Quality Handbook



AQH-B2-3b Postgraduate Programme Specification Template February 2014




Postgraduate Programme Specification Template




MA/MBM/MSc Extended Award:


MA International Management (15-month)

Master of Business Management (15-month)

MSc Human Resource Management (15-month)

MA Marketing (15-month)

MSc Finance and Management (15-month)






Programme Name:

MA International Management (15-month)

Master of Business Management (15-month)

MSc Human Resource Management (15-month)

MA Marketing (15-month)

MSc Finance and Management (15-month)


Award Title: MA/MBM/MSc (as above)


Is this part of a group of linked programmes between which students can transfer at agreed points? (e.g. a group of programmes with a common set of taught modules): YES


This programme is one of a group of related programmes which also includes:

MA International Management (15-month)

Master of Business Management (15-month)

MSc Human Resource Management (15-month)

MA Marketing (15-month)

MSc Finance and Management (15-month)

It is possible to transfer between these programmes after having completed PGBM001


Is the programme a top-up only? No

Level of award: Level 7

Awarding body: University of Sunderland

Which department is it in? Sunderland Business School

Programme Studies Board: Postgraduate Business & Management

Programme Leader: Various

How and where can I study the programme?


At Sunderland:


Full-time on campus

Part-time on campus

As work-based learning


As work-based learning part-time


As a full-time sandwich course


As a part-time sandwich course


By distance learning



At UoS London campus:


Full-time on campus

Part-time on campus

As work-based learning full-time


As work-based learning part-time


As a full-time sandwich course


As a part-time sandwich course


By distance learning









How long does the programme take?



Min number of years / months

Max number of years / months


1 year

3 months

3 years

3 months




Distance learning



Work-based learning




For start-dates please see the current edition of the Prospectus or contact the relevant department at the University. For start-dates for programmes delivered in a partner college, please contact the college.



Learning and teaching strategy

The QAA Benchmark Statement for Masters Awards in Business and Management principally identifies four areas that must be addressed throughout the programmes. In as much as the curricula, and indeed extra-curricula, activities focus on these aspects, so to do the teaching, learning and assessment strategies. The strategy is based on the following purposes:

  • the advanced study of organisations, their management and the changing external context in which they operate through the use of seminars, workshops, tutorials and case studies;
  • preparation for and/or development of a career in business and management by developing skills at a professional or equivalent level, or as preparation for research or further study in the area through formative and summative assessment linked to skills development in a range of modules;
  • development of the ability to apply knowledge and understanding of business and management to complex issues, both systematically and creatively, to improve business and management practice through case studies, organisational visits, on-line discussions and in peer learning and support group tasks;
  • enhancement of lifelong learning skills and personal development so as to be able to work with self direction and originality and to contribute to business and society at large through original and independent study and research.


Research on the Programme

The programme is designed to be research-led, research-oriented, research-tutored and research-based. Fundamental to the programme is that research is made meaningful to students so they understand the personal, professional, intellectual and importantly, the practical relevance of research.


Research-led:  the curriculum emphasises the teaching of the subject content from an academically robust stance i.e. students learn about the latest research in the subject field where the emphasis is on understanding research findings, rather than the research process, and research is presented as information content. Academic depth and rigour is achieved through ensuring the design incorporates current research literature in the field of study. It includes embedding current research both faculty and beyond. Students will be engaged in locating, collecting, referencing, critiquing, applying evidence, challenging assumptions, questioning and interpreting contemporary research articles, conference papers and case studies. Research active Faculty will also deliver guest speaker sessions several times during the year.   The development of students’ research skills are progressed through the dissertation/research module in each of the different programmes as follows:

MBM – PGBM71 Management Futures Project; MBA – PGBM73 MBA Dissertation; MAIM – Dissertation PGBM119 and MSc Finance and Management.


Research-oriented:  the curriculum emphasises the process of knowledge construction in the subject. In research-oriented mode, students learn about the research process by which knowledge is produced. This will be embedded through: the teaching of research methods with the specific modules as noted above.


Research-tutored: The programme and curriculum emphasises learning focused on students writing and discussing research papers or essays. Students are actively engaged in evaluating and critiquing the research of others. This will be a focus in all modules across the programme.


Research-based:  The programme and curriculum emphasises students undertaking inquiry-based and problem based learning. The learning division between lecturer and student is minimised and the teaching mode is based on cooperation/dialogue. This research will involve primary research within an organisation and/or theory to practice, depending on the learning outcomes of the specific Masters’ programme. 


Responsible Leadership, Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability

All the postgraduate business programmes are vocational in the sense that they are clearly aimed at helping graduates move in to successful business and management careers. The programmes are clearly linked to an organisational visits and speakers programme that aims to give students access to key organisations in the region. Ethics, responsibility and sustainability (ERS) in the field of business, management and responsible leadership adheres to the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) specifically: Principle 1 – Purpose : developing capabilities of students to be future generators of sustainable value for business and society at large and to work for an inclusive and sustainable economy;  Principle 3 – Method: create educational frameworks, materials, processes and environments that enable effective learning experiences for responsible leadership  and Principle 5 - Partnership – interact with managers of business corporations to extend our knowledge of their challenges in meeting social and environmental responsibilities to explore jointly effective approaches to meeting these challenges.  The University’s management programmes also adhere to the values promoted by the accreditation bodies such as the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD). The Masters’ programmes therefore are aligned against the guiding standard produced by the EFMD’s Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS) to shape its programme and module design and redesign to ensure that ‘all students are provided with a perspective on the role of ERS in modern management and business so that, as future managers, they contribute to societal well-being’. 


Underpinning Activities

  • The development of post-graduate programmes have an ERS theme embedding into them.  Our curriculum framework has been developed to include ERS as part of the deliberation process when developing and revising all aspects of pedagogy at the school during the product review and refresh process.
  • We continue to explore the significance of ERS for each specific subject discipline and module and consider how relevant content can be best delivered to enhance the student learning experience
  • Ongoing engagement and interaction with managers of business includes business breakfast seminars which cover issues of ERS,  a speaker series involving managers and leaders from a range of organisational contexts and organised company visits
  • ERS is integrated throughout all relevant taught modules (see below for programme specific ERS integration)


The modules across all the Extended Masters programmes have ethics, responsibility and sustainability (ERS) themes; for example PGBM04 International Business Environment and PGBM08 International Trade.  More specific aspects of ERS are inherent in PGBM18 International HRM.  Students also have an opportunity to further examine ethics, responsibility and sustainability (ERS) in a specific context during their research dissertation.


The Extended Programme requires learners to undertake 45 additional Level 7 credits studied prior to the modules that make up the standard Masters programmes. The additional 45 credits will seek to develop your academic skills to a standard that is expected of those about to commence a Masters programme in a business-related field. As well as looking to improve academic writing skills, it will foster the development of high skills around presentations, extractive reading, critical evaluation, academic argument and debate, and academic work and negotiation on a cross cultural platform. Additionally the credits will seek to improve your knowledge and understanding of business and of research methods skills and self-reflection through the completion of a business related project.


The curriculum includes a broad range of modules based on research in both subject and pedagogy, The Team makes extensive use of Sunspace on a programme and module basis including on-line discussion boards, surveys and scheduled chats.  All programmes make use of Peer Action Learning Sets (PALS), which have been developed and refined over a number of years to encourage cross-cultural learning. These groups have been the subjects of an extended research project the findings of which have recently been published in the International Journal of Management Education. 


To continue to promote social inclusion, equality of opportunity, access and widening participation; and To design an internationalised curriculum and its delivery, such that it is informed by research, reach-out and stakeholder input, that it is not a barrier to any of the diverse range of members of the University learning community

The design of the Programme and its teaching and learning strategy is based on a continued commitment to, and is intended to support the diversity of students and the University’s successful widening participation policy. It does this via:


  • A detailed induction programme that introduces students to their programme and to the University. This involves sessions on study skills, support services, on the UK ‘style’ of education and on cross cultural team working.
  • A student handbook, which provides information on the module reading lists, Sunspace content, and study skills as well as providing information on the course structure and the learning outcomes.
  • Guidance on careers and progression. Whilst a number of students may arrive on the programme with a clear idea of their future career path, others are not so certain. In consequence, the Programme Team will work closely with the Careers and Opportunities Centre to help students understand the options available to them


To provide a high quality, appropriately resourced, safe and healthy learning environment for all members of the academic learning community based on an understanding of how learners learn and Continuously improve quality in all aspects of academic delivery

As noted above a number of modules within the curriculum are directly related to staff research/reach-out/professional activity. Additionally, a number of staff research interests focus on Management Education and their research directly influence their teaching approaches or the operating practices of the Programme. One member of the teaching team has co-edited the textbook Developing Skills for Business Leadership.


To support and enable continuous improvement of the learning experience, including the e-learning experience, through a blended approach of learning modes

The teaching and learning methodologies are designed to encourage, over the duration of the Programmes, a greater independence within students for taking responsibility for their own learning. The balance of lectures and workshops, the varying uses of Sunspace (including self-assessment exercises and asynchronous debates) and the incorporation of self-directed study into the modules all contribute to the development of independent learners. In addition, extra-curricula activities such as organisational visits and guest speaker’s programmes encourage students to engage in activities that, although not assessed, contribute directly to their learning and to their career prospects.


Retention strategy

The University’s Academic Strategy emphasises the student experience and the postgraduate programmes team has been recognised consistently as providing excellent support to students as evidenced through the feedback obtained at Staff/Student Liaison meetings as well as staff and student feedback at both module and programme level.  There are a number of elements relating to student support (both academic and personal) which have contributed to the programme teams achievements and which continue to be at the centre of all our academic provision.

All on campus students will have access to the University's central support services including Counselling, Disability service, Health and Well-being, Chaplaincy, financial support and advice, International Office and the Careers and Employability Service. The Students Union provides an independent service which offers advice and support across the full range of personal and academic issues which students may encounter. Students wishing to lodge a complaint or an appeal can seek advice from the Students Union or from University Academic Services. Full details of these services can be found on the University's website. Where appropriate, academic or support staff in the Faculty will sign post students to these specialist services. In addition, students have access to a personal tutor section on Sunspace which is an information source for many of these services. The Programme Leader will continue to be available to all students should they require advice or one-to-one support on a particular issue. In addition guest speakers and company visits will provide support to the students learning experience. Partner colleges will endeavour to provide a comparable level of support in conjunction with the University facilities. Part time students have access to all facilities and efforts are made to accommodate work commitments through alternative communications systems and times.


The Learning Teaching and Assessment Strategy recognises the University’s strong and continuing commitment to access and equality of opportunity and in light of the University’s success in widening participation, the Business School is concerned to ensure that all students are retained through receiving appropriate support and guidance throughout the duration of their study and beyond.


In line with the University Student Success Strategy, the Business School has implemented a systemic, consistent and effective approach to supporting the student learning journey and ultimately student retention through:

  1. Provision of an on-going induction programme which provides students (new and returning) with the key programme information they require and increases awareness of the personal and career development opportunities applicable to their year of study;
  2. Provision of an induction which focuses on transitioning new students and those who are direct entrants into their HE environment;
  3. Utilisation of Learning Journey staff to support students who require additional help and guidance at critical times in their learning journey so they are able to continue with, or return to their programme of study.  This particularly applies to students with low attendance, assessment problems and those on leave of absence or with progression issues;
  4. Paying ongoing attention to the attendance monitoring system and ensuring Programme Teams and Personal tutors intervene when required
  5. Ongoing  Personal Tutoring activity to encourage and increase student engagement


See also details outlined in Student Support.






What is the programme about?

Our postgraduate programmes offer the opportunity to study a range of subjects.  Students studying the extended, 15 month, option will be able to select and/or transfer to a number of our postgraduate programmes. This includes MA Marketing, MSc HRM, Masters in Business Management, MA International Management and MSc Finance and Management and students should read the programme specifications for those programmes that are of interest to them. In advance of this students study PGBM001 which is a module entitled “Introduction to Postgraduate Projects, Research Methods and Study skills”. 


This module aims to give learners the skills required to undertake a project relevant to their chosen programme. It will assess learners' ability to apply their knowledge of the sector, use appropriate analytical skills to investigate a sector-related topic and solve problems. The module provides the learner with understanding of the methods and methodology used in post graduate level research and the study skills necessary to select relevant sources of information, analyse data and implement research. The module requires the learner to conduct secondary and quantitative and qualitative research on a topic, so that they can critically evaluate the contribution of the alternative research processes to the end research.


  • Learners will be required to formulate a detailed project proposal on a relevant topic that interests them and which will contribute to their professional development.
  • Learners will carry out an initial critical review of key secondary sources of knowledge for the project proposal.
  • Learners will select and justify an appropriate research methodology for their project proposal, and present the proposal, before undertaking project research.
  • Learners will collect and analyse research data using appropriate established techniques, use established techniques to address their project requirements, critically evaluate the project outcomes and make justified recommendations for further study.
  • Learners must obtain approval for their project topic from the tutor before they begin developing their project proposal



All teaching is conducted in English and a variety of different learning and teaching methods and assessments are used.


Teaching methods will include – classes, lectures, seminars, tutorials, group work, directed study, independent learning and will be conducted in and out of the Centre. Students will be given guided learning hours, but should note that not all of the hours will be conducted in a classroom setting.  


Students will be actively encouraged to research using problem solving and critical thinking skills.   Students will be expected to behave like a typical postgraduate student within a UK university and be self-motivated and concentrate on the assessments that they are given.


What will I know or be able to do at the end of the programme?

By the end of this part of the programme successful students should know, understand or be able to do the following:



K1Demonstrate critical knowledge and understanding of research methodologies in a business management context

K2Demonstrate and critically evaluate techniques and practices for increasing self-awareness as postgraduate researchers



S1Ability to apply relevant critical and evaluative skills to be able to  identify, investigate, analyse and evaluate a problem utilising research               methodologies in a business management context

S2Ability to critically evaluate and present research results

S3Ability to reflect on the learning process


See Learning Outcomes for the Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and MA/MBM/MSc within the standard programme specifications published on the University website. 


What will the programme consist of?

The Extended programme normally requires 15 months study on a full time basis. However, as well as the final award there are two interim awards within this programme. These are:

Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert.)

Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip.)


The interim awards are available to those students wishing to leave the course having gained

60 M-level credits excluding PGBM001 (PG Cert.) or 120 M-level credits excluding PGBM001 (PG Dip.) respectively. The full award is acquired by the attainment of 225 M-level credits overall which usually includes 60 credits from a supervised independent research project. The pattern of delivery involves full time students studying the three strands of the MSc in the same academic year. The learning materials will be the same for all students on a module. The timetable for full time study is shown below in diagram form.







PG Certificate

PG Diploma

Master of Science


Introduction to Postgraduate Projects, Research Methods and Study Skills (45 credits)

60 credits

(as listed in the standard programme specification)


60 credits

(as listed in the standard programme specification)



Dissertation/Project incorporating research methods 60 credits or run separately on MA Marketing 45 credits and 15 credits




Students studying full time would normally be expected to complete the programme in 15 months

How will I be taught?

Scheduled teaching activities

Independent study




A range of teaching and learning methods are employed across each level of the Programmes and are described more fully in the standard programme specifications. These methods encourage learners to develop the intellectual and cognitive skills that are required of all graduates irrespective of their final destination. Module descriptors are available separately. The diversity of teaching and learning approaches is designed to impart knowledge, to encourage understanding and to provide opportunity for the application of that knowledge to actual or hypothetical situations. It is also intended to foster enthusiasm within the student body.  In addition, the employment of any particular method within modules and across levels will vary so as to cater appropriately for both the subject and the student. That notwithstanding all modules will employ to some extent the following features:

  • Didactic exposition: although this will vary from module to module, and indeed from teacher to teacher, all modules will take advantage of the opportunity for the tutor to explain to the whole class, a concept, to take questions, to outline areas of knowledge, indicate methods of tackling a problem and demonstrate methods of analysis and synthesis of materials. Audio-visual aids will be used as appropriate, such as the use of overhead slides, ‘PowerPoint’ and video. Key points will normally be outlined in handouts.
  • Interactive sessions: whether during seminars or whole group teaching sessions, students will be expected in the course of all modules to interact with each other and/or with the tutor to develop ideas, work on tasks, practice skills or explain material.
  • Research: During induction and the programme, students will be introduced to the research techniques The induction programme contains activities which introduce students to the library (including practical exercises) and to the available electronic sources of information e.g. Emerald. All modules, throughout the Programme, require students to engage in the research of both primary and secondary sources of management information. The level and depth of research required for the completion of modules will then increase as the student progresses throughout their Programme culminating in the final dissertation module.
  • Directed Private Study: This will include reading, preparation for class or for assessment, group activity, revision, and carrying out assessment work. All module guides will provide students with advice in respect of this, and as a minimum will provide details of required reading (for preparation of timetabled sessions and/or for the completion of assessments). Whilst these methods will form the backbone of much of the teaching and learning strategy, the programmes utilize a much wider, more eclectic combination of approaches.


As is evident throughout this specification, Sunspace has become an important element of the teaching and learning strategy with its specific usage varying from module to module. Where modules are delivered off-campus, our strategic partners may use other Virtual Learning Environment systems in place of Sunspace to support student learning.  In some instances Sunspace is used mainly as a repository for module documents, such as lecture materials and overhead slides, whilst others involve direct web links, discussion boards and self-assessment exercises. Sunspace is part of the programme teams aim to offer a blended approach to teaching and learning by using a range of tools in the delivery of the modules.


Case studies are extremely common throughout the Programme and are intended to enable students to develop, inter alia, the ability to;

  • Identify the issues in need of research;
  • Apply subject specific knowledge to a realistic and/or practical context;
  • Make critical judgments of the merits of a particular argument; and
  • Present and make reasoned choices between alternative solutions.

The case studies may take the form of real cases or issues in debate at any given moment in time or may be hypothetical problems which are reflective of realistic problems.

Peer Action Learning Sets and Support Groups - Collaborative work is supported by an integral part of our (PALS) provision. This scheme has the following aims:

  • Enable students to learn with and from each other by reflecting on real and theoretical problems and issues
  • Encourage and develop skills in cross cultural team working
  • Develop an active approach to learning
  • Provide mutual support to group members from a range of diverse backgrounds

The Peer Action Learning Sets seek to draw on the strengths of the group members by sharing practical and academic experiences, and by encouraging critical reflection on the nature of the subjects being studied.  Jacques, D. (2000) argues that: “groups are demonstrably valuable for many of the more sophisticated aims of Higher Education to do with critical thinking, making diagnoses or decisions, solving problems, and changing or maintaining attitudes to the subject under study.” The role of the PALS is to support the programme’s intellectual aims of enhancing criticality, judgement, analysis and understanding of values as well as providing the support to underpin them. This could include strengthening the student’s sense of belonging to the programme, helping develop trust and encouraging enthusiasm for the subject.  These issues are even more important when dealing with international students who may be studying in the UK for the first time. Team working skills are of course seen as of vital importance for future management roles. The PALS enables students to develop experiences in collaborative decision making, interpersonal skills and negotiation.  Groups are encouraged to engage in Action Learning through a continuous process of learning and reflection, supported by their peers. Through this process individuals learn with and from each other by working on real problems and reflecting on their own experiences.  The key to the PALS is the relationship between reflection and action,


Self-directed study is included in all modules as a way of encouraging students to take a greater responsibility in respect of their learning experience.


The teaching and learning methods adopted take account of the diverse educational backgrounds of students and also consider students with special needs and specific learning difficulties, Sunspace being particularly helpful in this respect.  It has been noted for example that some International students are happier engaging in on-line discussions then they might be in face-to-face debates in workshops. The Business and Management team recognises the importance of appropriate support and guidance, for all students, in the overall teaching and learning strategy. The ability of students to make the most of the learning opportunities offered to them may be adversely affected by non-academic factors and this documents outlines the provisions within the Programmes, School and the wider University which are available.


A list of the modules in the programme can be found in the Programme Regulations.


A summary of the types of teaching, learning and assessment in each module of the programme can be found in the Matrix of Modes of Teaching.



How will I be assessed and given feedback?

Written examinations


Practical assessments


A summary of the types of teaching, learning and assessment in each module of the programme can be found in the Matrix of Modes of Teaching.


For the first module a single assessment (100% weighted) of between 6,000 and 7,000 words will be required

Students are required to create a portfolio demonstrating study and primary research skills. This can also show a record of project experiences written in the style of a research diary or journal.


In the portfolio students need to show how they formulated their research question, how they undertook the research and any difficulties they had, discuss how they analysed their findings and evaluate development of their research and study skills including a skills audit noting the strengths and weaknesses of these skills.

A reflection on the module experience and learning also needs to be produced.


The Portfolio should include:

  • Their research proposal
  • A self skills audit
  • A literature review in a sector and/or subject relevant business area*
  • A reflection on the background to their research topic
  • A hypothesis
  • Types of data used (primary/secondary/quantitative/qualitative)
  • Sample (ease of access/number of participants),
  • Data collection tools (questionnaires/interviews/focus groups)
  • A Reflection on the module experience and learning
  • A bibliography and terms of reference


(* Potential sectors in which to base research could include management in Retail, Services, Tourism, Hospitality, Finance, Insurance, Technology etc. Research could also specialise in Business and Management subject areas such as HR, Finance, Operations, Strategy, Marketing, Change Management etc.)


The generic assessment criteria which we use can be found here. Some programmes use subject-specific assessment criteria which are based on the generic ones.


This programme uses the Generic University Assessment Criteria



This programme uses the Subject Specific Assessment Criteria




The University regulations can be found here.


The assessment strategy adopted on the programme is designed to;

  • Ensure that all graduates have achieved the learning outcomes for the Programmes. Module Learning Outcomes are directly related to Programme Learning Outcomes and all assessments indicate which Module Learning Outcome they are assessing.
  • Assess achievement, both formatively and summatively over the whole of the degree programme.
  • Distinguish between levels of achievement and reward attainment of objectives
  • Utilise a range of assessment methods and techniques which engage student interest and foster enthusiasm for the subject.


Students are informed, via Module Guides, of the nature, timing and criteria for each assessment used. The programme leaders work with staff to ensure that the deadlines for assessed work are spread across the assessment period. All assessments are internally moderated by designated members of the team and by the relevant External Examiners before issue. Careful moderation processes and scrutiny of assessment ensure equivalence of standard and appropriateness of assessment for measuring outcomes. An internal and external moderation operates likewise with regard to completed student work.


The assessment strategy requires the use of a diverse range of methods; research assignments, case studies, essays and reports offering the opportunity for students to demonstrate knowledge, understanding and application of both theory and practice. Such methods will also allow students to indicate both the breadth and depth of their directed and independent research. Examinations are deliberately kept to a minimal level as they are not necessarily thought to be the best way of assessing knowledge and understanding. This is a view that the team has taken following a great deal of discussion with external examiners and within subject groups. Case studies, based on real or hypothetical facts of varying degrees of complexity, are a common assessment method adopted across the programme. Whilst most are fictional, all have elements of fact within them, and thus students are well schooled and tested in the ability to identify the material details, discuss the relevant theoretical frameworks citing appropriate primary and secondary sources and displaying appropriate skills in writing and evaluation. Students are encouraged to participate in group work, particularly in seminar or workshop activities, Its formal inclusion in assessments however is limited, principally on the grounds that the final qualification is awarded to individual students and thus should be based on individual work.  Where group work is used the module guide will indicate in clear terms how individual performance is assessed. Presentation skills are also an important element of the programme and are utilised frequently within seminars and workshops.


Teaching, learning and assessment matrix


How does research influence the programme?


As noted earlier a number of modules within the curriculum are directly related to staff research/reach-out/professional activity. Additionally, a number of staff research interests focus on Management Education and their research directly influence their teaching approaches or the operating practices of the Programme. One member of the teaching team has co-edited the textbook Developing Skills for Business Leadership.




How will the programme prepare me for employment?

The Postgraduate Business team provide some information and guidance on the possible careers available to students through a variety of mechanisms.

  • The University VLE has specific pages attached to the Programme space with links to external sources of information such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the Chartered Institute of Management and direct links to the Careers and Employability Service.
  • The Visiting Speakers Programme includes guest speakers some of whom are our own graduates. We encourage all speakers to talk about their own career paths to help students to understand the options available to them. In a similar manner the Company Visits programme provides an opportunity for students to enquire during the visits what skills and competences they might require to pursue employment within a particular organisation or business sector.
  • The PALS activities allow students to identify and have regard to future careers and this allows PALS tutors to offer advise and/or redirect the student to University services such as the Careers and Employability Service
  • The Programme and Module learning outcomes are clearly business and management related and thus provide students with the necessary subject knowledge to progress into management careers. The Programme also encourages the development of key transferable employability skills; abilities to research, to present information and communicate orally and in writing, to work independently and as a member of a team, to reflect on one's own performance and provide and respond to feedback and to make critical judgements are all addressed by specific Programme learning outcomes.



The Faculty’s employability strategy is underpinned by the philosophy that graduates will be more employable if they have clear self-awareness.  Our role and the objective of our programmes is to provide our students with opportunities to explore, discover and express their unique identity and to encourage engagement with experiences which will increase self efficacy and provide tangible evidence of their identity and thereby their employability.


This is achieved through a comprehensive range of curriculum based teaching, learning and assessment strategies which explicitly and implicitly support our employability objectives, providing students with opportunities to explore their values, challenge and grow their intellect, demonstrate their ability achieve performance objectives, and to successfully engage with others, including employers and wider networks. The programme content and learning approach is underpinned by graduate attributes and the University’s Futures employability strategy. Specific activities are embedded in the modules, for example, as noted above, group work on the case studies and the Peer Action Learning Sets (please see page 9)



Award, Route (if applicable) and Level

New/Existing/ Modified  Module

Module Title

Module Code

Module Credit Value

Core or Option

Must choose

Assessment weighting %


Module leader

Other comment (if required)

Date of Entry on SITS.





Introduction to PG Projects, Research Methods and Study Skills







L Barkas












Core / Option

Modes of T&L

Modes of Assessment






Intro to PG Projects, RM and Study Skills



Workshops; Tutorials; Directed- and Self-Directed study

Portfolio of evidence








Some business and management students will want to continue their studies after they graduate. This may further academic study at Ph.D. level or a course leading to a vocational qualification in a related field, for example, professional accountancy qualifications. Some students will also move on to the PGCE and look for a career in teaching, again with the potential of making use of their business and management skills in the teaching of AS/A Level Business Studies. The Graduate Research School and the Careers and Employability Service has a wide range of information available to students should they choose to continue with their studies. There are also opportunities for on-campus students outside your programme of study. For information about other opportunities available to our students who study on campus, click here.

Additional opportunities to develop your experiences more widely will vary if you study at one of our partner colleges. For information about the extra-curricular activities available in any of our colleges please contact the college direct. 


Professional statutory or regulatory body (PSRB) accreditation

PSRB accreditation is not relevant to this programme 

PSRB accreditation is currently being sought for this programme


This programme currently has PSRB accreditation



The programme is currently accredited until:

The relevant PSRB(s) is/are:

The terms of the accreditation are as follows:

The programme is recognised as:


There are programme-specific regulations relating to the following. Details are given in the programme regulations:


The modules to be studied


Pass-marks for some or all modules and/or parts (elements) of modules 


Placement requirements


Attendance requirements


Professional practice requirements


Final or overall mark for the award  


Other: To graduate with an Extended Masters degree students are required to successfully complete a total of 225 credits at Level 7 rather than the 180 credit outlined in the Regulations. For the interim award of a PG Certificate, students must successfully achieve 60 credits excluding PGBM001. For the interim award of a PG Diploma, student must successfully achieve 120 credits excluding PGBM001.



Interim or exit awards are not accredited. 



Use Programme Regulations Form, for questions 36 and 37




What are the admissions requirements?

The admissions policy incorporates the guidance from Corporate and Recruitment Services and Sunderland Business School Recruitment Office (see the University Admissions Policy).


Entry point (delete those not required)

Standard entry requirements1

Entry with advanced standing2


Level 7 (Extended Masters awards) – start of programme

BA Honours at 3rd

BSc at 3rd


Or equivalent.


  • Applicants will be expected to possess a third class honours degree. Alternatively they may possess a professional qualification (or combination of qualifications) recognised as being the equivalent of an honours degree.  Applicants who do not meet the above requirements may exceptionally be considered (normally following an interview) at the discretion of the programme leader.
  • Where an applicant’s first language is not English they will be required to demonstrate evidence of achievement of 6 overall in the International English Language Testing Scheme (IELTS) with all element scores of 5.5 or higher.


The University’s standard admissions requirements can be found in the university regulations.

Programme-specific requirements which are in addition to those regulations are given below. 


Can students enter with advanced standing?




The University has a process by which applicants whose experience to date already covers one or more modules of the programme they are applying for may seek Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL). Full details can be found here but if you think that this may be relevant to you, please contact the department which offers the programme you are interested in.


What kind of support and help will there be?

In the department: The Induction Programme is intended to introduce students to all aspects of their time at Sunderland – to the staff associated with their programme; to the School; to the wider University and indeed to the study of their programme. The Induction week is an important aspect of the Programme. All students will be;

  • provided with a Programme Handbook
  • introduced to the programme curriculum and to some of the skills involved in the study of their programme
  • provided with information on academic referencing including information on the University Regulations on Cheating, Plagiarism and Collusion
  • provided with information in respect of central University support facilities i.e. student counselling, the Chaplaincy, the Student Office, financial guidance and assistance
  • provided with specific guidance of disability support facilities within the University, how these may be accessed and the benefits of so doing
  • introduced to the University’s VLE and the support facilities available in relation to the Programme, to modules and to careers services
  • given an opportunity to interact with the staff of the School and each other and have some fun!

All students are allocated to a PALS group and assigned a PALS group tutor by the end of Induction Week.  The Tutor is a member of academic staff from the Business School and will work closely with the PALS group in forming effective working relationships and developing management and transferable skills over the course of the programme. The activities of the PALS group will take the form of a learning and development toolkit including ELLI profiling and 360° feedback. This element of critical self reflection will help in refining the skills and experience they already possess as MBA students. The activities are designed to develop the students' transferable skills alongside their awareness of cross-cultural issues and the simulation of working across international boundaries. The PALS groups provide an opportunity for students to practice self-management skills which are beneficial to them both as students and as future employees. It helps students to:

  • take responsibility for their own learning
  • be aware of how learning relates to the wider context
  • improve general skills for study and career management
  • provide evidence of achievements.

In most instances, and with regard to specific modules, the first point of contact for studies advice will be the module leaders and/module tutors, all of whom are willing to provide advice at the end of formal class contact time, in module surgery sessions (where these form a part of the teaching and learning strategy for the module) and in staff surgery time.  Academic staff post times when they are available (on a weekly basis) for consultation outside of the normal class contact time. (Sunderland Only)  Basic study skills are included in the induction programme, in the Student Handbook and on the VLE. In addition the Faculty has appointed a number of Academic Advisors who are based in Sunderland provide a full range of group and one-to-one sessions on the development of study skills. Students are encouraged to make use of these additional facilities in terms of the value added to the overall learning experience. Students are given detailed, hands-on training in the use of the University’s VLE as part of the Induction Programme. They are offered the opportunity to post questions or initiate discussions through a number of module spaces and through the Programme space. Academic staff and other students can engage in these discussions and thereby encourage the whole academic community to act as a support mechanism for its members. Various web links are provided to ensure that students have the most up to date information available.

In the university as a whole: The University provides a range of professional support services including health and well-being, counselling, disability support, and a Chaplaincy. Click on the links for further information.

In a partner college: Please see the relevant college prospectus or website for details of student support if you are planning to study in one of our partner colleges.


What resources will I have access to?

On campus

General Teaching and Learning Space









Information about the University’s facilities can be found here.


University Library & Study Skills Services, (ULSSS), supports students with the provision of a high quality learning environment, comprehensive print and online resource collections, 1400 study places, 300+ PCs, My Module Resources and study skills support.


All students have the full use of the University’s two libraries. The libraries are open extensive hours and are staffed for 59 hours a week, including weekends and evenings.  During core teaching weeks, The Murray library is open 24x7 and St Peters library is open until 12 midnight.


The ULSSS web site provides a gateway to information resources and services for students both on and off campus. Tailored resources and support are available from specific subject areas of the ULSSS web site and a ‘Live Chat’ function enables student to access library support and help 24/7.


My Module Resources

Module reading lists are live interactive resource lists available from within online module spaces on SunSpace and the University’s library website.


What do you get?

          Real time library information, both availability and location of print books, plus being able to place reservations on books that are already on loan

          Allows you to set up RSS alerts for changes and additions to your Module Resource  list

          Smartphone and tablet friendly – providing QR capture, touch screen functionality and e-resource access

How does this help you?

          Getting the right resources easily from flexible access points

          Receive guidance from your tutor on what to read  at a point of need by using search filters

          Access to a wider range of resources to support learning.


Study Skills Support

University Library Services includes a robust study skills support offer, available to all our students across the University both on and off campus, contributing to students’ attainment and the quality of their experience.


Skills delivery options include:

  • Online Skills Support including:  videos, webinars and Skype sessions and online tutorials. Online assignment drop-ins using Live Chat will be held weekly to engage those students not on campus and provide additional support at the point of contact.
  • On campus assignment skills drop-in events throughout key teaching weeks when students are encouraged to attend with any assignment queries.
  • Embedded skills sessions - Throughout teaching periods embedded skills sessions are a key element to support academic learning. Study skills support team and Liaison Librarians continue to cultivate relationships and provide the support necessary in their subject areas.
  • Dissertation workshops - Dissertation skills support will be provided in early June to ‘Kickstart your Dissertation’. Bookable workshops will be held demonstrating how to begin a dissertation, using University library resources to support your work, and managing references for a substantial project. Sessions will be cross-subject focusing on the skills and resources required for completing a dissertation.
  • One to One - Study Skills Advisers will be on hand to advise and support students in a range of study skills including: effective reading, reporting writing, academic writing and referencing, note taking, critical thinking, analysis and evaluation, reflective writing, group work and presentation skills. Sessions will be booked centrally, catering for embedded academic sessions, study groups and 1 to 1 advice. For those studying independently away from the university campus, 1 to 1 support is available via Skype.

If an embedded skills session best suits student learning outcomes, academic staff will be asked to complete an online request form so that a session can be arranged.

The request form is available from:                                                       


Access to other libraries

There may be occasions when students studying postgraduate programmes would find it useful to use other university libraries for their studies, in addition to the resources available at the University of Sunderland. Postgraduate students may be able to borrow items or to access collections on a reference basis at a number of institutions throughout the UK by joining the Sconul Access Scheme.


Are there any additional costs on top of the fees?


No, but all students buy some study materials such as books and provide their own basic study materials.


Yes (optional) All students buy some study materials such as books and provide their own basic study materials. In addition there are some are additional costs for optional activities associated with the programme (see below)


Yes (essential) All students buy some study materials such as books and provide their own basic study materials. In addition there are some are essential additional costs associated with the programme (see below)


How are student views represented?

All taught programmes in the University have student representatives for each programme who meet in a Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) where they can raise students’ views and concerns. The Students’ Union and the faculties together provide training for student representatives. SSLCs and focus groups are also used to obtain student feedback on plans for developing existing programmes and designing new ones. Feedback on your programme is obtained every year through module questionnaires and informs the annual review of your programme. Student representatives are also invited to attend Programme and Module Studies Boards which manage the delivery and development of programmes and modules.  Various Faculty committees, particularly Faculty Student Success Committee, Academic Development Committee and Quality Management Sub-Committee also have student representation. This allows students to be involved in higher-level plans for teaching and learning. There is a parallel structure at university level on which students are represented by sabbatical officers who are the elected leaders of the Students’ Union. The University’s student representation and feedback policy can be found here.


Every year we participate in the national Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES), which is run by the Higher Education Academy.


Programmes offered in partner colleges: If you are studying in one of our partner colleges the college will have its own mechanisms for obtaining student feedback. Some of these may be the same as that on-campus at the University but others may be different. You should ask your college for further information.


For distance learning operated from Sunderland: if you are studying by distance learning you will have slightly different arrangements from those used on campus. In particular you are likely to have virtual rather than physical meetings and discussions. However these arrangements should provide comparable opportunities for you to give feedback. Details are given below.  




National subject benchmarks

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education publishes benchmark statements which give guidance as to the skills and knowledge which graduates in various subjects and in certain types of degree are expected to have. They do not cover all subjects at postgraduate  level but those which exist can be found at here.


Are there any benchmark statements for this programme?




The subject benchmark(s) for this programme is/are: Masters Degrees in Business & Management


The QAA also publishes a Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) which defines the generic skills and abilities expected of students who have achieved awards at a given level and with which our programmes align. The FHEQ can be found here.



How are the quality and standards of the programme assured?

The programme is managed and quality assured through the University’s standard processes. Programmes are overseen by Module and Programme Studies Boards, which include student representatives. Each year each module leader provides a brief report on the delivery of the module, identifying strengths and areas for development, and the programme team reviews the programme as a whole.  The purpose of this is to ensure that the programme is coherent and up-to-date, with suitable progression through the programme, and a good fit (alignment) between what is taught and how students learn and are assessed - the learning outcomes, content and types of teaching, learning and assessment. Student achievement, including progress through the programme and the way in which the final award is made, is kept under review. The programme review report is sent to the Faculty Quality Management Sub-Committee, which in turn reports issues to the University’s Quality Management Sub-Committee (QMSC) and Academic Development Committee (ADC).


External examiners are appointed to oversee and advise on the assessment of the programme. They ensure that the standards of the programme are comparable with those of similar programmes elsewhere in the UK and are also involved in the assessment process to make sure that it is fair. They are invited to comment on proposed developments to the programme. Their reports are sent to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) as well as to the Faculty so that issues of concern can be addressed.


All programmes are reviewed by the University on a six-yearly cycle to identify good practice and areas for enhancement. Programmes are revalidated through this review process. These reviews include at least one academic specialist in the subject area concerned from another UK university. The University is subject to external review by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education on a six-year cycle. Their review reports for Sunderland can be found at here.


Further information about our quality processes can be found here.


Please also complete the SITS form.






(Form to be completed electronically by the Faculty and forwarded to the QAE Quality Officer supporting the Approval event, or sent to MISD for faculty devolved processes before sending to QAE)



Exit Award: Title of programme/award

MA International Management (15-month)

Master of Business Management (15-month)

MSc Human Resource Management (15-month)

MA Marketing (15-month)

MSc Finance and Management (15-month)

If replacement for existing, specify title of old



Business, Law and Tourism


Sunderland Business School

SITS Programme/Short Course code


Programme Studies Board

Postgraduate PSB

UCAS code (if applicable).  If other please state method.


JACS code


Qualification Level / Qualification Aim



Modes of delivery and duration:


Full time       Yes 1 Year 3 months

Sandwich     No

Part time      No

Work Based Learning  No

On-campus  Yes

Off-campus  No 

CSP Only. Other subject combinations not allowed with this subject:


Programme/Subject/Short Course Leader:


Date of Approval /Modification/Review


Date of next review (QAE to complete)


Start date of programme/Short Course

July  2017

Number of intakes per annum and likely month(s) intake(s) starts.

Two; July and November




Confirm funding arrangements for programme e.g. HEFCE/TDA/NHS/Other


If it is TDA, is it primary/secondary/F.E./Other (please state)


Is the programme Open or Closed:





If yes please attach completed form AQH-Ciii2



Are there to be programme specific regulations? Yes (see appendix 2)



Please complete details

UK                    Yes

Overseas          N/A

Institution                                      Collaborative model            Funding arrangements


ONCAMPUS (Foundation Campus)                     Joint Franchise                      ….……………………..







Interim award title


Credits required

Interim structure


Postgraduate Certificate of Higher Education


60 excluding PGBM001



Postgraduate Diploma of Higher Education



120 excluding PGBM001





For QAE  use only:  Circulation list: Quality Assurance & Enhancement (files), MISD (J Ruffell, L Warner), Admissions  (E Wilson), Recruitment (Les  Brown, Catryn Davies), Student Office (L Dixon), Examinations (A. Brownbridge), Planning (Amanda Watson), Learning Development Services (Malcolm Creen) Central Timetabling (Lesley Scott)  + for collaborative programmes: SRBP Carole Green/Peter Elliott, Marketing (Judith Green)


Appendix 2:




Name of programme: MA International Management (15-month)

Master of Business Management (15-month)

MSc Human Resource Management (15-month)

MA Marketing (15-month)

MSc Finance and Management (15-month)


Title of final award: Award Title: MA/MBM/MSc (as above)


Interim awards: Postgraduate Certificate

Postgraduate Diploma


Accreditation: None


University Regulation (please state the relevant University Regulation):


6.1.1To obtain an award a student must gain credits as follows:



Total number of credits

Level of award

Number of credits at level of award

Postgraduate Certificate of Higher Education


Level 7


Postgraduate Diploma of Higher Education


Level 7


Master’s Degree


Level 7



6.1.2In addition a student may be required to fulfil other academic commitments as specified in the programme regulations, such as to pass a placement



(a)A Master’s degree is awarded for the achievement of 180 credits at Level 7 as required by the programme regulations

(b) A classification of Merit or Distinction is awarded on the basis of a weighted mean average of the module marks for all credits obtained at Level 7. If that average is 70% or higher, then a Distinction will be awarded. If that average if 60% or higher, then a Merit will be awarded.



Regulations apply to students commencing their studies from (please state the date / intake that these regulations will apply to students for each Stage):


Regulations apply to students

Date the regulations apply

Intakes affected

Level 7

July 2017 onwards

Intakes from July 2017



Core modules:






Introduction to Postgraduate Projects, Research Methods and Study Skills



Plus 180 credits as listed in the standard programme specification.



Progression Regulations


6.1.1To obtain an award a student must gain credits as follows:



Total number of credits

Level of award

Number of credits at level of award

Postgraduate Certificate of Higher Education

60 excluding PGBM001

Level 7

60 excluding PGBM001

Postgraduate Diploma of Higher Education

120 excluding PGBM001

Level 7

120 excluding PGBM001

Master’s Degree


Level 7



6.1.2In addition a student may be required to fulfil other academic commitments as specified in the programme regulations, such as to pass a placement. A student must pass PGBM001 in order to attain the final award, but interim awards may be awarded on the basis of any 60/120 credits within the programme excluding PGBM001



(a)A Master’s degree is awarded for the achievement of 225 credits at Level 7 as required by the programme regulations

(b) A classification of Merit or Distinction is awarded on the basis of a weighted mean average of the module marks for all credits obtained at Level 7 excluding PGBM001. If that average is 70% or higher, then a Distinction will be awarded. If that average if 60% or higher, then a Merit will be awarded.