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: MSc Strategic Leadership
Apprenticeship standard: Senior Leader
Degree 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: April
Locations: London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle

This programme is currently under review. The Institute for Apprenticeships have completed their review of the Level 7 Senior Leader apprenticeship standard and as result, the degree element has been removed. The April intake will run as normal, provided you apply by the 5th March, and will still include the MSc Strategic Leadership degree award. We will update this web page with information about planned intakes in due course.

For learners applying to begin their programme in April: 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 April. 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.

Throughout the programme, you will become knowledgeable about the theory and practice of responsible business, leadership and management in the context of your own personal and professional practice, organisation and sector-specific contextual drivers, and broader societal and global challenges.

What distinguishes this apprenticeship from other master’s level study programmes is the employer-defined knowledge, skills and behaviour (KSBs) outcomes that are integrated and assessed, underpinned with a management master’s degree, and the potential to achieve professional recognition.

Key facts:

  • Graduate with a recognised MSc Strategic Leadership award alongside a Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership with the 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
  • Assessments are 100% relevant to your work
  • Enhance your career prospects through the ability to demonstrate your contribution to enhanced organisational performance



PLEASE NOTE: To be eligible for one of our Degree Apprenticeship programmes, learners must:
(1) be currently in full-time employment and based in the UK
(2) be interested in completing a Degree Apprenticeship with their current employer

On this programme, you will develop your ability to critically reflect on your leadership approach and management capability and practice. You will also cultivate an awareness of cultural and ethical issues that impact on your individual practice and organisational contexts.

This programme aims to provide you with a framework of learning that develops your personal and professional capabilities as an existing or aspiring senior leader, supports you in applying cutting edge business theory into enhancing organisation practice and builds your capacity to lead investigations, people and projects in the workplace.

Senior Leader Degree Apprenticeship

Successfully achieving the MSc 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 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 MSc 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 MSc 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.

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.

Contact hours, self-study and assessment methods

For each 20 credit module you will have 30 hours of contact time, this can be on Centre workshops or virtual 1-2-1 sessions. This contact time supports 60 hours of tutor-guided independent learning, your own independent learning of 44 hours and 60 hours of work-based learning. Whilst this may sound like a lot, these are across the whole module.

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.

Download Programme Handout

This programme is specifically designed for those in employment and who are seeking to develop their careers as a strategic leader.

All modules are 20 credits unless otherwise stated.

Leader Identity, Leadership and Responsible Organisations

This module is the capstone of the programme and provides aspiring leaders with an opportunity to critically reflect upon the contribution of leadership in the context of organisations. Furthermore, it allows you to think about the responsibility of individual leaders and organisations in the context of contemporary ethical and sustainable challenges to business.

As a result of this approach, the module provides a bridge between the focus on individual leadership skills, competencies and behaviours (knowing self and leadership identity) and the theory and practice of leading and managing in organisations.

Leading Organisational Strategy and Change

Competences in Leading Strategy and Change are highly desirable skills in a dynamic and competitive organisation. This module will enable you to critically evaluate the range of internal and external factors that impact strategic positioning and performance

The module encourages you to integrate your work/life experiences to what you learn to help understand theories, frameworks, and concepts. It will analyse contemporary theories and models informing strategic approaches to leading change and managing new ways of working across infrastructure, processes, people, culture and sustainability within organisations.

Finance and Operations Leadership

Central to understanding how organisations achieve success is the appreciation of how accounting, finance and operations can be used for strategic advantage. This module will develop your knowledge and critical appreciation of the key components of accounting, finance and operations and enable you to apply these within the context of a successful commercial organisation.

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, accounting and operational techniques to strategically manage the direction of the business and finally, to understand how corporate expansion can successfully and sustainably take place.

Future of Work and Organisation Development

As the future of work and organisations continue to change and take on new shapes, legal and regulatory forms, leaders will have a critical role to play both as strategic partners in organisations, supporting and developing front line employees as well as managers, and enabling change.

This module focuses on developing your understanding of key theories and approaches within organisational behaviour to enable you to develop your capacity to lead 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.

Leading Innovation in the Digital Organisation

This module will provide you with theoretical and applied perspectives on the challenges and opportunities of managing in the digital economy. Through the use of a range of current topical and case-based examples this module will illustrate the far-reaching impact that rapid technological change, digital strategies and disruptive innovation has on companies, governments, individuals and society.

Throughout the module you will be supported by a range of learning material drawn from academic, professional and practitioner 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.

Managing Inquiry and Data Analytics for Decision Making

The growth of evidence-based management and the increasing range and amount of data that managers are expected to process on a regular basis requires managers to have analytical skills and a sound understanding of research.

This module will equip you with the necessary practical skills needed to manage this complexity and to generate conclusions, which can be used to support management decisions.

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.

Managing 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.

  • At least 3 years’ work experience with management responsibility
  • A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • You must be in employment

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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