Executive MBA (Master of Business Administration) - MBA

2024/25 Part-time Postgraduate course


Master of Business Administration


Ulster University Business School


Department of Management, Leadership and Marketing


Belfast campus

Start date:

September 2024


Think strategically. Lead with purpose.The Ulster Executive MBA is your gateway to becoming a high-performing leader..


Are you ready to take your career to the next level? The Ulster University Executive MBA is a challenging Master's degree designed for ambitious professionals.

This Master's programme will help you to relate your work experience to business theory, broadening your understanding of organisations and the increasingly competitive environment in which they operate. You will enhance your knowledge of business functions, processes, and strategies. The innovative modules will also challenge you to examine your own business practices and management style, and develop your strategic and critical thinking skills.

The Ulster University Executive MBA allows students to make an impact in the workplace via practical based assessment and assignments, many of which have led to demonstrable improvements within the students' organisations.

We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

About this course


The Ulster Executive MBA is delivered part-time over 2 years and is designed for ambitious, mid-to senior-level professionals or entrepreneurs, looking to innovate, inpsire and lead at the highest level.

This programme will hone your leadership abilities, business acumen and essential skills including strategic thinking, decision making and problem solving, equipping you with the knowledge and confidence needed to excel in leadership roles in any function or industry. With a cross-functional curriculum, this programme will set you on the path to becoming a more strategic, confident and influential leader.

Assessments take place at the end of each module and involve applying course learnings to your organisation or live case studies.

What makes the Ulster Executive MBA stand out?

  • Immediate organisational impact – This Masters programme is grounded on inquiry based learning. The emphasis on real-world challenges and practical skills provides opportunities to apply your knowledge immediately via applied assessment which drives real, tangible change within your organisation.
  • Master modern business topics – You’ll gain a deep understanding of core business concepts and modern topics shaping the future of business including; corporate governance and boardroom management, digital transformation, sustainability, ethics and compliance and change management, challenging you to examine your own business practices and management style.
  • Flexible to suit your lifestyle – Designed with busy professionals in mind, you’ll have access to online resources and a structured curriculum, helping you balance your studies with existing commitments and minimising any disruption to your career. Should your circumstances change, you have the option to exit with a Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma.
  • Leading academics and industry experts - You will be taught by academically qualified subject experts who possess a wealth of industry experience within leading organisations. We also work in close collaboration with local and international employers to ensure that the course is relevant and aligned with emerging business needs.
  • Join a network of change leaders – You’ll join diverse community like-minded, high-calibre professionals from a variety of professional backgrounds and nationalities who are just as driven as you.
  • Harvard Business School affiliation – Ulster University is the first UK university to join the prestigious network of universities affiliated with Harvard Business School. Our students benefit from material delivered by our staff (trained at Harvard) in the area of International Competitiveness.
  • Become a Chartered Manager – We have embedded the Chartered Management Institute’s (CMI) Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Leadership and Management into this programme. Students can opt to gain this qualification automatically at graduation meaning they can become a Chartered Manager through the exemption route (additional costs to the CMI apply). We are the only MBA in Northern Ireland to offer this professional accreditation.


The part-time Executive MBA is taught over 2 academic years, starting in September each year.

The course begins with an induction where students are introduced to the course, their classmates and the academic team.

Students attend lectures on a weekly basis, (Tuesdays in year 1 and Wednesdays in year 2, from 1.15pm to 8.05pm) in semester 1 (September to December) and semester 2 (January to May).

In year 1, semester 3 (June to September) modules are completed on a 'block' basis (9.30am to 5pm over 3 consecutive days usually in June). In year 2, students complete their Management Project during semester 3.

Start dates

  • September 2024

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The Executive MBA is taught in a lecture format which is highly interactive, this allows students to draw upon their own experiences when discussing management theory and practice leading to an in-depth understanding of the subject area. This form of teaching also allows students to learn from each other as well as from the lecturing staff.

The course is mainly assessed via coursework (individual and group). There are no examinations on the Executive MBA.

Attendance and Independent Study

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:

  • 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, 20, or 40 credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate courses 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. Teaching and learning activities will be in-person and/or online depending on the nature of the course. 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

    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 assessments. This feedback may be issued individually and/or issued to the group and you will be encouraged to act on this feedback for your own development.

    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, the assessment timetable and the assessment brief. 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. The module pass mark for undergraduate courses is 40%. The module pass mark for postgraduate courses is 50%.

  • 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 Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

    Figures from the academic year 2022-2023.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 60% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (19%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (22%) 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 and learning support staff (85%) are recognised as fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advance HE - 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 from the academic year 2022-2023.

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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

Accounting and Finance for Senior Leaders

Year: 1

The overall aim of the module is to introduce students to the key areas of financial and management accounting. In order to achieve this, students will be exposed to some numerical calculations during the module. However, there will be significant emphasis passed on understanding the issues around the numbers and the context within which they are set. In particular, the assessment for the module will strike a balance between calculation, interpretation and discussion. In summary, whilst it is not intended to equip students with a detailed knowledge to enable them to pursue a career in accounting, the module aims to take students to a point where they are capable of engaging in intelligent discussion with financial experts and to be able to grasp the big picture rather than get lost in the detail.

Operational Excellence

Year: 1

Students will develop a strong foundation in operational data analytics and operational strategy to be able to explore the bigger picture for their organisation i.e. how operations can be transformed to provide sustainable competitive advantage and/or superior service. The module aims to support both personal and professional development.

Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development

Year: 1

Entrepreneurial activities are important for economic performance by developing new products, methods, and processes and by boosting productivity and competition more broadly. Entrepreneurship and enterprise development is reliant upon entrepreneurial leaders who possess specific traits, skills, and attitudes to think and act entrepreneurially. The aim of this module is to develop an awareness of entrepreneurship and enterprise development and understand 'how' practice occurs in different contexts. Students will develop knowledge and skills on how enterprise and entrepreneurship practitioners take advantage of opportunities and enact change through creativity and innovation.

Leadership Development

Year: 1

The module helps students to understand the building blocks of leadership and allows them to appreciate their own leadership skills and practice. It is designed to allow them to critically reflect on how they can become better at effectively leading and connecting with others in their organisations and beyond.

People and Change

Year: 1

Change remains a constant feature of organisational life and the effective management of people is at the forefront of achieving organisation objectives. This module is designed to support managers and senior leaders develop their approach to managing both change and people supporting personal and professional development.

Marketing Management

Year: 1

This module provides students with an appreciation of the nature, scope and breadth of the fundamental concepts and principles of Strategic Marketing. It represents a key underpinning to subsequent marketing and strategy related modules. This integrative module, which places particular emphasis on achieving a balanced understanding of Strategic Marketing Management theory and practice, introduces the concept of Marketing Strategy. It aims to develop students' awareness and understanding of the means by which viable business marketing strategies can be developed and implemented in a complex and challenging competitive climate.

Year two

Leading Digital Transformation and Innovation

Year: 2

Digital transformation (DT or DX) has become synonymous with forms of organisational innovation toward creating new value. This is achieved through organizational leadership and cultural transformation and by leveraging digital technologies to drive operational excellence, product leadership or customer intimacy and in the process delivering business model innovation. This module will explore DT strategy and its innovation intent from a leadership perspective and will explore the paradigm through robust frameworks of analysis.

Management Project Proposal

Year: 2

The Management Project Proposal enables experienced executive learners to propose a creative and a well thought-out PLAN that comprises of a set of systematic procedures

  • to identify a problem,
  • design and implement an intervention or other alternative approach to the problem,
  • assess the effectiveness of the proposed solution, and then
  • develop a plan for where to proceed next.

Strategy and International Competitiveness

Year: 2

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. Closely aligned to the concept of strategy is that of international competitiveness. This part of the module focuses on understanding and analysing the key determinants for international competitiveness. Viewed from the strategic management process and underpinned by the appropriate micro and macro environmental issues, the module will provide holistic view of the topic of international competitiveness with applied experiential learning opportunities focusing on the importance of key stakeholder collaborations to drive and sustain competitiveness at a firm, industry, regional and national level. This integrated approach will show the impact of strategy on competitiveness for firms, nations and regions and vice versa.

Management Project

Year: 2

Action Research represents a set of scientific and systematic procedures designed to help experienced professionals and other business practitioners to identify a problem, design and implement an intervention or other alternative approach to the problem, assess the effectiveness of the proposed solution, and then develop a plan for where to proceed next. This module enables learners to undertake an impactful, relevant and useful piece of research.

Corporate Governance and Boardroom Management

Year: 2

The module informs and equips students to effectively respond to the governance challenges organisations face today. In particular, consideration is given to the key ingredients necessary for securing the highest standards of effective corporate governance, encompassing topics such as the values and principles that underpin corporate governance; the central role of the board in decision-making; board effectiveness in corporate governance; the accountability and regulatory framework within which corporate governance operates; business ethics; corporate social responsibility; risk management; shareholder, and stakeholder, engagement; international corporate governance comparators and corporate governance in other sectors.

Standard 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.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally hold a degree with at least 2ii Honours standard or equivalent; and should have gained at least eight years relevant post-graduate work experience with some of which at managerial or senior professional capacity.

However, applications will be considered from experienced, practicing managers and technical or other specialists who do not have an honours degree but who have more significant work experience and can demonstrate the ability and commitment to complete the programme.

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


Consideration will be given to applicants who transfer from other accredited MBA courses.


Students who have studied an equivalent qualification to level 7 covering the subject matter on the MBA may, by application to the Course Committee, be granted exemption from specific modules.

Careers & opportunities

Career options

An MBA will help you develop your career whether it is progressing within your current organisation, changing career into a different profession/sector or working internationally. As a qualification, the MBA is valued and sought after by employers.

Graduates from the MBA course have found that they have been able to deliver value to their organisations through the work that they carry out on the course and thus progress their careers with their respective employers.

Other students use the MBA as a springboard to seek new opportunities both domestically and internationally.

Many students wish to either set up their own business or become business consultants. The course is specifically tailored (especially in terms of assessment and practical teaching) to allow students to develop the necessary skills and expertise to allow this fulfilment.

Work placement / study abroad

Executive MBA students tend to be in employment while undertaking the course, as such, a work placement is not offered. There are opportunities to conduct live case studies within several host organisation and students may decide to undertake their Management Project in an organisation other than their own.


Start dates

  • September 2024

Fees and funding

The price of your overall programme will be determined by the number of credit points that you initiate in the relevant academic year.

For modules commenced in the academic year 2024/25, the following fees apply:

Credit Points NI/ROI/GB Cost International Cost*
5 £407.80£588.05
10 £815.60£1,176.10
15 £1,223.40£1,764.15
20 £1,631.20£2,352.20
30 £2,446.80£3,528.30
60 £4,893.60£7,056.60
120 £9,787.20£14,113.20
180 £14,680.80£21,169.80

NB: A standard full-time PGCert is equivalent to 60 credit points per year. A standard full-time PGDip is equivalent to 120 credit points per year.

*Please note our on campus part-time postgraduate courses are not open to international (non-EU) students.

Scholarships, awards and prizes

There is a prize available on the Executive MBA awarded to student(s) who have produced outstanding work during their studies.

Additional mandatory costs

Additional fees applies for the Chartered Management Institute’s Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Leadership and Management.

It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. 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 Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.


We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

For more information visit


  1. 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.
  1. 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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An MBA will help you develop your career whether it is progressing within your current organisation, changing career into a different profession/sector or working internationally.

Progressing within your current organisation

Many of NI’s leading organisations continue to sponsor their managers to undertake our MBA seeing the benefits this brings to both the individuals and the organisation. As Jerry Milliken, Senior Director Caterpillar NI (who is also one of our graduates), explains:

“In the increasingly global and competitive environment in which we all compete, the requirement to understand changing business conditions and react quickly is now an imperative. The MBA syllabus at Jordanstown is carefully attuned to the modern business world and has allowed many Caterpillar managers in NI from across all of our functional areas, to perform with greater understanding and skill in our markets worldwide.”

Changing career into a different profession/sector

Many self-sponsored students undertake the MBA with a view of making a career change. Michael Hulland graduated in 2013 and moved from a career in Prosthetics and Orthotics to Management Consultant with PwC:

“I joined PwC a year ago and without the MBA, I don't think I would have been able to make this career change. I found the course invaluable. It gave me a broad base of knowledge that I hadn't been exposed to before and allowed me to make my health skills more transferable as well.“

SME Business Owners and Managing Directors

Increasingly, MDs and owners of local SMEs choose to study our MBA to help take their businesses to the next level. An MBA is a broad-based management qualification and so it is ideally suited to the needs of SME organisations over more specialised Master's programmes. Michael Hamill graduated in 2014, he is Superintendent Pharmacist/Managing Director at Northern Pharmacies Limited:

“I enrolled in the 2 year part time MBA course at the Ulster Business School and it has been one of my best investments to date. Running an SME for me involves balancing time and cash flow effectively as well as developing your staff to the best that they can be and I found that the range of modules on the course greatly enhanced my ability to do this. The delivery of the teaching was excellent with an effective mix of theory and practical application through talks from guest speakers involved in business and the diversity of the other students on the programme.”

Working internationally

An MBA is the only internationally recognised management qualification. Paul Brannigan graduated in 2013, joining Wrightbus as Middle East Director:

“I decided to undertake a MBA at UUJ to diversify my skill set, apply academic credibility to over 20 years of diverse business experience and obtain employment in the Middle East, a highly challenging market where an MBA is highly valued. I found my Ulster MBA experience highly rewarding, the team of lecturers were very approachable and encouraged high levels of interaction as well as lateral thinking. “