Course overview

This programme is delivered in partnership by QA and Northumbria University with the degree awarded by Northumbria University.

Level of study: Postgraduate
Award: MBA
Apprenticeship standard: Senior Leader
Awarding body: Northumbria University
Fees: This programme is fully funded by your employer through the Apprenticeship Levy
Entry requirements: minimum of 3 years’ management or leadership experience and 2:2 honours degree, or equivalent
English language requirements: GCSE English or English taught degree
Mode of study: Part-Time, blended and work-based learning
Duration: 2 years + completion of the End Point Assessment, typically 6 months
Assessment methods: Coursework only, End Point Assessment includes presentation, portfolio and professional discussion
Start date: October, January, April and July
Locations: London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle

For learners applying to begin their programme in January: QA has two primary objectives during this rapidly evolving period regarding Coronavirus (Covid-19). The first is to ensure the welfare of our learners and staff, and the second is to ensure continuity and access to learning. In line with the sector as a whole and its response to Covid-19, if necessary, we will implement online teaching for this programme to allow you to begin your programme this January. As circumstances allow, we will review this decision with a view to bringing the programme back to a mix of blended and face-to-face delivery at the earliest appropriate time.

Our MBA programme enables you to build on your existing practical and academic experiences to develop your knowledge and skills in strategy, innovation and change, enterprise and risk, financial governance, leading and developing people and developing collaborative relationships. Importantly throughout the MBA, you are encouraged to explore the application of theory to the workplace and in turn to use your work experience to test the theory.

By studying the Northumbria MBA Degree Apprenticeship, you will not only gain an internationally recognised and prestigious qualification but you will also embark on a personal and professional development journey that transforms you into a reflective, innovative and socially responsible strategic leader with the appropriate skills to think critically and make informed decisions.

Key facts:

  • Graduate with a recognised MBA award alongside a Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership Potential to achieve full Chartered Manager (CMgr) or Chartered Fellow (CMgr FCMI) professional recognition
  • Receive one-to-one executive coaching and/or mentoring are offered to support your development
  • Integrate academic learning to your day to day management and leadership practice
  • Develop knowledge and skills in strategy, innovation, finance, change, developing people and leadership
  • Assessments are 100% relevant to your work
  • Enhance your career prospects through the ability to demonstrate your contribution to enhanced organisational performance




Our MBA is designed specifically to develop behaviours such as leading by example, judging and challenging, reflecting on your own courage and curiosity, valuing difference and demonstrating professional standards in relation to your own performance and behaviour.

In your final year, you will undertake a work-based project which must be agreed and supported by your employer and conducted as part of your normal work. This will bring together elements of learning from different parts of the programme and show evidence of accumulated knowledge and understanding of management and the application of these within your organisation.

Senior Leader Degree Apprenticeship

Successfully achieving the MBA is one of the pre-requisites to completing the Senior Leader Degree apprenticeship. In addition, you are required to demonstrate the knowledge skills and behaviours embedded in the degree apprenticeship standard through a combination of a showcase presentation based on your work-based project, a portfolio of evidence and a professional discussion.

Your executive coach and your workplace mentor focus particularly on your development and application of the knowledge, skills and behaviours that you are expected to demonstrate and evidence to gain the apprenticeship and become a Chartered Manager.

Each module learning plan will clearly outline the relevant knowledge and skills outcomes and assessment criteria within the SLMDA Assessment plan which are expected to be evidenced on the programme and in the workplace. You are expected to take responsibility to plan and manage your own learning journey in order to meet the requirements of the module and overall SLMDA standard.

CMI Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership

As a registered MBA student, you will become an affiliate member of CMI throughout the duration of your studies and have access to all of their online resources as part of your course fee. The programme is also mapped against the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) criteria. You can apply for a CMI level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership upon successful completion of the MBA and the apprenticeship. A separate fee is payable to the CMI for this diploma.

How will I be taught?

The programme has been designed to recognise the specific learner characteristics of work-based learners. It is supported by a series of academic and professional skills workshops which build on your learning in the taught modules to facilitate your learning and assessment at the master’s level.

On Centre learning is delivered through workshops which support the work-based,  tutor-led and independent learning approach of the programme.

As a Senior Leader Apprentice, your employer will allocate 20% of your working week for off the job training. This will be unique to you and will be organised between you, your employer and workplace mentor.

Contact hours, self-study and assessment methods

For each 10 credit module, you will have 30 hours of tutor-guided learning, 22 hours of independent learning and undertake 30 hours work-based learning.

Studying for the SLDA is an integrated activity with your day-to-day work, with the opportunity to apply what you have learnt to normal activities and those that unfold as you develop into a senior leader. This study should be seen as a series of small activities that include researching, engaging with critical action sets, working on your assessment and logging evidence of knowledge, skills and behaviours.

Assessment for the MBA is through coursework only.

For the Senior Leader Degree Apprenticeship, you will enter the End Point Assessment following completion of the MBA. An Assessment Plan is created between you and your Executive Coach at the start of the programme and you will be assessed through a presentation, portfolio and professional discussion.

Download Programme Handout

Typically graduates of our MBA progress into senior management, executive, project lead, and consultancy roles in large, medium and small organisations, as well as some realising self-employment opportunities across private, public and third sectors.

By studying our MBA, you will not only gain an internationally recognised and prestigious qualification but you will also embark on a personal and professional development journey that transforms you into a reflective, innovative and socially responsible strategic leader with the appropriate skills to think critically and make informed decisions.

All modules are 10 credits unless otherwise stated.

Accounting and Finance

Understanding how accounting and finance can be used for strategic advantage can help you advance to senior positions. This module will develop your knowledge and critical appreciation of the key components of accounting and finance and enable you to apply these within the context of a successful commercial organisation. The module will include key concepts in relation to investment and financing decisions, operational controls, and financial health and growth. You will be able to build your knowledge starting with how to choose and appraise an investment decision; dealing with operational matters that keep the business running; using finance and accounting techniques to strategically manage the direction of the business and finally, to understand how corporate expansion can successfully and sustainably take place. Reflective of the research strength within the Business School within responsible business, you will be encouraged to engage with CSR and ethical decision making.

Managing People & Organisations

Effective management of people is vital for the achievement of an organisation’s strategic goals, yet it is hard to do well and easy to do badly. This module focuses on developing your understanding of key theories and approaches within organisational behaviour to enable you to develop your capacity to manage more effectively. Through experiential learning you will be equipped to evaluate your own approach to people management, develop your ability to analyse management problems and develop potential solutions.

Strategic Marketing

Any senior business executive must be strategic in their understanding of how to market to consumers, intermediaries and other organisations, in order to flourish in a competitive and swiftly evolving business environment. Strategic Marketing is at the heart of any successful commercial operation – regardless of sector, location or size – and may be conceptualised as the driving force of the entire organisation and the means by which organisational objectives are delivered. This module provides the skills and knowledge for you to steer your organisation’s Marketing and Sales operations successfully, and to gain a competitive advantage over other rival organisations and deliver sustained incremental performance.

Data Analytics for Business Decision Making

Business decision making is an increasingly complex field. Some of this complexity is due to the range and amount of data that managers are expected to process on a regular basis: for example, examining large data sets for emerging trends, monitoring progress on projects or forecasting for decision making.

This module will equip you with some of the practical skills needed to manage this complexity and to generate conclusions which can be used for management decision making. Through experiential learning, you will develop the ability to analyse data using a variety of approaches, each best suited to particular problem scenarios. Since the emphasis is on practical applications of the techniques discussed many classes will take place in IT workshops very much enabling participants to ‘learn by doing’. This IT based approach will complement the learning found in other modules by developing a different skill set and ensuring that the learning experienced has a real-world application in business.

Global Business Environment

The global business environment today is a complex network of relationships which ties different types of stakeholders. Governments, companies and organisations are constantly interconnected with the external environment, and these interactions constantly shape the forms and trajectories of different countries and blocs worldwide.

The context in which these entities operate includes a diverse range of influences e.g. economic, social, political, legal, technological, which affect businesses and communities in a variety of ways. This module is designed to provide a foundation to better understand the global business environment and its evolution, and how this has implications for companies, economies and societies worldwide. The module explores and examines business activities (from input to output to consumption) and the distribution and consumption of output (e.g. goods and services), with the objective to understand how resources are managed and developed, and the derived implication for a different range of stakeholders operating at a global and local level.

Operations and Supply Chain Management

Operations and Supply chain has become the competitive advantage for many companies and the demand for supply chain management talents is rising. This module provides the essential knowledge and skills in operations and supply chain management giving you a theoretical and practical understanding of various operations and supply chain topics. In particular, this module will lead you to apply these theories and principles in real business practices. Latest research outputs will be learned, discussed and finally applied into practice. Various techniques such as online supply chain game will be used to help you understand the rationale behind the theories. You will undertake various assessment tasks leading to a final assignment which places emphasis on your research findings of selected topics. These problem solving and analytical skills are directly transferable to your work life. Your additional experiences within the module centre on support reading giving you additional awareness of the broad scope of supply chain management such as sustainability issues in supply chain management.

Critical Management Inquiry

The growth of evidence-based management, the increasing range and amount of data that managers are expected to process on a regular basis, the rapid development of management ideas and approaches, and the need for management decisions to be based on sound analysis all lead to a need for managers to have analytical skills and a sound understanding of research.

Strategic Management 

Strategic thinking and the ability to do effective strategy formulation and execution are key to businesses across industries. The need for and benefit of these skills is no longer limited to elite staff groups or top executives. Increasingly, companies expect their product managers, senior business analysts and mid-level executives in diverse functions to possess the ability to understand strategic contexts and think and act strategically. Therefore, this module will focus on the craft, the opportunities and the challenges of developing strategies in these roles. As we do so, the most basic strategic question is: How do we best position and compete among significant uncertainty and ambiguity to maximize the value created and profits made in a sustainable way?

Leader Identity and Leadership

Are leaders born, or can they be developed? What does it mean to be a responsible leader? The module is designed to be both stimulating and enlightening in terms of your practice as a leader and/or manager, as informed by classical and contemporary theories of leadership. The module will engage you in a process of analysing yourself and others as leaders, and how you can progress leadership through development. You will consider your identity as a leader; your values, motives and goals and thereby develop intra and interpersonal awareness. You will engage in a number of activities designed by the teaching team that will help you to understand what it means to be a responsible effective leader. You will also further explore the relationship between leadership and followership, and demonstrate how leadership practice is influenced by diversity.

Responsible Business

Is it possible to lead a good life as a business manager? This module will ask you to reflect on that question by exploring the ethical issues that you encounter as a business manager in the organisational and wider social contexts in which you work. The module will encourage you to consider the criteria by which ‘Responsible Businesses’ are best identified; these include the relationship between the organisation and its stakeholders, the possible tension between organisational goals and moral standards, and the ways in which managers cope with challenges to their ethical commitments by resisting pressure or by compartmentalising their ethical choices. These questions will be addressed through case-based teaching and assessment, supported by extensive online resources and material.

Managing in the Digital Economy

This module will provide you with theoretical and applied perspectives on the challenges and opportunities of managing in the digital economy. Through using a range of current topical and case-based examples this module will illustrate the far-reaching impact that rapid technological change, new digital strategies and disruptive innovation, is having on companies, governments, individuals and society. The module will show these impacts are interrelated, and dynamic and unpredictable in character. The assessment explores this dynamic interaction, providing you with the opportunity to explore in detail the impact of digital transformational change. Throughout the module you will be supported by a range of learning material drawn from academic, professional and non-academic sources, enabling you to clearly understand the socio-economic impact and contribute to developing new strategies to reap potential value from the global digital economy.

Innovation and Entrepreneurs

This module will provide you with theoretical and applied perspective about entrepreneurship and innovation at the firm level by focusing on understanding the entrepreneur and innovator, the entrepreneurial and innovation processes, corporate entrepreneurship and types of innovation. The module will focus on emerging entrepreneurship and innovation issues such as business failure, management innovation, open innovation and scientific based entrepreneurship. You will undertake an assessment where you will have an opportunity to understand the real challenges of entrepreneurship and innovation for firms. Your learning will be supported by a wide variety of learning material drawn from academic, policy and practice sources nationally and internationally. This material will help you develop a clear understanding of the core theoretical concepts of innovation and entrepreneurship and how it applies in practice in different organisational settings. This combination will deepen your knowledge and expertise of innovation and entrepreneurship, further your effectuating capacity as a manager in supporting innovation and entrepreneurship within your own organisational context.

Academic and Professional Skills (0 credits)

This module will support your transition into postgraduate higher education by developing your specific skills and attributes to both manage your studies, and to communicate your ideas effectively within the academic community and giving you an insight on how these skills contribute to your professional development. The module supports you to draw on your own experiences at work allowing you to reflect and evaluate your own effectiveness in this area, and plan your own personal development and approaches to managing your future career.

This module aims to provide you with the skills to manage your studies effectively at postgraduate level. It applies your skills towards effective academic communication, developing appropriate independent research projects, as well as evaluating your own and others research in order to develop persuasive and effective arguments.

You will develop your critical academic voice, assess a range of primary and secondary information sources, using these to construct effective academic arguments, as well as apply ethical considerations to your own projects and those of others.

Management Investigation (60 credits) 

You will learn how to conduct a research-led investigation into a management issue, topic or problem guided by your programme of study and framed in the context of an organisation.

Your learning will cover:

  • Conducting research in organisations
  • The identification of a researchable question.
  • Primary research, data collection, questionnaire design, etc.
  • Secondary research, literature review, further sources of information.
  • The analysis of findings
  • Writing recommendations and an action plan
  • Report writing
  • Presentation technique
  • Reflection on the learning process

This module will enable you to develop your management knowledge, skills and personal effectiveness within the work environment through the critical analysis of a work based problem or issue and the identification of realistic recommendations for improvement/implementation as appropriate. You will critically reflect on ‘real world’ practices, with a view to using these reflections in implementing appropriate change.

The course information published on this page is accurate for the academic year 2020/21 and every effort is taken to ensure it is kept up to date. We aim to run the course as advertised however, changes may be necessary due to updates to the curriculum (due to academic, industry or apprenticeship standard developments), learner demand or UK compliance reasons.

Skills Coach

Your Skills Coach will be your primary, non-academic contact, supporting you in the successful progression and completion of your apprenticeship. Your coach will support you in reviewing your progress and collecting evidence of your practice at work to integrate into your module assessments and final endpoint project/assessment. They are also a point of contact for queries, concerns, or general support.

Your Coach can help you with:

  • Coaching and supporting work-based learning activities
  • Reviewing your progress with your apprenticeship portfolio progress
  • Help with achieving your EPA
  • Advice and guidance on mitigating (extenuating) circumstances processes and potential breaks in learning.

Workplace Mentor

A Workplace Mentor will be appointed by your employer and typically would be someone you work with. Your workplace mentor will be familiar with the apprenticeship programme and its workplace requirements. They will facilitate the workplace learning opportunities to enable you to meet the requirements of the degree apprenticeship standard.

ACE Team

They are the Academic Community of Excellence (ACE) Team, and amongst the team, have many years of experience providing academic guidance to students on subjects such as how to write in an academic style, how to read smarter rather than longer and how to reference accurately.

The ACE Team will provide you with support on academic matters outside of the classroom. You can also book 1-1 meetings (mainly online) with the ACE Team and get feedback on your academic style of writing, references and critical report writing.

How can the ACE Team support you?

  1. ‘Welcome to the World of Academia’ online workshops: if you wish to have an introduction to or a review of the different aspects of academic life before starting your programme, then please do join their online workshops (non-obligatory – but much to be gained from joining!).
  2. One-to-one tutorials: you can book a virtual 30-minute tutorial to discuss your academic development skills, such as paraphrasing, referencing and academic writing.
  3. Online workshops: we offer ongoing support workshops on a variety of academic subjects such as structuring an argument, academic style and criticality.
  4. Our own-created range of learner materials: we have also developed a wide range of ACE Team created materials based on common questions and academic needs.

QA Welfare Services

Our Student Welfare Team is on hand to assist you throughout your studies. Some degree apprenticeship learners have additional learning needs which the Welfare Team can assist with, or they might help you with personal circumstances that are affecting your studies.

  • A minimum of 3 years postgraduate work experience with management and/or leadership responsibilities.
  • An honours degree 2:2, or An equivalent academic qualification, or An equivalent professional qualification

Applications will be considered on an individual basis and therefore, applicants without formal qualifications but have substantial senior level management experience are encouraged to apply. You should contact the programme leader to discuss your application.

Apprenticeship GCSE requirements

All apprenticeship candidates are required to provide evidence of a functional skills qualification at level 2 in both Maths and English Language, equivalent to a GCSE minimum grade C or equivalent.  If you have studied for a new GCSE for which you will be awarded a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a minimum grade 4. If you cannot evidence the Maths and English requirements on entry to the programme, the University can provide support to enable you to achieve them during your studies, but you must have achieved the qualifications before completing the programme.

There is no cost to you as a degree apprentice. Degree Apprenticeships are fully funded by the Apprenticeship Levy through your employer.

If you’re an employer, the total fee for this programme is:

  • £18,000

You should also be prepared to buy some of the course texts which are around £40 each. This would average around £200-250 pa.

If you are interested in applying to study or to offer a Degree Apprenticeship, please complete the enquiry form on this page and one of our account managers will be in touch.

In order to join a Degree Apprenticeship, the employer will either recruit new staff or select existing staff that are suitable for the programme.


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