Business Communication for International Leadership (with Professional Experience) MA

Postgraduate students in a seminar
Mode of Study
2 years full-time with work placement
Start Date
September 2022, January 2023


Are you looking to build real business work experience and improve your leadership and cross-cultural communication skills, while also earning a Master's degree?

This 2-year MA Business Communication for International Leadership (with Professional Experience) degree course will help you achieve all three.

You'll spend your first year at university, developing your business communication and leadership skills with international markets in mind, including how to negotiate and positively influence people. You'll sharpen your verbal and written communication style and multi-cultural interpersonal skills – crucial for becoming an effective international communicator.

During your second year, you'll put your learning into action on a 12-month work placement in business or taking part in a professional experience programme tailored to your chosen career.

When you graduate, you'll be ready to take on managerial positions in multinational or international companies in fields such as corporate communication, marketing, public relations, social enterprise, management consultancy, human resource management, banking, logistics and distribution.

Prefer to study without a work placement?

You can also study for this Business Communication for International Leadership Master's without spending a year building professional experience.


This course is open to international, EU and UK students whose first language is not English. A key part of the course is improving your written and spoken business English.

Entry requirements​

MA Business Communication for International Leadership degree entry requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • A minimum of a second-class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject.
  • In rare cases, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered.
English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

What you'll experience

On this course, you'll:

  • Get invaluable first-hand business experience on a 12-month professional experience module or work placement related to your chosen career, working alongside expert business people to apply your learning and improve your employability
  • Develop your verbal and written business communication and interpersonal skills, so you can engage effectively in dialogue and negotiations across international boundaries
  • Learn how to understand and address cross-cultural differences, so you can lead an international workforce effectively
  • Immerse yourself in current business practice by engaging with experts during your studies, through guest lectures, interviews and discussion forums with industry personnel and practitioners
  • Explore strategies for sustainable leadership, managing diversity, change management and negotiation

Transferable skills you'll develop include:

  • Presentation skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Decision-making
  • Problem-solving
  • Negotiation techniques

Facilities and specialist equipment

Students talking in language labs room at computers

Digital Language Laboratories

Perfect your listening and comprehension skills in a rich, multi-media language learning environment. Find out how to integrate and manipulate video, sound, text and internet sources in different languages.

Learn more

Student in a tutor meeting

Language Corner

Meet with a language tutor, get help with specific challenges and practise your skills with proficient speakers of your chosen language in this optional weekly drop-in session.

International students in a cafe

Global Café

You can meet students from all over the world at the Global Café on Wednesday afternoons. Learn about other's cultures and practise speaking in each other's languages while making new friends and getting to share your own culture.

Feel at home in our international community

Over 5,000 international students from more than 150 countries study with us. You'll find clubs and societies for everything you can imagine.

In our welcoming and diverse city you can enjoy a wide range of global cuisine and international food shops.

Explore student life in Portsmouth

Careers and opportunities

The business world needs international leaders who can operate across cross-cultural organisational boundaries and make crucial decisions in an increasingly complex global environment.

This Master's degree will give you an internationally recognised postgraduate qualification, excellent communication skills, and a year of practical experience in the business world.

With your global mindset, you'll be able to address challenges that organisations face in relation to a wide range of issues, such as reputation management, ethical business practices and sustainability.

I learned how to analyse the sustainable development strategy of the enterprise, skills and characteristics in communication. This course will be very helpful for my future job-hunting development and how to negotiate and solve problems with different people in the workplace.

Jiaye Hans, MA Business Communication for International Leadership

What areas can I work in with a Master's degree in business communication for international leadership?

This MA Business Communication for International Leadership (with Professional Experience) degree will prepare you to work in areas such as:

  • corporate communication
  • marketing
  • public relations
  • social enterprise
  • management consultancy
  • human resources
  • banking
  • logistics and distribution

What jobs can I do with a Master's degree in business communication for international leadership?

With the leadership and management skills you'll gain, you could work toward roles such as:

  • Senior leader of corporate marketing
  • Public relations specialist
  • Sales director
  • Management consultant
  • HR manager
  • Director of public engagement
  • Global sustainability manager

Alternatively, you could continue your studies at PhD level or start your own business with help and support from the University.

Whatever comes next after your studies, our Careers and Employability Service will give you support and advice for up to 5 years after you graduate.

​What you'll study

Each module on this Master's is worth 30 credits, except the dissertation module, which is worth 60 credits, and the Placement Preparation module, which isn't worth any credits but gets you ready to identify, secure and apply for a relevant work placement.

You'll study modules worth a total of 180 credits.

Modules - Year 1

Core modules
  • Communication in Professional Contexts – 30 credits
  • Intercultural Communication in Business – 30 credits
  • International Leadership and Managing Diversity – 30 credits
  • Strategies for Sustainability Leadership – 30 credits
  • Dissertation – 60 credits
  • Placement Preparation – 0 credits

There are no optional modules.

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

12-month's professional experience

The second year of this degree is dedicated to gaining professional experience.

You'll do this by doing either a 12-month work placement or a 12-month professional experience programme, after you've completed your year of taught studies.

Work placement

A work placement gives you the opportunity to get valuable professional experience in an area related to your chosen career.

You can begin looking and applying for placements after completing your first teaching block. You'll get support from the Careers and Employability Centre and the Faculty Placement Team in identifying and applying for suitable placements, and enhancing your employability skills.

Placement opportunities are likely to be in the following sectors:

  • banking
  • marketing
  • advertising & PR
  • digital media/social media
  • retail
  • NGOs and charity organisations
  • logistics and transport
  • healthcare industry/NHS
  • information technology
  • recruitment

Note that work placements can't be guaranteed because it depends on their availability and the specific needs of placement providers. We'll give you the support you need to identify work placements but you'll be responsible for securing a placement successfully.

Professional experience programme

If you're unable to secure a work placement, you'll complete a professional experience programme designed to meet your career aspirations.

You'll further develop your employability and enterprise skills and prepare yourself for the workplace. This could be an entrepreneurship, industrial-related or consultancy project.


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • seminars
  • workshop sessions
  • one-to-one and group tutorials
  • academic skills development workshops

Teaching staff on this course include experienced experts in:

  • international business
  • international management
  • intercultural communication
  • professional communication
  • academic and language skills development
  • research methods

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a web connection.

How you're assessed

You'll be assessed through:

  • exams
  • case study analysis
  • oral presentations
  • report writing
  • written assessments
  • role plays/simulation
  • dissertation

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

How you'll spend your time

We recommend you spend 30–40 hours a week studying for your Business Communication for International Leadership Master's.

Year 1 – at university

You’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical classes and workshops for around 12 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course.

Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings. There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

The academic year runs from September to May with breaks at Christmas and Easter. It's divided into 2 teaching blocks:

  • September/October to December/January – teaching block 1
  • January/February to May – teaching block 2

Following the taught elements of your course, you'll work on your dissertation from May until September.

Year 2 – professional experience

During the 12 months of your professional experience module, your working hours will depend on your employer and role but are likely to be around 35–40 hours a week.

You'll also do around 7 hours of seminars/tutorials and work on your assessment, for which you'll need to dedicate independent study time.

Supporting your learning

You'll get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your Master's.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • Academic writing
  • Note taking
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Referencing
  • Working in groups
  • Revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to:

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

The Maths Café offers free advice and assistance with mathematical skills in a friendly, informal environment. You can come to our daily drop-in sessions, develop your maths skills at a workshop or use our online resources.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Arrival support

Whether you're travelling halfway around the world or just a few miles, starting university can be nerve wracking. Our airport pick-up service, international orientation week events and amazing support teams will help you settle in.

​Course costs and funding

September 2022 and January 2023 start

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students: £9,400 (plus £940 for the work-based module/placement)
  • EU students: £9,400 a year (plus £940 for the work-based module/placement and including Transition Scholarship)
  • International students: £16,200 (plus £1,620 for the work-based module/placement)

All fees may be subject to annual increase.

Funding your studies

Find out more how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover. 

If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government postgraduate loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.


There are various scholarships available for UK and international students.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 8 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying and memory sticks.

You may have to cover the cost of travel to and from your professional work experience placement or professional experience module.


Please only apply for this course if English is not your first language.

Starting in September 2022

Starting in January 2023

International students

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply directly to us (above) or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.

If you don’t meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.