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Strategic Leadership MBA

This MBA Strategic Leadership course for working professionals prepares you for senior leadership and management roles in private, public and third-sector organisations.

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If you are working in leadership and ready to take the next step in your career, this part-time MBA Strategic Leadership course is for you. 

This degree prepares working professionals for senior leadership and management roles across private and third-sector organisations.

As well as developing your leadership, management and entrepreneurial capabilities, you’ll explore key business areas including corporate communications, financial management, business strategy and change management. 

You’ll apply your learning directly to your role with your employer and enhance your industry skills and subject knowledge. 


This course accepts UK, EU, and International students.

Course highlights

  • Prepare for senior leadership and management roles in a range of sectors 
  • Develop your leadership, management and entrepreneurial skills 
  • Explore key business areas including business strategy and change management
  • Apply your learning to your workplace as you study
  • Deliver value for your own organisation (or another) by analysing a challenge or opportunity in your workplace and providing recommendations
  • Develop your analytical and research skills 
  • Learn from industry experts and staff with research and consultancy experience, and links with industry
  • Expand your professional network with guest lectures, fellow students and by attending business events 



Accredited by: 

The University of Portsmouth has earned business accreditation from the AACSB in recognition of the outstanding quality of its business and management education. Less than six percent of the world's schools offering business degree programs hold AACSB business accreditation.

Contact Information

Student Recruitment Centre

+44 (0) 23 9284 2991

Contact Student Recruitment Centre

Entry requirements


This course accepts UK, EU, and International students.

September 2025 start (indicative)

  • A second-class honours degree (or equivalent, including professional qualifications), not necessarily in a business related subject, plus at least 3 years of work experience at a professional or managerial level.
  • Alternatively, applicants without formal qualifications, but with a minimum of 5 years of management experience, are welcome to apply.

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

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.

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.

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

  • At least 3 years of work experience at a professional or managerial level.

  • Applicants may be subject to interview and/or be asked to submit a portfolio in support of their application.

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2025 start)

Note these fees are based on courses starting in 2023. We'll confirm 2025 fees here soon.

  • Year 1: £10,100
  • Year 2: £10,100

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Year 1: £10,100
  • Year 2: £10,100

  • Year 1: £10,800
  • Year 2: £10,800

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.

Loans, scholarships and bursaries

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

Female Master's student
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 Master's courses

Explore Master's funding options, including loans, scholarships, bursaries and more.

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 as photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
  • 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.


Modules (indicative)

All modules on this MBA Strategic Leadership course are core.

The learning outcomes for this module will be available soon.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Analyse and critically interpret financial information having developed an understanding of the limitations of such information
  • Evaluate sources and management of finance
  • Utilise management accounting tools and techniques to solve problems of a management control/performance measurement nature within the organisational context

Explore this module

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to: 

  • Critically evaluate the notion of leadership in today's organizations

  • Reflect on the movement from management to leadership as well as the differing constructs of what leadership is with changing global and societal demands

  • Critically evaluate strategic leadership – what it is, how it is undertaken and how it is relevant

  • Demonstrate understanding of what culture is and how it influences behaviour in organizations

  • Examine both the notion of company and national culture and how these impact leadership

  • Reflect on the main approaches towards the management of change in the context of organizational practice and understand the pivotal role played by managers and/or leaders

  • Appraise the nature of organizations by assessing the contribution of organization theory to individuals, groups and organizations

  • Explore how ethics and sustainability debates have affected leadership within organizations globally

Explore this module

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to:

  • Develop a critical understanding of the holistic but complex nature of strategic decision-making in the context of local and global organisations. This will be demonstrated by use of different perspectives in the strategy literature. Students can use these perspectives to show their awareness of the limitations of mainstream strategy literature in dealing with the reality of strategic decision-making.

  • Evaluate the impact of the external environment, (both, locally and globally) and internal resources on an organization's future direction as well as the impact of the organization on the environment from an ethical and sustainability point of view. Students will challenge their assumptions about the context of their workplace organization both locally and globally, externally and internally. This will require creative thinking using digital technologies to explore trends in their industry. This will be augmented by the creativity and curiosity of fellow students who will challenge each others' assumptions.

  • Appraise prior knowledge, critically analyse and synthesize strategic issues facing organisations; evaluate alternatives, and make appropriate recommendations for change and understand the stakeholder implications of its implementation. Students will communicate their analysis and recommendations in a format appropriate for professional organizations. They will demonstrate their ability to communicate in different formats by discussion of a key theoretical issue affecting their organization.

  • Judge the ethical and governance implications of strategic decisions and demonstrate how to prioritize stakeholders. This will include the demonstration of a critical awareness of stakeholder implications of sustainability related practices of the organization.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes for this module will be available soon.

Explore this module

All modules on this MBA Strategic Leadership course are core.

The learning outcomes for this module will be available soon. 

Explore this module

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to: 

  • Describe crisis situations in terms of uncertainty drawing upon systems thinking

  • Critically evaluate risk management techniques as a response to crisis situations through comparison with other strategies of crisis management

  • Critically evaluate risk management techniques as a way of leading in crisis situations through demonstrating its contribution to strategy development

  • Critically evaluate risk management techniques in terms of their ethical implications

Explore this module

When you complete this module successfully, you'll be able to: 

  • Develop an understanding of systems thinking, knowledge/data management, research methodologies, and Corporate Social Responsibility processes necessary for effectively introducing the innovation and technological mechanisms that challenge traditional business methods and practices, establishing the value of ideas and change initiatives and driving continuous improvement and new ways of working across infrastructure, processes, people and culture and sustainability, in order to lead change in their area of responsibility, creating an environment for innovation and creativity.

  • Critically evaluate alternatives for creating an environment that encourages innovation and creativity via changes in organisational structures, business modelling, diversity, global and horizon scanning perspectives; governance and accountability, including technological and policy implications.

  • Critique regional and organisational structures and external social and political environments, and the use of diplomacy with diverse groups of internal and external stakeholders, to create dynamics that build engagement and develop high performance, agile and collaborative cultures that achieve innovation and enterprise.

  • Reflect on leadership behaviours and approaches to effective decision making, including use of big data insight and corporate social responsibility to implement and manage change in their area of responsibility, encouraging innovation, competitive strategies and entrepreneurialism.

  • Evaluate decision making processes, including those related to crisis and risk management strategies, that decide which new opportunities to resource.

Explore this module

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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.


Business and management studies at the University of Portsmouth is ranked 2nd of the modern universities by research power.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

Read more about our business and management research


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.

Course structure

This Master's degree will take:

  • 2 years part-time 

You can expect:

  • to attend one full day on campus every two weeks 
  • to complete 10-12 hours of independent study per week 
  • to study from September through to July in Year 1, and from September to April in Year 2
  • some online study


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.


You'll be assessed through:

  • coursework
  • assignments

Teaching staff

These are some of the expert staff who'll teach you on this course:

James McCalman Portrait

Media ready expert

Professor James McCalman

Professor of Leadership Studies

Portsmouth Business School

Faculty of Business and Law

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Alan William Tait Portrait

Media ready expert

Dr Alan Tait

Senior Lecturer

School of Strategy, Marketing, and Innovation

Faculty of Business and Law

Read more

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.

See key dates

Career development

This MBA Strategic Leadership degree will help you to progress your leadership career, either in your current company or with a new organisation. 

You'll build your professional network as you study, by working with other students and professionals and by attending a series of external speaking events where you will hear from senior leaders and experts from the private and third sectors.


Career planning

During your course you'll have expert career support from our Careers and Employability Centre, your tutors and our Business and Law Career-Ready Programme. This support will continue for 5 years after you graduate.

Female student standing at careers and employability help desk

Career support

You'll benefit from:
  • Networking events
  • Regular emails from the Career Ready Programme sharing job opportunities, application tips and events
  • Applied projects with companies such as IBM, Boeing and Hampshire County Council
  • Workshops to enhance your employability skills
  • Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair
  • 1-to-1 appointments 
  • CV and cover letter advice
  • Interview preparation and practice
  • Support starting your own business

Learn more about your career support

Supporting you

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 independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

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.

In addition to the support you get from your personal tutor, you'll also have access to our student engagement officers. They can give you confidential, impartial advice on anything to do with your studies and personal wellbeing, and refer you to specialist support services if you need extra help or support.

The Maths Cafe offers free advice and help with maths 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.

You'll have help from a team of study support tutors. Based within the Faculty of Business and Law, these tutors are familiar with the specific requirements your assignments and work closely with faculty academics. This means they can give you focused support with the specific study skills you need to be successful on your course. They're available face-to-face, by phone, email, and by video call.

They can help with:

  • academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations, projects and literature reviews)
  • reflective writing skills
  • critical thinking skills
  • delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

If you're a mature student, specialist support to help you return to learning is available.

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

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.

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

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.

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


Business and management studies at the University of Portsmouth is ranked 2nd of the modern universities by research power.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

Read more about our business and management research


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 date in September, as long as there are places available. If you wait until September 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 of Portsmouth also have some different application options, which are detailed below.

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?

Standard applications

Start this course in September 2025

You can apply for this course in 2025. In the meantime, you can sign up to an Open Evening to:

  • tour our campus and facilities
  • speak with lecturers and chat with our students
  • get information about where to live and how to fund your studies

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 2023, 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.