Business Development and Innovation - MSc
Inspiring innovationTake a look
In this section
This course is aimed at providing students with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of a range of business-related disciplines, with a particular focus on business development and innovation. The course covers a wide range of relevant topics and has links with the world-renowned Harvard Business Schoolthrough the Competitiveness module.
For those with considerable existing industrial experience, the course will support career progression - for example, moving from a technical discipline to a wider management role.
For more recent graduates, the course will significantly enhance business knowledge and skills to provide students with an increased knowledge of contemporary and innovative organisational practice, with a solid grounding in a range of relevant business disciplines.
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About this course
In this section
The imperative for business development and innovation in challenging times is the key to business growth and economic recovery. The overall aim of the MSc Business Development and Innovation course, therefore, is to provide an academically challenging, intellectually stimulating programme of study that educates, develops and enhances the professional competence of participants. In short, a course with a strong theoretical underpinning and relevant practical application.
Within this broad aim, the specific objectives of the course are to:
- Provide an advanced study of business and management with particular reference to business development and innovation;
- Prepare and/or develop students for a career in business development and innovation by facilitating the development of enhanced transferable skills at a professional or equivalent level, or as preparation for research or further study in the area;
- Develop students’ ability to apply knowledge and critical understanding of business development and innovation to complex issues, both systematically and creatively, to improve organisations and business practice;
- Enhance students’ lifelong learning skills and personal development in order to work with self-direction and originality and to contribute to business and society at large.
Our experiences with participants studying on this course is that the real value of the course is in its ability to empower students to look in holistic terms at how innovation (in whatever form) can facilitate and support business development and create value in their own particular context.
One of the distinctive features of the PgDip/MSc in Business Development and Innovation is that each of the eight taught modules is delivered using Block Intensive Learning. Thus each module is delivered over three full days, with a follow-up day, as opposed to the traditional weekly lecture/seminar format. Block Intensive Learning has been a worldwide established learning practice within business and management topics and business schools.
During the three days (plus the follow-up) students will experience a variety of teaching and learning methods including lectures, seminars, case studies and guest speakers. These are described below. In addition to this block intensive format, self directed learning is also expected of students.
- September 2019
- January 2020
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
- the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
- the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
- the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Each of the taught modules is delivered using the block intensive learning approach. Thus, each module is delivered over three full days with an additional follow-up day. Various learning approaches are adopted including lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials, while guest speakers and visiting professors are used to add their expertise and practical experience to the subject being studied.
Assessment plays a significant role in the totality of a student’s educational experience. For this reason, considerable effort has been devoted to ensuring that the assessment requirements built into each module are appropriate to the learning outcomes, qualities and abilities being assessed. The necessary skills and abilities are established and developed through the completion of a wide range of practical and applied exercises, work-based assignments, consultancy-type exercises and case studies that may require peer presentations.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
In this section
Strategy for Business Development
Strategy consists of the analysis and decisions an organisation undertakes in order to create and sustain competitive advantage. Understanding these interrelated processes is crucial for creating and developing organisations. This module explores these decisions areas from a range of contemporary perspectives and contexts.
This module has been developed in association with Harvard Business School and is closely based on the Harvard Business School "Microeconomics of Competitiveness" (MOC) adapted to include a regional focus. The module explores not only theory and policy, but also the organisational structures, institutional structures, and change processes required for sustained improvements in competitiveness from a range of perspectives on a regional, national and international basis.
The module seeks to expose students of business development and innovation to the range of research methods, consultancy skills, and project management techniques available. Students will acquire appropriate knowledge and understanding of the various research and project management methodologies for the purposes of developing an applied management project proposal and project plan in preparation for undertaking a postgraduate management project.
Creativity and Innovation
This module introduces students to an exploration of creativity and innovation within the discipline of business and management. The changing understanding of creativity is explored as well as personal approaches to creative problem solving. The broad nature of Innovation is examined - especially in terms of organizational culture / climate and new business models. The role of innovation in gaining strategic advantage is introduced.
Building on extant knowledge of the entrepreneurial process this module examines key aspects of entrepreneurial business development in theory and practice. The module builds on the knowledge gained in the earlier modules.
Innovation in Practice
The module covers Innovation in Practice through a Business Process Innovation from both theoretical and practical perspectives. It introduces students to the crucial value creating processes within organisations. Moreover, the nature of business models is examined and creative approaches to new business models explored. Business Process Innovation is evaluated in different organisational contexts - both large and small organisations as well as in different sectors of the economy.
This module examines the digital marketing context. When the tools of marketing change, marketing strategies must change too. The focus of this module is on small firms as they attempt to navigate the digital transition from offline to online marketing.
This module seeks to provide students with an appreciation of the processes of firm internationalisation and the key issues that affect marketing decisions in an international and global context. Firm level processes and activities are considered within the context of the global business environment. Students will be given the opportunity to assess opportunities for internationalisation and the barriers that must be addressed.
The Management Project enables students to develop research, consultancy and project management skills developed in the research and consultancy skills module. The research and consultancy skills module provides the learning and foundation students require in order to apply the practical and theoretical concepts encountered on the business development and innovation programme to a "live" management issue. In doing so they choose appropriate research methodologies, gather data and make conclusions and resource-based recommendations to the host organisation in a reliable and valid manner.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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Applicants must hold a degree with at least 2:2 Honours standard or equivalent.
Exceptionally, applicants who do not possess academic qualifications at the appropriate level but have substantial relevant work experience may be considered for admittance in accordance with the Faculty’s Accreditation of Prior Learning policy.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Careers & opportunities
In this section
The course provides the foundation for opportunities in a wide range of careers, across a number of business areas. These include, for example, business development, strategy, innovation, business analysis, research, and consultancy.
The course also helps develop competencies for career change/progression, while also providing the necessary tools to enable participants to set up their own business.
Fees and funding
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Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
- Northern Ireland & EU:
- £14,060.00 Scholarships available
Scholarships, awards and prizes
The highest performing student is elligible to receive The Moy Park Award for Business Excellence
Additional mandatory costs
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
Course Director:Mr Keith Millar
For more information visit
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Here's what some of the current and past students had to say about the course:
- "The course is challenging, but amazingly appropriate to anyone with drive, passion and looking to develop both business and personal skills"
- "I would not hesitate to recommend the program to anybody interested in challenging either themselves or the status quo - students fortunate enough to participate will benefit greatly from the experience"
- "Each module in the course had both strong theoretical and strong practical elements. As a manager this this meant for me that parts of the learning could be directly transferred into making improvements in my work area"
- "My reason for undertaking the course of study was to update my skills in the area of innovation and to be exposed to the latest thinking in how innovative companies grow and scale. The course exceeded my expectations in these two areas"