Business communication

Mode of Study

Full-time

Duration

2 years full-time with work placement

Start date

January 2023, September 2023, January 2024

Overview

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 two 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.

Eligibility

This course accepts 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.

Course highlights

  • Get invaluable first-hand business experience on a 12-month professional experience module or work placement in a field related to your chosen career, such as banking, marketing, healthcare or logistics
  • Work 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

Accreditation

This is a dually accredited course by the CMI.

What you'll study

Full-time

All modules on this MA Business Communication for International Leadership (with Professional Experience) course are core.

What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Critically analyse and evaluate professional written, spoken and audio texts.
  • Systematically develop and apply an audience profile.
  • Systematically create and adapt information for different audiences.
  • Critically reflect on the process of report writing.
  • Comprehensively apply theories of persuasion to spoken texts.

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What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Apply cultural models critically to better understand differences and similarities.
  • Recognise and work to reduce cultural stereotypes in intercultural communication.
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge and critical understanding of the cultural challenges facing global businesses, as well as managerial and organisational challenges.
  • Develop in-depth multicultural competence and effective intercultural communication skills in global business contexts.

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What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of theories, models, concepts and frameworks of effective leadership and management in a cross-cultural context.
  • Analyse and critique current issues related to increasingly global and interconnected world and their implications on leadership and management across culture.
  • Develop advanced and effective communication skills, negotiation skills, team working skills, reflective thinking, decision-making, problem-solving and commercial awareness.
  • Apply in-depth knowledge to identify issues in a realistic and practical business context and make critical judgement about leadership and management style.

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What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge and critical understanding of theoretical frameworks, concepts, models and tools relevant for sustainable management and leadership.
  • Systematically analyse the issues facing global businesses in areas such as social responsibility, ethics, governance, stakeholder issue management.
  • Apply theoretical framework and concepts drawing on knowledge and skills learnt, supported by reflective thinking, to a complex and challenging business problem and provide recommendations.
  • Demonstrate the ability to analyse and synthesise data and information drawn from research and present a coherent argument.

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What you'll learn
The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Plan a substantial dissertation according to the specification provided.
  • Justify, deploy and critically evaluate advanced techniques of analysis within an ethical framework.
  • Systematically understand and interpret complex issues from the literature and integrate ideas appropriately into the final report.
  • Recognise weaknesses in the research methodology adopted and suggest improvements for future studies.

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Placement Preparation module

You'll also do a Placement Preparation module, which isn't worth any credits but gets you ready to identify, secure and apply for a relevant work placement.

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, course content is revised and regularly reviewed.  This may result in changes being made in order to reflect developments in research, learning from practice and changes in policy at both national and local levels.

Graduation Class of 2021

Joining us as an international student

You'll feel at home in our international community and our diverse city. You'll be joining over 5,000 international students from more than 150 countries who are studying with us.

Learn more about international student life and how we can help you with visas, applications, arrival and settling in. 

Information for international students

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

Careers and opportunities

Careers this Master's prepares you for

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.

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

Startup support

If you're interested in starting your own business, our student enterprise team will be on hand to give you help, support and advice. You can even access specialist support from our Entrepreneurs in Residence to help develop your business ideas.

Graduates of this course will be prepared to work in areas such as:

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

Graduates of this course can work towards roles such as:

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

9 reasons to do a Master's

Career planning

During your course you'll have expert career support from your tutors and from our Careers and Employability Centre, which you can access for 5 years after you graduate.

Female student standing at careers and employability help desk

You'll benefit from:

  • Networking events
  • 1-to-1 appointments  
  • CV and cover letter advice
  • Interview preparation and practice
  • Workshops to enhance your employability skills
  • Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair
  • Support starting your own business

Learn more about your career support

Placement year

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.

How you'll spend your time

We recognise that you'll probably be juggling more demands when you do your Master's degree, as you may be working or you may have family responsibilities.

We'll give you as much indication here as we can of how much time you'll need to be on campus and how many hours you can expect to spend in self-directed study, but please note that these indications are always subject to change. You should receive your full timetable several weeks before you start with us.

It is our expectation that all international students will join us here on campus in Portsmouth.

Course structure

This Master's degree will take 2 years (1 year at University and 1 year gaining professional experience).

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.

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.

Teaching

Master's study is deeper and more specialised than an undergraduate degree. This means you'll focus on something that really matters to you and your career as you work closely with academics committed to the subject.

You'll spend more time in independent study and research than you did for your undergraduate degree, but the majority of your teaching time will be in-person and face-to-face.

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

Assessment

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.

Meet your course leader

Monalisa Haque

I am a Senior Teaching Fellow in International Business and Management at the School of Languages and Applied Linguistics, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

My research focuses on environmental management strategy implementations by Multinational Corporations (MNCs). I am particularly interested in exploring the adoption/diffusion of Eco-innovation (EI) strategies of MNCs in a cross-border context. In my research, I employ a comparative research approach between a home country and host country identifying institutional, organisational and cross-border nature of influences and moderating relationships and a theoretical explanation of these influences.

Read my full profile

Term dates

September start

The Master's academic year runs from September to the following September. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter. Over the summer you'll be writing your project / dissertation.

January start

Courses that start in January have the same amount of teaching as September-start courses, but they normally run over a longer time period.

January-start courses normally run between 14–18 months, beginning in January and ending in the spring / summer of the following year. There are breaks at Christmas, Easter and in the summer. In the last few months you’ll be writing your project / dissertation.

See key dates

Facilities and specialist equipment

two female students speaking with headsets

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.

Explore the laboratories

Student writing

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.

Student group discussion

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.

Supporting your learning

Master's study is more focused on independent learning than undergraduate study, but you'll get lots of support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from 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 support 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)
  • 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

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 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.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (January 2023 start)

  • Full time: £9,400 (plus £940 for the work-based module/placement)

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £9,400 (plus £940 for the work-based module/placement)
  • Full time: £16,200 (plus £1,620 for the work-based module/placement)

Tuition fees (September 2023 and January 2024 start)

  • Full time: £9,900 (plus £990 for the work-based module/placement)

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £9,900 (plus £990 for the work-based module/placement)
  • Full time: £17,200 (plus £1,720 for the work-based module/placement)

University of Portsmouth graduates may receive a 20% alumni tuition fee discount

Fees are subject to annual increase. Read our tuition fees terms and conditions.

You'll be able to pay your fees in instalments. Find out how to pay your tuition fees.

Funding your studies

Explore how to fund your studies, including available scholarships and bursaries.

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

If you're a UK student who achieved a first in your undergraduate degree you may be eligible for a £3,000 University of Portsmouth scholarship.

Loans, scholarships and bursaries

Browse funding such as the Government Postgraduate Loan, our scholarships for new and returning students, and subject specific loans.

Explore funding

Funding for international students

Learn more about sponsorships, scholarships and loans for students applying from outside of the UK.

international business students
Discover your options

Fees and funding for postgraduate taught courses

Discover how you can fund your postgraduate studies at Portsmouth – including loans, scholarships and bursaries – and read our guidance on topics like how to budget, and how to get support if you're disabled or have dependents.

Explore funding

Additional 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 could include:

  • Accommodation: Accommodation options and costs can be found on our accommodation pages
  • Recommended reading: You can borrow key texts from the library and if you choose to purchase these texts they may cost up to £60 each.
  • General costs: such photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
  • Placement expenses: You'll need to budget for travel to and from your placement or placements.
  • Final project transport or accommodation: where necessary, which related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Entry requirements

Eligibility

This course accepts 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.

January 2023 / September 2023 / January 2024 start

  • A minimum of a second-class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject.

Please get in touch if you're not sure if your undergraduate subject is relevant to this degree.

Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered, such as previous study, employment, voluntary work and training courses, including courses and qualifications you didn't complete. Learn more about our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

If you're applying as an international student with a non-UK degree, you’ll need to show you meet the UK entry requirements listed above.

To find out if your non-UK degree or other qualification is accepted, please visit our page for your country and view the UK equivalent of your qualification. 

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component score below 6.0.

You do not need an IELTS or equivalent certification if:

  • you have a UK degree
  • you have a degree from a majority English speaking country (not taught by Distance Learning)
  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country

Degrees taught solely in English from non-majority English speaking countries will be considered on a case by case basis. Find out more about our English language requirements.

If you do not 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.

How to apply

Unlike undergraduate applications, which go through UCAS, applications for this Master's course are made directly to us.

There's no deadline for applications to this course. We accept applications right up until the start dates in September and January, as long as there are places available. If you wait until your start month to apply, you may find that the course is full. 

If you're applying as an international student, remember that you'll need to leave plenty of time to get your visa organised.

You can find more advice about applying in our Master's application checklist. International students and current students and recent graduates of the University

Extra information for international students

If you're an international student, you can apply directly to us using the same application form as UK students.

You could also 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.

Ready to apply?

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

Standard applications

Start this course in January 2023

Please contact us

Start this course in September 2023

Apply now (full-time)

Start this course in January 2024

Apply now (full-time)

I'm a current Portsmouth student, or a recent Portsmouth graduate

If you're currently in your final year of study at Portsmouth, or you graduated since July 2021, you're eligible to make a fast track application. You'll have:

  • a shorter application form to complete
  • access to the 20% Alumni fee discount
  • a guaranteed conditional offer, for most Master's courses 

Learn more about fast track

After you apply

Once we receive your application, we may ask you for further information. We will then either make you an offer or suggest alternatives if your application is unsuccessful.

You'll usually get a decision within 10 working days, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Some courses have an interview stage – we'll let you know if you need to prepare for one.

Learn more about how we assess your application.

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.