University of Chester

Programme Specification
Master of Business Administration MBA
2014 - 2015

Master of Business Administration

Master of Business Administration

Master of Business Administration (International Programme)

University of Chester



Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

One Year-Full Time (Two Years-Part Time (non-UK delivery)

6 Years

Triannual - April - August - November




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Business and Management Business and Finance

QAA Subject Benchmark Statements for:-

1)      Master’s Degrees in Business and Management 2007;

2)      Master’s degree characteristics (QAA) March 2010


Postgraduate Awards Assessment Board for Master of Business Administration

Monday 2nd April 2012

The principle aim of the programme is to produce graduates with the knowledge, skills and potential to become successful managers and business professionals in a variety of contexts and subject options within the global business environment.   

23.1 Educational Aims of the Programme Aims

More generally the MBA programme aims to develop the students skills, abilities and intellectual capabilities in line with the  appropriate QAA subject benchmark statements. For its graduates the programme aims to:-

  • Develop the existing knowledge, appropriate experiences, and skills of students to enable them to become effective Managers, Business Entrepreneurs, and Business Professionals and enable them to play a leading role in industry, and/or the professions and/or public service in an increasingly global business environment
  • Add value to the participant’s first degrees, and/or further degrees and/or their work-employment experience through developing an integrated and critically aware understanding of the role of managers in business and of the complexity of business and management contexts
  • Enable the student to become an effective reflective practitioner – able to make practical decisions based upon an understanding of academic content and processes as well as practical experience and thus having the ability to unite theory and practice
  • Encourage students objectively to analyse their personal competences and opportunities for self-development and thus build on the learning arising out of the programme
  • Develop understanding of financial analysis and the management of finance
  • Enhance the students understanding of the complexities of entrepreneurial management and the management of people in a variety of international contexts and environments through the development of personal thinking skills, self-confidence, applied skills and critical evaluation skills which enhance the ability of the student to work effectively and ethically in a variety of professional and business contexts
  • Develop the students understanding of marketing and strategy in a variety of contexts and environments and be able to apply and utilise this within their appropriate future professional career
  • Develop and enhance the students insights into, and perspectives on, the complexity of business contexts including the development of their ability to understand and contribute to the evaluation, formation, and determination of  business decision making, policy development and strategy formulation
  • Facilitate and support the student's personal, academic, professional and career development

Programme outcomes and staged exit awards 

The overall Programme Learning Outcomes are indicated in the Learning Outcomes matrix which is included at the end of this section of the validation document.

The learning outcomes for individual Modules are indicated in the Module Descriptors.

Students who however complete the Programme at specific stages will have achieved the following general outcomes:-  

Knowledge and Understanding  

Postgraduate Certificate in Management Studies

The graduating student who exits at this level will have the ability to translate and apply appropriate business skills and knowledge gained from the programme to the context of their work role in a business environment.

Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies

The graduating student who exits at this level will have the ability to translate and apply appropriate business skills and knowledge gained from the programme to the context of their work role in a business environment. 

Master of Business Administration (International Programme)

Learning outcomes for the individual modules of the MBA (International Programme) can be found in the individual module descriptors. 

Thinking or Cognitive Skills 

Postgraduate Certificate in Management Studies

The graduating student who exits at this level will be able to deal with complex problems in a rational manner and will have the ability to apply these skills to real-world business situations.

Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies

The graduating student who exits at this level will be able to deal with a variety of complex problems in varying contexts, and will have the ability to conceptualise and contextualise issues from the academic world to real world business situations.

Master of Business Administration (International Programme)

The graduating student will have highly developed cognitive skills, and will have the ability to think and evaluate complex situations in an analytical and critical manner.  In addition, they will be able to apply this cognitive ability from academic to the strategic business context.

Practical Skills

Postgraduate Certificate in Management Studies

The graduating student who exits at this level will be able to apply a hands-on approach to managing real-world business situations.

Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies

The graduating student who exits at this level will be able to apply practical management skills to deal with complex real-world business situations in a variety of differing contexts.

Master of Business Administration (International Programme)

The graduating student who exits at this level will be able to apply a wide-range of practical management skills to deal with a wide-range of complex real-world business situations in a variety of differing contexts.  In addition, they will be able to apply these skills from academic to the strategic business context.

Key skills Transferable/key skills:·       

  • Communication       
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology       
  • Improving own learning and performance        
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving 

The MBA (International Programme) Programme is delivered at and designed to meet FHEQ Level 7 descriptors, learning outcomes and academic standards at all three of its stages.

Programme Design and Philosophy

The programme is designed to provide a solid grounding in the key areas of Business including Finance, Human Resources/Human Resources Management, Marketing, Strategic Management and the Management of Information. 

The Programme philosophy is based on the belief that in the contemporary business environment, it is important for students to gain an understanding of the key areas of business management in order that they may be encouraged to:- 

  • Critically understand how the various specialist business career professionals utilise their chosen specialist areas of expertise
  • Reflect on their critical understanding of how these skills and areas of study may be combined to create a diversified yet coherent professional team  

The Programme also provides graduates with key employability and applications skills at a master’s level including, for example, the analytical and decision-making skills which are required in order to develop as a successful business professional.  

The Programme design is based on the following Staged Learning structure:-

  • A Core Subject Stage, designed to provide study in three Core Subject Modules (Semester 1)
  • An Options Study Stage, which provides the opportunity for students to study two compulsory Core Modules plus one Option Module (Semester 2)
  • A Dissertation/Project Stage (Semester 3), which enables students to undertake (i) a sustained piece of research/applied research and (ii) which leads to the production and completion of a significant Dissertation or Project. The Dissertation or Project may be completed in three career related/professional focussed modes, namely: - (1) A Dissertation, OR (2) An Integrated Case Study (current or retrospective focus), OR (3) A Business Development Proposal (current/prognostic focus)    

The Programme has therefore been designed to provide students with the opportunity to engage in a coherent learning experience aimed at;-

  • Providing the masters level Core Subject learning competencies required of the modern business professional,(Semester 1 and 2)    
  • Developing the individualised and specialist interests of each student through an Options based approach to the flexible delivery of subjects within the curriculum (Semester 2)     
  • Providing, in Semester 2-3, a learning experience which is designed to engage students in the requirements of research/applied research; to the demands of Masters level Dissertation/Project production, and to supporting the individual professional, career, or academic aspirations of each student   

The Programme design, delivery and teaching content provides powerful tools, decision making techniques, and learning experiences which are designed to develop the overall package of applied and reflective management skills which are required to become an effective business professional, an effective manager in an organisation, or as an employer of others within their own business.

Throughout the Programme students are encouraged to fully:-       

  • Utilise the broad range of academic resources and information sources which are available via the (GE) online Learning Portal and University on-line learning resources,·        
  • Utilise the continuous support offered by tutors available throughout the programme     
  • Balance group and individual study and learning opportunities     
  • Use and engage with the overall learning experience offered throughout the programme to support their development as rounded individuals who are able to find a suitable work-life balance and work towards achieving their career aspirations

Delivery pattern

The Programme is based on a trimester structure. The normal points of entry to the programme are intended to be August, November and April of each year normally at the beginning of each of these months. It is intended that there should also be an initial start-up entry point in June 2012 only which would accommodate a smaller initial cohort.     

The full-time MBA Programme comprises three circa fourteen week semesters in each of which students study various modules as indicated below.

Stage One - Semester One

The three modules studied in the first Core Subject Stage (semester 1) are compulsory. 

The Core Subject Stage Modules are:-

  • BU7216 - Managing Human Capital and Entrepreneurship (20 Credits FHEQ Level 7)
  • BU7202 - Marketing Management in the Global Environment (20 Credits FHEQ Level 7)
  • BU7203 - Financial Analysis and Management (20 Credits FHEQ Level 7)

Stage Two - Semester Two

In the second Study Stage, (semester 2) in addition to the two compulsory Core Modules the student is also required to study one Option Module from a menu of three modules.

The compulsory Core Modules delivered in the second study stage (semester 2) are:-



  •  BU7204 - Strategic Management in Global Contexts (20 Credits FHEQ Level 7)
  •  BU7209 - Research Methodologies Module (20 Credits FHEQ Level 7)

At the second stage the student studies one Option Module from the list of three options offered:

  • BU7206 - Corporate Finance (20 Credits FHEQ Level 7)
  • BU7207 - International Business (20 Credits FHEQ Level 7)
  • BU7208 - International Marketing Management (20 Credits FHEQ Level 7)

 Stage Three - Semester Three

The Dissertation/Project

Following a review of academic performance, and only following formal discussion with and advice and agreement received from the Research Methodologies tutor and the Programme Leader (or their confirmed nominees), the student will be required to study one of the Dissertation/Project study modes indicated below namely:-  

  • BU7215 An Integrated Case Study (prognostic, current or retrospective), OR -
  • BU7214 A Business Development Proposal. OR
  • BU7213 A Dissertation  


The programme structure has been designed to ensure that all learners participate in the compulsory core modules which establish the foundation for the MBA programme and which provide learners with the skills and competencies which are required for higher level professional career development and successful management.

The Option Modules menu provides learners with the opportunity to emphasise their programme of study according to their developing professional identity, career intentions and their academic focus. Option Modules also provide the opportunity for a focussed consideration and approach towards the Dissertation - Project field of development and enable students to gain knowledge, understanding and skills within areas they might wish to specialise in or have a particular interest in. 

The Dissertation/Project, which is undertaken in the third semester, provides a keynote focus for the development and demonstration of the skills, knowledge and critical cognitive abilities developed within the Programme. The Dissertation/Project is the culmination of the programme and is an integrated project which may combine a wide range of elements and/or reference points from across the taught modules. It enables the learner to carry out independent research into an organisation, or aspect of Business and Management,  or sector of choice and apply both knowledge and an understanding of contemporary issues to their work.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
BU7202 7 Marketing Management in the Global Environment 20 Comp
BU7203 7 Financial Analysis and Management 20 Comp
BU7204 7 Strategic Management in Global Contexts 20 Comp
BU7206 7 Corporate Finance 20 Optional
BU7207 7 International Business 20 Optional
BU7208 7 International Marketing Management 20 Optional
BU7209 7 Research Methodologies 20 Comp
BU7213 7 Dissertation Project 60 Comp
BU7214 7 Business Development Proposal 60 Comp
BU7215 7 Integrated Case Study 60 Comp
BU7216 7 Managing Human Capital and Entrepreneurship 20 Comp

Award Titles and Designation 

To be eligible for and to receive the award of an MBA, participants are required to gain 180 FHEQ Level 7 Credits (ECTS equivalent 90 Credits)

Eligibility for Exit Awards  

Where students leave the programme prematurely they will be eligible for exit awards provided they have satisfactorily passed the required assessments, completed the required modules and gained the required credit.  

Credit tariff  

  • 60 FHEQ Level 7 Credits for a Post Graduate Certificate in Management Studies        
  • 120 FHEQ Level 7 Credits for a Post Graduate Diploma in Management Studies        
  • 180 FHEQ Level 7 Credits for a Master of Business Administration (International Programme) 

Award Classification levels

To achieve an MBA, participants need to gain 180 level 7 credits.

To achieve an MBA award with distinction participants would normally be expected to gain a minimum of 70% in in at least 50% of their taught modules.  In order to be eligible for the conferment of a Merit, a candidate must attain a mark of 60% or higher in  at least half the credit for which numerical marks are available.  The modules may include the dissertation. Awards with distinction or merit will be considered by the teaching team and recommendations will be submitted at the Programme Awards Board.  The University does not confer Distinction or Merit on Postgraduate Certificate Awards.

The programme structure has been designed to ensure that participants cover the core modules that underpin the MBA and to equip them with the skills and competencies necessary for higher level management. The elective modules allow an element of choice to enable participants to attain knowledge, understanding and skills within areas they might wish to specialise in or have a particular interest in. 

Admission requirements will be consistent with the University's Widening Access and Participation Strategy. 

All applicants must normally: 

  • Possess an honours degree or equivalent i.e. professional qualification, from a recognised British or overseas institution, validated by the University International Office                   
  • Have a minimum of two years appropriate management or business or related employment field or related area experience
  • Essential criteria for the admission to the MBA (International Programme) are the applicant’s ability to complete the programme satisfactorily and benefit from it. Individuals will also be selected on the basis of the contribution they may be expected to make as well as the benefit they receive

Admission criteria and the entry qualifications for the MBA (International Programme) programmes may include having:- 

  • (i) A Non-Honours Bachelors Degree with 360 credits in a business related or cognate subject from a UK university and relevant evidenced experience (normally two years)                 
  • (ii) An Honours Degree from a UK University in a business or non-business related or cognate subject where the applicant has evidenced relevant experience (normally two years)
  • (iii) An equivalent certificated degree from a non-UK institution to those specified in (i) and (ii) above                           
  • (iv) In exceptional circumstances applications may also be considered from mature applicants who are able to demonstrate and provide significant evidence of relevant professional and/or academic experience.
  • (v) Applicants who were taught and assessed in languages other than English should normally have an English language equivalent to IELTS 6.5; 

Mature Candidates

Mature candidates with significant management or related employment field experience may be admitted to the programme without degree or degree equivalent qualifications if they can demonstrate their potential to meet the learning requirements of the programme.

Eligibility will be determined by means of an interview with the admissions tutor and subject to confirmation with the MBA Director of Studies (GE) and final confirmation with the university. All students must provide written references for their work experience. (Applicants may also be formally considered for admission to the programme using the appropriate APEL, APCL, APA, APL procedures at each Programme Stages).    

Advanced Entry with APL/APCL Credit  

Entrants with CIPD accreditation will be considered for exemptions from the following modules: Management Skills and Entrepreneurship, Managing Human Capital, and Strategic Management. Entrants with ACCA accreditation will be considered for exemptions from the following modules: Financial Analysis and Management, Strategic Management and Managing Human Capital  

The MBA (International Programme) is a generalist and career development type 3 FHEQ Level 7 programme.

The MBA (International Programme) is designed for those who are seeking to develop their career path and their professional capabilities in business and management areas. The programme provides a supportive and critically focussed learning environment which builds upon the previous learning and appropriate employment experiences of the individual student. Students are expected to normally have two years of appropriate employment experience and appropriate academic qualifications. The programme delivery is particularly alert to, and sensitive to, the needs of international students who come from a wide variety of cultures, perceptions, backgrounds, international locations and who bring with them differentiated ways of thinking about, doing and percieving business and management activities.

  • The MBA is defined as a career development generalist programme for those who have post-graduation and relevant work experience on which the learning process should build. Normally, the experience required will be at least two years with the typical entrant having substantially more than this. The main emphasis of these programmes is on leadership through strategic management. While the academic level is positioned no differently from that of Type 2 programmes, there is a strong practical and professional orientation to the curriculum and they may be linked to professional institute qualifications.

Teaching and delivery of the curricular material will be through a blend of lectures, tutorials, seminars and workshops and other appropriate teaching modes and utilising a variety of learning and assessment methods, including; -

  • The consideration of a variety of types and sources of case studies and evidence references
  • Individual and/or team presentations
  • Joint class discussions
  • Tutorial-support surgeries; and other appropriate learning methods

A summary of approaches are indicated below.  A combination of the following learning and teaching methods are used:      

  • Action Focussed Learning
  • Employability focussed activities (Applied case study and in class formative assessment)        
  • Formal lectures and briefings/discussion 
  • Workshops
  • Individual and group-team tutorials
  • Presentations – (formative in class and in-assignment assessed)
  • Seminars and group discussions
  • Case study analysis - (Formative in class and Summative)
  • Assignments and Report writing and presentation
  • Directed and independent study, e.g. using on-line materials

Students are expected to undertake:- 

  • Directed learning:-namely where tutors direct students to undertake study in their own time and specify the work to be undertaken; and increasingly take responsibility for-
  • Their self-managed and independent learning: - namely where students are expected to expand their knowledge and understanding by researching and studying the subject area using their initiative.  

At the Masters level students are expected to take increasing responsibility for their individual learning and for their development of approaches to learning. These strategies are facilitated within the design of the programme and are designed to encourage the development of student confidence in their abilities while developing individual cognitive abilities, understanding of discipline and subject content, academic and professional knowledge, reflection on academic and applied aspects of the programme, application skills and an enquiring mind capable of devising and/or implementing creative solutions.  


At Masters Level lectures provide the overview framework within which learning can be coherently and effectively delivered within the programme. They are devised to enable students to contextualise their learning within the keynote concepts and subject exploration appropriate for the programme. Lectures also enable a congruent and consistent body of knowledge to be taught to student cohorts where career backgrounds and professional experience may vary according to individual experience. Lectures provide a background to directed learning but also provide a means for engendering critical thinking and the consideration of evaluative and analytic approaches to topics and subject areas.


Seminars at Masters Level are designed to enable students to develop their critical perspectives on a topic or subject within the programme. They require students to conceive and provide critical papers exploring subject areas or topics related to themes explored in the programme modules.   Seminars explore theoretical or practical concepts as well as introducing problem solving and creative thinking within the programme. Seminars are used to provide students with valuable experience in the presentation of argument and discussion at a professional standard as well as providing opportunities for formative, and where appropriate, summative feedback to individuals and to student groups on their academic performance and skills development.

Module Subject Tutorials 

Masters Level tutorials provide opportunities for detailed discussion on academic matters with individual students or groups of students. In the latter case discussion may include consideration of group approaches to a problem, or assignment task, or similar area of academic support.

Tutorials also provide opportunities for:-  

  • Detailed discussion on material covered in lectures/seminars/case studies through an enquiry-driven problem solving approach
  • Providing academic support and guidance related to the development of the student(s) within the Programme                       

 Practical Workshops 

Practical workshops provide direct skills development support in specific modules (e.g. in Information Technology areas and Finance and Accounting).  Students are able to practise and refine their skills within a learning environment which provides formative and focussed feedback and contributes to the development of individual learning. Workshops at Masters Level also enhance applied skills and contribute to professional development capability. They facilitate transition between theory and the workplace.

Case Studies

Case studies drawn from a variety of “real world” references are designed as a part of the programme teaching and learning strategy. They are used in a range of modules and form a part of an effectively varied assessment strategy. Fictional, real, or simulated case studies are used to support the development of the students analytic, evaluative, and synthetic reasoning and the formation of robust judgments. Case studies may be retrospective, focussed on current problem areas, or prognostic in their developmental function.              

 Learning Strategies 

Students are expected to take greater responsibility for their own learning as they progress through their Programmes. The course structure and the proposed teaching strategies are designed to encourage this development.  The student-centred approach will be encouraged through the use of specific teaching strategies; case studies; projects; practical exercises, supplemented by the use of appropriate support materials; videos; computer software; etc.  Active engagement with the subject material is directly encouraged and is viewed as a means of enhancing learning. A variety of learning strategies are used in promoting this approach. Students are therefore directly encouraged to adopt a self-managed approach to their learning.


Assessment of knowledge and understanding is achieved using a range of assessments which include:-

  • Assignments
  • The analysis and critical use of evidence, which may be drawn from a variety of sources
  • Critical reviews and presentations
  • Practical and applied assessment
  • Presentations (individual and group)
  • Case study analysis
  • Presentation of reports
  • Business reports
  • Project reports
  • Examinations

Examinations are included in the assessment diet and the Programme assessment philosophy utilises mechanisms that allow and encourage in each student a high degree of critical analysis, problem solving, decision-making and reflection.   

The assessment of cognitive skills is incorporated within and integral to the assessment strategy of the programme and modules.   

Students are encouraged to use a wide range of evidential sources and information references as the basis for the production of work submitted for assessment. The use of individual skills of critique, analysis, evaluation and synthesis are a requirement of module assessment outcomes. 

Lecturers are expected to utilise a balance of diagnostic, formative and summative assessment during the programme appropriate to their module. These can range from providing feedback on presentations given in class, or exercises undertaken individually or in groups, to self-marked practice mini assignments via a detailed marking scheme provided to students via the virtual learning environment (Student Portal) or other means as appropriate.  

Assessment methods and tariffs  

Assessments will normally be related to a careful balance between assessing theoretical knowledge, applied concepts and practically focused, employment related activity. Case study evaluation, and business project proposal work and simulated activity will all be used and will parallel the exploration of the theoretical basis for business practices. Assignments are designed so that they meet QAA subject benchmark statement requirements and the overall programme learning outcomes.

A wide range of assessment methods will consequently be employed in the assessment of the participants.

Normally the assessment guidance tariff for a 40 credit module will indicate an assessment equivalent to:-

  • A maximum word length of 9000- 12000words  

All modules must be successfully completed in order to gain the MBA qualification.

Normally the guidance tariff for the assessment of a 20 credit module will have an assessment equivalent to:-

  • Either one 4,000-5500 word individual assignment, OR- 
  • An equivalent requirement to the above, OR-  
  • A 3 hour examination, in addition preparation time, including group learning sets, tutorials & student led case study workshops

The philosophy of the GE group and the University of Chester MBA (International Programme) places great emphasis on meeting the needs of those students who wish to operate in the international global business environment.  The recruitment target for the programme means that in addition to satisfying the attendance requirements of the university the attendance requirements of the UKBA are also required to be met. Consequently attendance will be monitored as students are expected to attend all lectures (unless where there are exceptional extenuating circumstances)  and they have made suitable arrangements with the programme leader. International students are required and expected to meet the regulatory stipulations of the UKBA while they are registered students at the university.

Students will also be expected to honour obligations to other students and staff when engaged in group work or work placements.  Non-compliance with the attendance requirements for the programme or with those of the UKBA will result in students being withdrawn from the programme. 

The developed body of knowledge gained from this programme will facilitate a systematic, scientific and reflective approach to business practices and management approaches and will enable graduating students to be adaptive, strategic thinkers able to evaluate critically and respond to complex business issues, and apply high-level business skills and knowledge from academic to the business internal and external context. The overall outcome from a student engaging with the programme of study will be a business professional, manager, or career professional in an aspect of business and management who is able to add value to the profession in which they are developing their career through meeting the needs and expectations of employers; and through their increased knowledge, skills and capacity to apply effectively acquired transferable, integrated skills. 

The MBA (International Programme) programme of study fully embraces the University's commitment to the active promotion of equality of opportunity and access to higher education. 

The  University seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Marital or parental status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins)
  • Creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or principles)
  • Membership or non-membership of a trade union and socio-economic background

It also aims to ensure that disabled people and those with specific needs do not suffer unfair discrimination, and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students.  

This programme is designed to fully embrace the University's commitment to diversity and equality. The programme is developed and delivered with the following aspects in mind:      

  • Admission requirements are clearly set out in promotional materials and due consideration is given to a policy of widening access, participation, diversity and equality.
  • Each module and the programme is developed in line with University policy to both promote equality and diversity and encourage all students in the development of their learning.         
  • There is flexibility in materials and delivery of teaching to support students with disability or from culturally diverse backgrounds and the Department works closely with Learning Support in delivering this support through Learning Support Plans.         
  • The induction week activities are designed to integrate all students both academically and socially and to make academic staff aware of any issues. 
  • Students are made aware of avenues of support if they a have any issues regarding diversity and equality. 
  • Assessments are designed to afford equal opportunity to all students to display their knowledge and skills.         
  • In order to ensure that the needs of all students are met any barriers to access (physical, environmental and curriculum) are identified and removed or reasonable adjustments will be made based on requirements.         
  • All learning materials and teaching and learning sessions are designed to be free from racist, sexist and other discriminatory assumptions and practices.

All tutors and support staff are aware of diversity issues and discharge their roles with knowledge and sympathy. At Induction all students are made aware of the Department structures to discuss issues should a concern arise. 

Additionally Staff Development Programmes addressing the specific issues of a diverse international student body are established as a part of GE experience over the last decade of delivery of programmes. GE recruits from over 120 countries and has established a significant experience in delivery to international learners from a variety of ethnic, personal belief, demographic and cultural backgrounds. The programme is delivered in English and provided the student has attained the defined standard and based on the previous experience of delivering to international student cohorts there will be no significant cultural issues related to equality of opportunity.

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