Lectures are also often interspersed with discussion, group exercises and case studies which allow students to engage with theories and concepts and reflect on their application in practice. In collaboration with Queen's Science Shop and links with the William J Clinton Leadership Institute, as well as guest lecturers from multinational companies, non-governmental organizations and local companies, our students are provided with regular insights into reality of business practices.


    Assessments associated with the course are outlined below:

    Students may expect a variety of assessment types (reports, presentations, essays, exams) aimed to enhance skills development, critical analysis and capacity building. Students are also required to complete a dissertation of 15,000-17,000 words.

    Prizes and Awards

    • The Randox Laboratories prize for the MSc International Business student achieving the highest mark in Module MGT7100 "International Business Strategy"
  • Entry Requirements

    Entrance requirements

    Normally a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in Business or Management or other relevant social science discipline related to international business.

    We welcome applications from a diverse range of backgrounds so may consider previous managerial work experience alongside lower academic qualifications. We also welcome prior experiential learning in social science disciplines that engage significantly with international business topics and/or involve some form of cross-national or international academic activity. The University's Recognition of Prior Learning Policy provides guidance on the assessment of experiential learning (RPEL). Please visit for more information.

    Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and ideally no later than 12th August 2022 for courses which commence in late September. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

    International Students

    Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

    English Language Requirements

    Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

    International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

    For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

    • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
    • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

    INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

  • Fees and Funding

    Tuition Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £7,470
    Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £7,470
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £7,470
    EU Other 3 £21,500
    International £21,500

    MSc (T) International Business 

    1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

    2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements.

    3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

    All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2022-23, and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

    More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

    Additional course costs

    All Students

    Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

    Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

    Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

    If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

    Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

    There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

    International Business costs

    Students have the option to undertake a consultancy project for their dissertation and are responsible for funding any travel, accommodation and subsistence costs.

    How do I fund my study?

    The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

    A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

    More information on funding options and financial assistance.

    International Scholarships

    Information on scholarships for international students, is available at

  • Apply

    How to Apply

    Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

    Apply now

    When to Apply

    The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

    Terms and Conditions

    The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
    Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

    Download a prospectus