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Postgraduate Programme Specification

PgCert Business Administration

Academic Year 2022/23

A programme specification is required for any programme on which a student may be registered. All programmes of the University are subject to the University's Quality Assurance processes. All degrees are awarded by Queen's University Belfast.

Programme Title PgCert Business Administration Final Award
(exit route if applicable for Postgraduate Taught Programmes)
Postgraduate Certificate
Programme Code MGT-PC-BA UCAS Code HECoS Code 100079 - Business studies - 100

ATAS Clearance Required


Health Check Required


Portfolio Required


Interview Required


Mode of Study Part Time or Full Time
Type of Programme Postgraduate Length of Programme Part Time - 2 Academic Years
Full Time - 1 Academic Year
Total Credits for Programme 60
Exit Awards available No

Institute Information

Teaching Institution

Queen's University Belfast


Queen's Business School

Quality Code

Higher Education Credit Framework for England

Level 7

Subject Benchmark Statements

The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies

Business and Management (2015)

Accreditations (PSRB)

Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

Date of most recent Accreditation Visit 21-11-17

Regulation Information

Does the Programme have any approved exemptions from the University General Regulations
(Please see General Regulations)

No and none are required

Programme Specific Regulations

The MBA will be subject to the guidelines presented in the Study Regulations for Postgraduate Taught Programmes.

Students must pass all taught modules of the programme as well as the compulsory experiential module and a dissertation to be eligible for the award of a Master’s degree.

Students will be permitted to progress to their dissertation module once they have successfully completed modules to the equivalent of at least 100 CATS points.

The outstanding module(s) must be successfully completed before the submission of the dissertation.

Students with protected characteristics


Are students subject to Fitness to Practise Regulations

(Please see General Regulations)


Educational Aims Of Programme

Educational Aims of Programme:

Learning and Thinking
Foster a stimulating and supportive learning environment which promotes intellectual, professional and personal development.

Encourage critical thinking, independent enquiry, and an international outlook.

Develop the skills necessary to undertake independent research and continuing professional development

Develop students' skills base, leadership capacity and connections with practice in ways which will enhance their ability to make valuable contributions to the economy and society

ERS and Diversity
Promote engagement with issues of ethics, responsibility and sustainability, and maintain respect for social and cultural differences and openness, fairness, and equality of opportunity in relation to selection, learning, assessment, and support

Subject Specific
The MBA is a career development generalist programme for students with post-graduate and relevant work experience on which their learning process builds. The main emphasis of the programme is on the development of personal and professional leadership and entrepreneurial mindsets. While the academic level is masters, there is a strong practical and professional orientation to the curriculum.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes: Cognitive Skills

On the completion of this course successful students will be able to:

Reason logically

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Across all modules, students work, in conjunction with the module coordinator, to evaluate applied business challenges with an emphasis on putting management theory into practice and using this analysis to logically generate solutions.

The challenge weeks integrated into modules, and the MBA Project, represent further opportunities to enhance reasoning skills.

Methods of Assessment

This skill will be assessed through continuous individual and group assessments. The MBA Project and Challenge Week assessments focus on evaluation of relevant theoretical frameworks and their application in practice to challenges in organizations, logically generating solutions to these problems.

Conduct independent enquiry

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Independent enquiry is a key element in all modules. Students will be presented with a range of complex issues, ideas and management theories around core business disciplines and expected to undertake independent enquiry to better understand these. Specific teaching methods include:

1.Independent academic enquiry: Imparted through training in essay preparation, library skills, literature search skills, analysis and review of academic literature
2.Independent practical enquiry: Imparted via training in consultancy skills, qualitative and quantitative methods.

Methods of Assessment

Several forms of group and individual continuous assessment both written, verbal require the student to undertake independent enquiry. These include the MBA Project, and individual and group essays and presentations.

Problem solve

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

New knowledge is imparted through academic modules (topics below).

A variety of teaching methods are used including Lectures, Role play, Directed reading, and Breakout sessions.

All modules focusing on core business disciplines have an applied focus to ensure management theories relate to practical managerial challenges students face in their organizations.

Teaching methods focused specifically on problem-solving include the analysis of case studies, consulting challenges, the international study trip task, video and film analysis and guest speakers.

The MBA Project, and Challenge Week assessments require students to engage with real organizational challenges, and identify solutions through the application of management theories.

Methods of Assessment

Coursework components (group and individual) and reflective exercises in the experiential module will test the students’ understanding of core business disciplines and ability to put management theory into practice in their organizations.

A variety of assessment methods are used including: Individual and group essays, reflective essays on problem-solving within professional experience, case study reports, presentations, the MBA Project, assessed Challenge Weeks.

Critically evaluate and interpret

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Students will be trained to critique, evaluate and apply management theories to practice using a range of frameworks as appropriate to individual modules.
Class discussion, group activities will encourage students to critique knowledge in a collaborative setting.

Specific training in academic critique will be provided, alongside subjects that incorporate the interpretation and analysis of complex data including Business Analytics, Accounting and Financial Management for Decision Makers.

Methods of Assessment

All forms of continuous assessment whether these are written assignments, presentations or the dissertation incorporate an emphasis on students’ use of their own judgement and ability to evaluate, interpret and apply a range of results and information.

Self-assess and reflect

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Self-assessment and reflection are central to the year-long Developing as a Manager and Leader module, in which individual leadership development is supported by personality assessments with the results analyzed alongside a qualified personal coach. This module also incorporates skills in managing change and risk; communication; leadership; teamwork; dealing with ambiguity; negotiation; problem solving; critical thinking; and ethical values.

Self-assessment relating to students’ individual progress on the programme is also embedded in module teaching methods for example through reflective essays.

Reflective practice is emphasised in each academic module through for example group discussions.

Methods of Assessment

Students are required to reflect on their own managerial and leadership capabilities through reflective assessments within taught modules, dissertation and particularly through the Developing as a Manager and Leader module. Assessment is via the production of reflective essays.

Learning Outcomes: Transferable Skills

On the completion of this course successful students will be able to:

Confidently engage with the world of practice

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

All modules are designed to provide students with theoretical knowledge of the core areas of general management, and apply this knowledge to organizational challenges. This enables them to develop competencies directly transferable into the world of practice.

Developing as a Leader and the Professional Development Track allow students to develop skills related to team management, and individual skills such as presenting. This gives students confidence in the practice of vital practical skills required by managers.

Methods of Assessment

Challenge Week assessments require students to engage with live business challenges defined by client organisations. Assessments require the application of theory to these problems. They provide students with opportunities to engage with, and present to executives from these organisations.

The MBA Project provides students with a consulting track which allows them to engage with a client organisation and address a real business challenge, applying theory from relevant parts of the program. Students present their findings to the client.

The majority of modules require students to undertake continuous assessments which engage with current and historical business problems, and offer opportunities to practice presentation and group management skills.

Synthesise and evaluate information/data from a variety of sources including from databases, books, journal articles and the internet

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Targeted training in the use of library services, literature searching and reviewing, academic writing practices and plagiarism will be provided.

These methods complement subject-specific teaching in how best to synthesise relevant information, presented in individual module lectures.

Methods of Assessment

The majority of coursework projects require synthesis of information from academic sources, and subject specific assessments (Accounting, Financial Management etc) require the use numeric data. The MBA project and Challenge Weeks necessitate synthesis of both academic and practitioner literature from across a range of disciplines, with other forms of data.

Organise and manage their time

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

The MBA programme is an intensive and high-level Master’s degree and time management is an essential skill for the successful completion of this programme.

As part of the experiential module students will be provided with targeted training in time management skills, while one-to-one sessions with personal coaches will assist in addressing individual challenges in this area.

Methods of Assessment

The focused nature of group work and other forms of coursework will require students to effectively manage their time over a short span to address specific challenges, both individually and collectively, thus putting learning and coaching into practice.

Effective management of workload and time will be critical to completion of individual assignments and particularly the dissertation.

Make effective use of information technology including relevant subject-specific packages

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Students will use IT packages including word processing, data analysis, and presentation packages. They will also require these packages when submitting assessed work for consideration, for presenting to class both individually and in groups, and for presenting to client organizations during consulting challenges.

Guidance in using presentation packages will be provided through the Presentation Skills component of the Developing as a Manager and Leader module.

Methods of Assessment

This forms a component of assessment strategies, in particular for the dissertation, in which marking criteria encompasses an attention to formatting, clarity and presentation of written work.

The MBA project also includes a percentage of marks for presentation. Presentations to academic staff and representatives of external organizations form part of various modules' assessments. These require the use of presentation packages.

Work both independently and in groups

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Students will have various opportunities both within and beyond the classroom to work as individuals and within groups.
This may involve independently analysing theoretical frameworks pertaining to core business disciplines in relation to challenges within ‘real-life’ firms. It will also involve working within groups to resolve complex functional challenges through application of relevant management theories.
In line with best practice, the MBA programme emphasises the importance of effective group working and so group work is integral to the assessment strategy inherent to modules.

Students often find this challenging and to address this, the Developing as a Manager and Leader module incorporates psychometric testing to assess students’ individual and group styles of working alongside a component on team development and group working.

Methods of Assessment

Group work has been specifically integrated into the assessment methods in some modules.

Working independently is an integral feature in others, including the dissertation although this requires significant engagement with the client organization in the case of the consulting project.

The MBA represents a balance between both forms of working.

Communicate ideas in both written and presentational forms

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Interactive class sessions allow students to discuss complex theoretical frameworks pertaining to core business disciplines and present their findings and analysis in individual and group formats through verbal and written forms.

Specific modules focus upon the analysis and communication of complex data including business analytics, accounting for decision makers and marketing.

Methods of Assessment

Through continuous assessment students demonstrate the ability to present ideas, discuss complex and ambiguous information in both written and oral forms within an individual and group-based format. Formative and summative feedback strategies ensure that students can develop their skills over the course of the programme.

Learning Outcomes: Knowledge & Understanding

On the completion of this course successful students will be able to:

Appreciate diversity and be capable of placing issues within their local and international contexts

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

The importance of diversity is embedded within the student cohort, which is balanced in terms of nationality, gender, and professional experience. Teams used to undertake the group work assessments reflect this balance. The importance of diversity within teams and organisational is specifically explored in the Developing as a leader module, and Leadership Change and Organization: addressing topics such as high-performance teams and cross-cultural management.

MBA Launch Week introduces students to Belfast providing context to the local business environment. The majority of modules will also involve external speakers from local businesses, providing local context throughout the program.

The international context of management and decision making is featured in the majority modules, but particularly in Economic Environment, and Strategic Management which focus on issues such globalization, internationalization, and global strategies.

The International Study Trip comprises a multi-day visit to an overseas location, and incorporate lectures from business leaders, visits to organizations and other opportunities to explore international context and best practice.

Methods of Assessment

Continuous assessments in various modules and the MBA Project require analysis of both the local and international contexts - using frameworks to analyse organisations’ external environments.

Engage with issues around ethics, responsibility, and sustainability

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

The MBA, in line with the wider School vision of QMS, places an explicit emphasis on business ethics and sustainability. Business sustainability refers to the process by which companies manage their financial, social and environmental risks, obligations and opportunities (the integration of profits, people and planet).

These topics are explicitly integrated in all taught modules, and are the focus of a targeted component of the Developing as a Leader and Manager module that emphasises responding to ethical challenges.

The MBA project and challenge weeks allow students to work with partner organizations on addressing issues pertaining to ethics and sustainability.

Methods of Assessment

Assessments (individual and group) relating to relevant aspects of each taught module incorporate a focus on ethics and sustainability while reflective assessments within the Developing as a Leader module will encompass an emphasis on this topic.

Subject Knowledge: Understand the theoretical and conceptual underpinnings of the major functions of the organization, with a focus on management and leadership and application to practical organizational scenarios.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Modules focus on teaching the core principles behind major organizational functions including accounting, marketing, strategy and leadership. Acquisition of knowledge and understanding, across modules, is through structured exposition based on lectures, tutorials, breakout sessions and master classes, directed reading, student presentations, group projects, reflective development, and private study.
Learning from across all modules is brought together during the Challenge Week assessments and integrated into the MBA Project, ensuring that students learn about and are assessed on a holistic appreciation of the organization alongside the role of its component parts.

Methods of Assessment

Continuous assessment elements to assess knowledge and understanding include written assignments, presentations, individual and group project reports (including the Consultancy Project) and consulting challenges.

Understand how relevant theory can be applied to a variety of current and historical managerial challenges and contexts within core business disciplines

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

The teaching material in each of the modules has been specifically developed to expose students to methods for putting management theory into practice in contemporary organizations. This is provided through the use of case studies contemporary organizational problems and research studies.

Methods of Assessment

Assessments will require students to apply theory to managerial challenges, to be demonstrated through the use of examples and references. Methods include case reports, and individual and group essays.

Understand the process of academic research

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

All modules incorporate an emphasis on leading edge academic research and so students are able to appreciate the outputs. The MBA Project and associated training provide opportunities to appreciate the research process first-hand.

Methods of Assessment

Students will have opportunities to develop their ideas into more structured research through continuous assessment for each of the modules. Students completing the MBA Project will require a clear insight into the academic research process, with a focus on practical application.

Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific

On the completion of this course successful students will be able to:

Identify relevant quantitative and qualitative techniques to analyse applied managerial contexts

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

In each of the modules, students will become familiar with a wide range of research methods that are used in the core business disciplines studied through exposure to key research via books and articles.

More specifically, the MBA Project allows the student to select an appropriate research method for researching and investigating practical challenges. Training is provided in research methods during the MBA Project training sessions. An individual academic supervisor is assigned to each student for the conduct of the research.

Methods of Assessment

Students will have opportunities to engage with a wide range of research methods in the continuous assessment across modules on the programme.

This will be critical to the completion of the MBA Project, where students will be able to use these methods in much more detail to apply theoretical frameworks to a practical managerial context.

Understand how to enhance and progress one’s career

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

The MBA provides a specific year-long career development programme encompassing career coaching, focused on practical skills such as CV analysis and development, interview skills and networking strategies.

Methods of Assessment

While this is not formally assessed, attendance and participation is mandatory.

Acquire significant understanding of the major areas of knowledge which underpin general management

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Specific key areas are covered by academic modules as follows:

(i) Marketing: the concepts, processes and Institutions involved in the marketing of goods and / or services;

(ii) Accounting and Financial Management for Decision Makers: the concepts and applications of accounting, of quantitative methods and analytics, and management information systems including digital innovations;
(iii) Leadership Change and Organization: organization theory, behaviour, HRM issues and interpersonal communications, the impact of environmental forces on organizations, including: legal systems; demographics; ethical, social, and technological change issues and risks, explicit skills development in responding to and managing change;

(iv) Strategic Management: The processes and problems of general management at the operational and strategic level;
(v) Economic Environment: macro and micro economics;
(vi) MBA Project: business research methods and consultancy skills;
(x) Entrepreneurship: Leadership creativity, enterprise, and innovation, and the financing of business enterprise or other forms of organization
(xi) Business Analytics: Utilising data to make informed strategic decisions and improve business processes.
(xii) All modules including MBA Project: An understanding of the impact of sustainability, ethics and risk management on business decisions and performance, and on society as a whole.

Methods of Assessment

A wide variety of assessments to include:
academic literature evaluation e.g. individual essay, group essay, reflective essay on professional experience, case study reports, presentation, MBA Project, consulting challenges.

Provide leadership to themselves and to others in order to achieve organizational goals

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

This area will be the focus of an integrated and cross-programme module Developing as a Leader and a Manager, encompassing individual assessments of leadership and group work styles, personal coaching, and continual reflection.

To complement this, the module will also focus on understanding leadership in action drawing on key academic and practitioner research along with examples and visits from distinguished Leaders to share experiences with students.

Across the programme, significant opportunities to engage in group work, and to lead teams, will be provided via group assignments. Coaching and improvement will be undertaken with the help of an assigned CLI coach throughout the year.

Methods of Assessment

The Developing as a Leader and a Manager will be assessed via reflective assessments and essays.

Focus on application of theory to practical organizational scenarios. Use applied case studies to illustrate a wide range of managerial and business function problems/opportunities for relevant analytical purposes.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Effective analysis of case studies illustrating management and business function problems/opportunities is crucial for developing the capacity to apply theories into practice. Consequently, these skills are developed across modules.

Methods of Assessment

Assessments include case reports, challenge weeks with external organisations designed to apply analytical skills to real world problems, and individual and group essays and presentations.

Understand how to assess and maximize resources

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Targeted focus on this topic will be provided in the relevant subjects’ particularly accounting, operations management, business analytics and marketing.

At MBA level the focus will be on developing robust understanding of relevant processes in order to make strategic decisions on behalf of the organization.

Students will be presented with case studies and integrated consulting challenges to help develop their skills. Guest speakers will provide insight into real-life practices.

Methods of Assessment

Relevant modules will be assessed via Individual and group essays and reports, Presentations and the MBA Project.

Know how to effectively work in cross-cultural, globalized settings

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

The MBA has a specifically international focus, with a diverse student cohort. Targeted coaching in cross-cultural issues in the context of both academic and practitioner working will be provided via the Developing as a Leader and Manager module.

In addition, each taught module will specifically encompass case studies, examples and learning from international settings and topics including contemporary processes of regionalisation, emerging markets, global strategy, governance and globalisation.

Students will be exposed to international best practices as part of the International Study Trip.

Methods of Assessment

Relevant modules will be assessed via Individual and group essays and reports, Presentations and the MBA Project.

Comprehend and evaluate academic literature in core business disciplines

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Up-to-date literature is integrated throughout the programme, and emphasis is placed on the on-going development of the students’ skills in order to effectively communicate, debate and critique this literature within the applied context of their own organizations. This is facilitated through group discussion and individual directed reading.

Training is provided in literature searching and critique of academic work as described above.

Methods of Assessment

In all modules students will be encouraged to engage with the most current literature in the core business discipline area. Continuous assessment in several modules will assess this skill specifically and require the students to formally analyse and evaluate a range of contemporary and historical literature applying it to managerial challenges.

Module Information

Stages and Modules

Module Title Module Code Level/ stage Credits


Duration Pre-requisite


S1 S2 Core Option Coursework % Practical % Examination %
Making Sense of a Complex World MBA7172 7 20 YES -- 12 weeks N YES -- 100% 0% 0%
Developing as a Manager and Leader MBA7171 7 20 YES YES 24 weeks N YES -- 100% 0% 0%
Integrating Knowledge 1: Business Analytics MBA7177 7 20 -- YES 12 weeks N -- YES 100% 0% 0%
Making Decisions 1 MBA7173 7 20 YES -- 12 weeks N YES -- 100% 0% 0%
Making Decisions 2 MBA7174 7 20 -- YES 12 weeks N YES -- 100% 0% 0%
Organizing and Implementing MBA7175 7 20 -- YES 12 weeks N YES -- 100% 0% 0%
Integrating Knowledge 1: Social Innovation and Business Planning MBA7176 7 20 -- YES 12 weeks N -- YES 100% 0% 0%


The elective modules MBA7176 and MBA7177 will be offered in Year 1 of the Part-Time course.