Available for January start

Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 1.5-3 years

UK fee

£8,820 (2019/20)

International fee

£8,820 (2019/20)

Course level




Start dates

January, September, May



Online course description

Steering organisations to success in the current economic climate is no mean feat and requires a person that can ensure a company continues to adapt and thrive as the environment changes. This Strategic Management MSc online degree course aims to make you that person. 

You may be a busy senior executive or middle manager in the UK or overseas, looking for a qualification that can be completed in your spare time and that doesn’t restrict your life. And that’s exactly why this online masters is ideal for you.

Our tutors have many years of experience in strategic management and they understand the pressures of balancing study around work and family commitments.

Prepare to move into senior management

Moving up the management scale in any organisation requires you to become more strategic in your outlook and to have an awareness of the wider issues at play. This Strategic Management MSc online degree course is an excellent alternative to an MBA Global or MBA Global Finance to help you develop your strategic, analytical and management skills.

Build up qualifications as you study

We've designed this course so that it's flexible to suit you. It will take you 1.5-3 years to complete the full MSc, depending on how much learning you can fit in around your other commitments.

Flexibility to plan your own study time

Studying online gives you the flexibility to study at the most convenient time and place for you. Course modules still operate within a fixed 10-week trimester but you can choose to study during the day, in the evenings or at the weekend rather than having to attend fixed lectures.

What you will study

We will advise you of your study plan - the running order and availability of the modules - when you are invited to enrol.

If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered. In addition, where demand is high, some modules may be subject to a cap.

To achieve the Strategic Management MSc (Hons), you will need to complete a total of 180 credits.

Stage 1Stage 1Stage 2Stage 2Stage 3Stage 3

Code: 7AG503

Strategic Finance for Managers

Finance and accounting is at the heart of any contemporary organisation, from multi million pound international companies to small local charities, yet often the people making major decisions within these organisations have only a very basic understanding of what the financial implications of their decisions will be. As accountants often challenge managers about their budgets and financial decisions, so managers should be able to challenge their finance department in a two-way dialogue, built on a mutual understanding of the issues involved, in both a national and international context.

This module provides an introduction to understanding and interpreting the main financial statements for a business, the Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow, and addresses current international financial reporting issues including earnings management. 

Participants will not only learn the accounting based tools and techniques that managers can apply to assist with strategic decision making, but will also develop an appreciation of the underlying assumptions and limitations of those tools and techniques. This module emphasises the interpretation of financial information, and introduces a variety of theoretical concepts, such as: 

  • Understanding the broader national and international financial context in which businesses operate
  • Communicating more effectively in business situations with stakeholders and managers
  • Identifying the key information from a business situation, formulate it as a problem and select the appropriate accounting techniques to solve the problem
  • Performing the necessary calculations to solve the problem
  • Interpreting the results of financial calculations and explain their relevance to other members of the management team
  • Recognising the limitations of accounting and how financial techniques may need to be supplemented with other approaches
  • Appreciating the theoretical assumptions behind various accounting techniques and the application of those techniques

The aim of the module is to provide participants with the ability to identify, understand, apply, and to critically evaluate a range of accounting and finance related issues, tools, and techniques which can help an organisation to make better informed strategic decisions in both a national and international context.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and explain the significance of international financial markets, stock markets, and investment strategies, and critically evaluate the various types of risks faced by international firms and the strategies they use to manage such risks
  2. Critically evaluate the transformation of finance and accounting data into meaningful and relevant management information and its impact on the strategic management process
  3. Apply appropriate Management Accounting or Financial Management tools and techniques to achieve a greater level of effectiveness in strategic analysis, planning and control, both in the long and short term
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7EC509

Strategic Information and Knowledge Management

Appropriate and well managed information systems are critical components for any organisation if they are to be successful in achieving their vision and implementing their business strategies. This module provides students with the opportunity to explore information systems, and particularly computer-based information systems, and evaluate how they can be acquired, implemented and managed in order to maximise organisational benefits.

The aim of the module is to assist the student in becoming a more effective manager of the organisations information and knowledge assets. The student is provided with an analytical and multi-perspective framework to assist in the recognition, identification and evaluation of the key strategic people related issues with a view to improving organisational performance.

Module learning outcomes

On completion of the module, the student will be able to: 

  1. Critically evaluate an organisation’s information, decision support, and knowledge management systems with particular reference to information quality and the ability to impact positively on the organisation’s business strategy and objectives
  2. Recommend information management, decision support, and knowledge management strategies to derive maximum benefits for the organisation
  3. To critically analyse both quantitatively and qualitatively the key issues facing the successful implementation of information management, decision support, and knowledge management strategies

Module content

Data/information including:
  • Strategic planning and the strategic value of data, Information and knowledge
  • Formal and informal, internal and external sources of information
  • External information sources, essential to business and competitive intelligence, such as patents, legislation, demographics and statistics
IS/IT strategy alignment including:
  • Strategic Management of IS/IT Investment
  • To identify how information systems are managed within various organisational settings
  • To explore best and worst practices in information systems
  • Risk Management and business continuity
  • Sensemaking
Decision support including:
  • Explore IT enabled Business transformation-change management technologies
  • Quality of business information/competitive intelligence — evaluating information
  • Improved Management Decision making capabilities
Knowledge management
  • Defining and the analysing of business intelligence
  • Defining and exploring management of knowledge assets and organisational learning
  • creating and sustaining a knowledge sharing culture
  • management of intellectual capital
  • Approaches to measuring and accounting for knowledge assets, value adding and leveraging of intellectual assets
  • implementing knowledge management strategies – managing risk and change
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7HR524

Critical Perspectives in Strategic Management and Leadership

This module seeks to develop knowledge and understanding of the principle areas of strategic management and leadership practices emanating from business research and development. The module allows you to have a holistic view and understanding of how leaders and managers in an organisation manage the dynamics of strategies and policies formulation, implementation, and evaluation in order to respond to changes in both internal and external environmental dynamics and develop sustainable (competitive) advantage.

The aim of the module is to assist you in becoming an effective manager and leader in the workplace. For businesses to maintain a competitive advantage in the market, business leaders and managers have to manage contemporary challenges such as globalisation, innovation, technology and sustainability. Therefore, this module provides a broad representation of the diverse concepts and theories that reflect current debate among academics and practitioners alike. It explores how today’s leaders and managers utilise and manage competitive intelligence and knowledge in diverse cultural, industrial and organisational contexts in order to develop innovative strategies for sustainable competitive advantage.

The module will challenge you to reflect critically on theory and your own practice, as well as drawing experiences from global strategic leaders and managers. You will be encouraged to develop the skills to deal with the current challenges in organisations. Overall, you will develop a wider global and international perspective and increase your awareness of the different leadership and management approaches for successful strategy development and implementation in a variety of organisational, industrial and cultural contexts.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate the contemporary research and debates on the relationship between management and leadership practices and organisational outcomes
  2. Critically evaluate how the role and nature of the organisation affects the knowledge, skills and behaviour needed by leaders and managers
  3. Critically analyse the contemporary issues facing the successful formulation and implementation of organisational strategies

Module content

  • Exploration of contemporary strategic theories on leadership and management
  • Strategic management in context: its history, evolution and role in corporate development and the role of leaders and managers as innovative strategic thinkers
  • Strategic management in a changing environment; change and competitive advantage; managing strategic change and developing dynamic response in dynamic and volatile environments
  • Strategy development and implementation: approaches and challenges in various contexts
  • Leadership styles and organisational structures and cultures and how leaders and managers can develop in an organisation
  • Understanding motivation, team and group dynamics, personality, attitudes and behaviours, and the effects that these have on organisational and individual performance
  • Power, politics and conflict
  • Vision and the effective school thought
  • Developing a collaborative culture
  • Cross cultural leadership and management styles
  • Strategic thinking and management of corporate governance, social responsibility and ethical issues
  • Developing a collaborative culture
  • The 'Social Enterprise' and 'Shared Values' agendas
  • Globalisation and strategic management theories
  • Strategic competitive advantage through innovation
  • Leadership and the corporate level strategy and culture
  • Strategic knowledge management
  • Managing and leading strategic change
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7EC508

International Business Strategies

This module has been designed to build on, and complement, the Strategic Management module and has been structured specifically to explore the global changes that are impacting on multi- and international organizations/corporations and their industries. Additionally, it examines how these changes, and the opportunities and threats which they create, also lure domestic enterprises into the international business arena. It focuses on how various types of enterprise are expanding and relying more on their international operations, and how they develop strategies and establish objectives to either internationalize their domestic operations or expand their current international business operations as part of their overall organisational strategy.

The module encourages students to develop a wider global/international perspective; increase their awareness of organisational, industry and cultural diversity and develop their critical/analytical, problem-solving and strategic decision-making skills.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to: 

  1. Recognize and critically appraise the varied strategic approaches used by international corporations
  2. Critically analyse both quantitatively and qualitatively the key issues facing the successful formulation and implementation of international business strategies
  3. Critically examine and evaluate the global (competitive) environmental factors that influence different types of organisations in the formulation of international strategic and operational alternatives

Module learning outcomes

  • The International Management Process and the Global Environment
  • Globalisation and Strategy: Defined and Demystified; Implications and strategic gains; the challenges of Global Efficiency, Local Responsiveness, and Global ‘Learning’
  • Competitive Analysis – A Global Perspective
  • The Global Firm and Corporate Governance, Social Responsibility and Ethics
  • The Impact of Foreign Direct Investment on Economies, Industries and Organisations
  • The International Planning Process and Types of International Strategy
  • International HRM, Marketing and Operations Management – Cultural Divergence or Convergence?
  • The Impact of Country Cultures on International Development
  • Financial Considerations in the Global Marketplace
  • New Economy Imperatives – The Role of Technology in International Business
  • International Management: A Future Perspective
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7HR517

Strategic Leadership and People Management

All managers are required to develop core knowledge and skills in the field of people management to enable them to contribute and add value to their organisations operating in a dynamic context.

This module seeks to:

  • approach the subject of organisational theory by addressing organisation behaviour on four levels: individual, intra-personal and interpersonal and organisational levels. At each level of analysis the interactions of the organisation with the external environment will be emphasised
  • develop knowledge and understanding of the principle areas of people management and strategic leadership practices emanating from HRM/D research; highlighting contemporary changes and developments on the links to positive organisational outcomes, as well as the major debates about theory and practice in the specific fields of strategic leadership, flexibility and change management
  • assist the student in understanding the strategic deployment of human capital in organisations and the relevant factors and skills which they should be aware of if they are to play a part in influencing and shaping the organisation in terms of its human capability

The aim of the module is to assist the student in becoming a more effective manager. The student is provided with an analytical and multi-perspective framework to assist in the recognition, identification and evaluation of the key strategic people related issues with a view to improving organisational performance.

Module learning outcomes

On completion of the module, the student will be able to: 

  1. Critically evaluate the contribution of Strategic HRM&D to improved organisational performance
  2. Apply knowledge of organisational theory to the development and practice of strategic leadership
  3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the wider implications of an organisational behaviour on organisations, culture, teams and individuals
  4. To critically analyse both quantitatively and qualitatively the key issues facing the successful implementation of HR Strategy, leadership, and organisational behaviour

Module content

Organisational behaviour including:
  • Organisational structure , Organisational culture ,Innovation and change
  • Organisational values (ethics, CSR and sustainable organisations)
  • Understanding teams and groups in organisations
  • Individual characteristics: Personality and aptitude, emotional intelligence, attitudes and values , attitudes to work: motivation, job satisfaction and impacts upon work design, commitment and the psychological contract., individual decision making
Strategic leadership and culture including:
  • Leadership and management
  • Power, politics and conflict
  • Culture
HRM strategy including:
  • The relationship between the HRM strategy, the Corporate strategy and the other functional strategies
  • The aims and objectives of a people based strategy and how resources, training and development, reward, performance management and effective management of employee relations contribute to improved organisational performance - strategic HR choices
  • Globalisation and international HRM&D strategy
  • Links between people practices (including HRM/D) and business outcomes
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7MK513

Strategic Marketing and Competitive Intelligence

This module explores the critical role of strategic marketing and competitive intelligence for organisation’s operating in both domestic and international markets. It demonstrates how market and customer analysis, environmental analysis and competitive intelligence provide the foundation upon which marketing objectives and strategies are developed. It outlines the process of creating a strategic marketing plan and its implementation and control based on sound intelligence and insight. It will integrate issues related to the growing internationalisation of markets and the increasing need for networks, partnerships and strategic alliances. The challenge of overcoming commoditisation and delivering value to intermediaries and end customers will be explored.

The syllabus will cover large, medium and small organisations in a variety of sectors. Developed and developing country issues will be examined alongside issues faced by organisations operating in an increasingly volatile and competitive global environment. 

Module learning outcomes

On completion of this module students will be able to: 

  1. Explore and analyse complex issues surrounding strategy development in both a domestic and international context
  2. Critically evaluate the strategic importance of market, customer and competitive intelligence, its collection, storage, analysis, reporting and dissemination
  3. Demonstrate an ability to selectively apply appropriate strategic marketing analytical concepts / frameworks for a range of domestic and international market situations
  4. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the strategic options available to an organisation and make marketing strategy recommendations that are appropriate to the organisation’s capability and competitive situation
  5. To critically analyse both quantitatively and qualitatively the key issues facing the successful implementation of strategic marketing and competitive intelligence 

Module content

Strategic marketing analysis
  • Analysis and forecasting of macro marketing environment trends
  • Understanding the impact of country and regional factors on the development of domestic / international marketing strategy development
  • Applying appropriate tools and concepts for effective strategic marketing analysis
  • Market analysis , customer analysis and competitor analysis
  • Organisation structure, culture and orientation
Competitive intelligence
  • Developing an effective MKIS system
  • Collection, storage, analysis, reporting and dissemination of market and competitor information
  • Importance of competitive intelligence for strategic marketing planning 
Marketing strategy development, implementation and control
  • Marketing strategy development tools and templates
  • Strategic marketing planning process
  • Evaluating strategic options and setting strategic direction
  • Implementation of the strategic marketing plan
  • Constraints on strategy development and implementation
  • Marketing evaluation and control mechanisms
More information
20 Credits

Code: 7IM998

Independent Study

Independent study normally forms a significant part of a masters programme. This is a major piece of independently researched work, providing an opportunity to carry out an in-depth investigation of a management problem or issue that should normally have a strategic dimension which addresses organisational issues and provides a process for solving management problems.

Independent study will provide the student with the opportunity to use and enhance the knowledge and intellectual skills gained during the course, by means of an extensive investigation of a significant management area. The module provides an opportunity for those studying any of the specialist programmes to explore an in depth topic relevant to that programme. It also provides the opportunity for students to reflect on the research experience and use what they have learned to guide their future development via a reflective statement and development plan.

As a result of developing and applying an analytical framework based on a specialist issue, participants will be able to enhance their own competencies for undertaking future business, management and finance research or analysis. Participants will be better able to evaluate the research analysis carried out by others and better able to plan their own development.

Module learning outcomes

On completion of the module students will be able to:

  1. Act autonomously in designing a research project that critically evaluates a problem or issue to a professional standard. The topic should be relevant to the title of the programme and should meet the University’s ethical guidelines
  2. Act autonomously in critically investigating a discipline relevant issue, employing appropriate research methods to collect data, analyse, compare and draw conclusions, providing recommendations where appropriate. The topic will be relevant to the title of the students programme and demonstrate the ability to connect the theory and practice
  3. Reflect on the process of undertaking a significant piece of independent research using the ideas and concepts from the course and plan their future development

Module content

  • The independent study represents a major learning experience for participants, providing an opportunity to pursue in considerable depth and with suitable academic rigour a specific area of management and/or strategy, building on the study of relevant concepts, models and paradigms
  • Each study will be supervised by an Independent Studies Supervisor, appointed by the Business School. At the beginning, and as part of this module, a dissertation/project proposal will be individually negotiated and assessed. The proposal will have to demonstrate that the proposed research can be achieved. The student will also have to complete an ethical approval form that meets the University's ethics guidelines
  • The final work will comprise a dissertation or action-based study plus a reflective statement and development plan and will be independently assessed by two tutors, one of whom will be the Independent Study Supervisor. It may take the form of dissertation or action based study. Collaborative arrangements are permitted whereby students participate in a joint group study. Where this happens, a means by which individual effort and contribution are to be assessed will be established and documented at the outset, with the supervisor
More information
60 Credits

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

Pace of study

We recommend about 20 hours of study per week to complete one 20-credit module over a 10-week trimester. If you aim to study two modules in one trimester, we recommend 40 hours of study per week.

Assessment method

This course is assessed through 100% coursework with a range of methods, such as essays, research reports, presentations, group work and practical reports.

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Discovering Online Learning Webinar, January

Wednesday, 8 January 2020 15.00 - 16.00

During this hour long webinar, we'll take you through the basic principles of how online learning works and what you can expect as an online learner. The webinar includes a 20 minute presentation and an opportunity to take in a Q&A.

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Entry requirements

You should normally have a UK undergraduate degree (at least a 2:2) with honours in any discipline or equivalent. Where candidates have a Business-related degree with a lower classification, we would consider entry with an additional 1-2 years of work experience at a relevant supervisory or managerial level.

We would also consider:


Do you already hold a professional qualification or membership? Use your professional qualifications to gain exemptions between 40 and 60 credits from a 180-credit programme. Simply provide evidence of your relevant professional qualification with your application so we can confirm your exemptions.

For those students wishing to achieve the CMI Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership, additional work may be required to meet CMI module learning outcomes.

MSc Strategic Management professional qualification exemptions

QualificationMaximum credits awardedAdditional credits required for Strategic Management MSc
ABE Level 7 Diploma in Business (QCF) Up to 60 credits At least 120 credits
ACCA (with chartered certified accountant status) Up to 40 credits At least 140 credits
ATHE Level 7 Qualifications in Strategic Management and Leadership (QCF) Up to 60 credits At least 120 credits
CIMA (CIMA member) Up to 40 credits At least 140 credits
CIPFA graduate Up to 40 credits At least 140 credits
OTHM Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership (QCF) Up to 40 credits At least 140 credits
Qualifi Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership (QCF)  Up to 40 credits  At least 140 credits 
CMI Level 7 Qualifications in Strategic Management and Leadership (QCF)  Up to 60 credits   At least 120 credits 
Edexcel BTEC Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management & Leadership (QCF)  Up to 60 credits    At least 120 credits  

English language qualifications

If English is not your first language you will need an English language qualification.  For this course you will need at least one of the following:

Fees and funding

2019/20 Fees

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £980 7 (six 20 credit modules and one 60 credit module) £8,820

2020/21 Fees

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £1,010 7 (six 20 credit modules and one 60 credit module) £9,090

About your fees

This figure would be the total cost of this course in the current academic year. However, please note that fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase if your course lasts longer than one year.

However, please also note that you can receive a 5% discount if you either:

Course fees on the MSc Strategic Management programme with exemptions

If you have a 60-credit exemption, this is equivalent to three 20-credit modules and will save you £3,030 on the cost of the course. Total cost of MSc Strategic Management with 60-credit exemption: £6,060.

If you have a 40-credit exemption, this is equivalent to two 20-credit modules and will save you £2,020 on the cost of the course. Total cost of MSc Strategic Management with 40-credit exemption: £7,070.

Flexible payment plans available

Choose from three options:

Masters funding options

Depending on where you are from in the UK or EU, and on your pace of study, you may be eligible for a postgraduate student loan. Accessible through Student Finance, this is a non-income based loan to help with living costs and tuition fees whilst studying your masters programme.

How to apply

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply now

Documents to support your application

You'll need to provide:

*Documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. Each translation must contain:

A list of approved translators can be found on the UK Government website.


The Strategic Management MSc brings a wide range of benefits and abilities, including:

Consequently, it will deliver strategic capabilities for senior executives, prepare middle managers for the boardroom, develop skills and knowledge for career-change managers and is ideal for middle managers in non-profit enterprises wishing to acquire competitive business skills and techniques.

Dr Cedric Nkiko

Dr Cedric Nkiko
Programme leader

Academic Lead for Business, Dr Cedric Nkiko, an author and lecturer with broad in-depth experience in developing, teaching and managing online programmes at Degree, Master’s and Doctorate levels.

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Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

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