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Strategic Growth - MSc

Release your company's potential for real growth in the company of others with the same ambition.

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Release your company's potential for real growth in the company of others with the same ambition.


This programme is for company owners and all the key decision-makers who are ambitious about the future growth potential of their company. This means working with like-minded firms and world-class educators in an immersive, practical way to achieve these ambitions. This investment will result in meaningful growth for the company and a tangible Masters’ qualification for the individual.

The programme is a unique investment opportunity:

  • Targeted at company owners and all the key decision-makers who have decided that now is the time to realise their ambitions to shape their company’s future growth potential.
  • Designed specifically for company owners who recognise that their next significant stage of growth has to be planned strategically.
  • Providing support to company owners in managing the disruptive impact of strategic growth on their company commercially and on them personally.
  • Drawing on the cumulative experience of other programme participants to create a supportive community of learners and practitioners.
  • Building on UUBS’s forty years of working with owners or and SMEs supported by Business Practitioners who are a part of the business school’s network.
  • Drawing on experienced Business Executive Educators at Babson College in Boston, which is the leading centre for entrepreneurial learning and practice in the USA.

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About this course

In this section


The MSc Strategic Growth has been developed in response to the clearly identified needs of entrepreneurial business owner-managers of SMEs who want to learn how best to develop and grow their businesses. The programme is designed specifically for business owner/managers who have determined on the strategic development and growth of their businesses. It is designed to support their learning as entrepreneurial business practitioners centring on issues of entrepreneurial thinking, leadership, competitiveness and the innovative management of scare resources, including human, social, financial and reputational capital.

Participants will normally study one module in each semester and learning in each module will be supplemented and augmented by a series of group-learning workshops totalling two further days of supported learning. The module in the first semester will be undertaken in collaboration with colleagues at Babson College, Massachusetts, USA. In the second and third semester of the second year, participants will undertake an additional 60 point module which will require participants to undertake and complete an applied project scoping out the strategic growth potential of the participant’s business.


The programme is modular in design with participants undertaking four, four-day modules and one additional, long-thin research module to obtain the MSc Strategic Growth. To be awarded the MSc Strategic Growth, participants must complete and pass all modules on the programme. Participants may, in exceptional circumstances, exit with the Postgraduate Diploma Strategic Growth award provided that they have passed the four taught modules on the programme.

Start dates

  • September 2019
How to apply

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The teaching and learning strategy for the MSc Strategic Growth programme is enquiry-based learning, utilising predominately a project-based learning approach combined with an experiential learning approach. The above strategy will be achieved through a variety of blended teaching and learning methods including an opening residential, block-day workshops, company based action learning sets, coaching/mentoring, online library access, online learning materials and online collaborative/communication platforms.

The programme’s design has been guided by Universal Design Principles, to ensure the learning and teaching approaches are designed to meet the needs of all learners. As the programme is delivered on a part-time basis and targeted at mature students, the delivery approaches are designed to be equitable, flexible and accessible for all participants. This is ensured through a variety of teaching approaches, block day teaching and company-based workshops and all resources supplied via the Virtual Learning Environment.

Cumulative learning is a core characteristic of the programme as participants work their way through the series of modules designed to follow the stages of growth of the small to medium sized business. Participants will be challenged intellectually, to critically reflect upon, and continually learn from, their actions; using failure to inform progress. To develop the participants’ capacity for critical reflexivity, an Entrepreneurial Learning Portfolio (ELP) will be utilised as an assessment method across the first four modules. The portfolio will capture the participant’s action and reflection through the four stages of business growth. The weighting for the ELP within modules will vary, depending on the level of reflexivity required for the context of learning.

Academic profile

The Ulster University Business School can draw on the expertise of over 150 academic staff members, including over 20 professors. The Business School also can seek contributions of 30 members of the Visiting Professoriate. These are experienced business practitioners who support the work of the Business School in its pursuit of its aims.

Staff members involved in the delivery of the programme have varied teaching and research interests within the subjects of Strategy, Entrepreneurial Leadership, Competitiveness and Resource Management. A number of staff within the Department of Management, Leadership and Marketing partake in various research programmes within the University

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.

Read more

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

Year one

Strategic Orientation

Year: 1

The module explores with programme participants the challenges of moving from organic business development to entrepreneurial strategic growth and the importance of forming an appropriate strategic orientation within the business as an essential first step in the stages of that growth.

Strategic Development

Year: 1

This module examines the challenges associated with strategic development and the importance of developing a clear proposition detailing the firm's competitive advantage. This requires an analysis of the core competencies and capabilities required to be competitive, as well as a consideration of the various leadership, managerial and resource challenges which present themselves as the firm develops.

Strategic Implementation

Year: 1

This module focuses on the issue of strategy implementation. In particular, it focuses on how organisations can acquire and leverage resources - human, financial, technological and knowledge - to achieve maximal value and develop sustainable competitive advantage.

Year two

Strategic Futures

Year: 2

This module focuses on the issue of strategic renewal, within both the context of existing operations and the identification and exploitation of future opportunities. Strategies for rethinking the current business model and resource allocation / usage / management will be examined alongside strategies for effectively leading organisational change to enable exploitation of new opportunities.

Strategic Planning Project

Year: 2

The core aim of the Strategic Planning Project is that participants should have the opportunity to draw on newly accumulated knowledge and developing leadership skills, developed through engagement with the earlier modules in the programme, to diagnose and investigate the realities of growing their businesses in an increasingly strategic way, to collect, analyse and manage data, to come to supportable conclusions and to take actionable, ethical decisions. The total learning process in this module is to develop and test participants' conceptual and analytical capability and to enhance both their entrepreneurial leadership potential

Entry conditions

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.

In this section

Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally have a second class honours degree or equivalent and own or manage a small or medium sized enterprise.

Applicants will, however, be considered from those with significant work experience and who are managing or own their own business.

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.

Exemptions and transferability

Studies pursued and assessments passed in respect of other qualifications awarded by the University or by another university or other educational institution may be accepted as exempting candidates from part of the course. Exemption is not permitted from the Strategic Planning Project module.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Career options

You will already be managing and/or running your own business. This course will help you improve your management and leadership practices to help grow your business, by drawing on the expertise of academics at Ulster University and Babson College as well as business practitioners.


How to apply Request a prospectus

Applications to our postgraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.

Start dates

  • September 2019

Fees and funding

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Additional mandatory costs

There are no additional mandatory costs associated with the MSc Strategic Growth.

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.


If you would like to have an informal discussion about the course, please contact:

Professor Pauric McGowan (Course Director)

T: +44 (0)28 9036 8864


For more information visit

Ulster University Business School

Department of Management, Leadership and Marketing


  1. The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
  2. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  3. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
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