Teaching and learning in 2020/21

In order to prioritise the safety of students and staff, we are planning to teach through a flexible combination of online and onsite learning. For more details on changes to this course, see our undergraduate course changes page or postgraduate course changes page.

Course Overview

UK/EU Fees £5,750 *
International Fees £6,500 *
Alumni Discount See details
Duration 2 years

* Price per academic year

Course summary

In a turbulent, rapidly changing business environment, the demand for HR professionals who can strategically manage and develop staff potential – while overcoming issues such as redundancy, flexible working and the recent challenges of furloughed staff and social distancing – has never been more fundamental to business success. 

Our career-focused MA is fully accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), the only professional body in the world that can award Chartered status to HRM or Learning and Development professionals. It is designed to build your understanding of the theory, practices and policies associated with evidence-based Human Resource Management (HRM) as they relate to real-world situations, equipping you with the knowledge, competencies and analytical skills to effectively manage organisational strategy and operations from an HR perspective. 

Our problem-based approach to teaching means you’ll get to apply what you learn to management problems through assignments and projects based on actual situations. We’ll draw on everyday HR issues in the news, case studies and current examples, at times addressing some of our own students’ workplace experiences. You’ll learn to collect and analyse relevant data and information, developing your ability to identify, evaluate and propose the most appropriate solutions looking at issues ranging from flexible working to employee engagement, managing change or reward management.

Our annual HRM conference offers you the chance to hear direct from a range of guest speakers, who have previously covered issues such as immigration and labour supply, and the impact of EU legislation on employee relations post-Brexit. You’ll also have the opportunity to develop essential HR practitioner skills through a series of practical workshops in areas such as finance, employment law, interviewing, disciplinary and grievance handling, counselling and negotiating. Working in teams, you might simulate dealing with a disciplinary hearing, for example, or conducting a job evaluation exercise. When studying people resourcing, you may participate in an assessment centre or practise your interviewing skills.

Whether you’re a graduate intending to work in HR or a current practitioner seeking to advance, our course, with its focus on professional practice, will help you progress your career. With working professionals in mind, this course can be studied both full-time or part-time. Part-time study is either evenings only or a combination of evening and half-day study. Past graduates have secured jobs as consultants (internal and external), HR managers, compensation and benefits managers, change management specialists, HR business partners/operations managers, civil servants and mediators.

Top reasons to study with us

  • 100% satisfaction among full-time students (2019 Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey)
  • Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), meeting the L7 advanced knowledge requirements needed for full membership on graduation
  • We pay your joining fee and initial CIPD membership fee, giving you student access to CIPD knowledge resources and professional networking events, part of a 150,000-strong worldwide member network
  • Annual HRM Conference offers the chance to hear from leading experts, with past themes including making a difference at work, talent management and HRM in transition
  • Taught by accomplished professionals with specialist HR knowledge and experience of academia, research and training, some as senior HR professionals and consultants
  • Workshop series for essential skills in interviewing, negotiation, counselling and disciplinary handling
  • Optional 8-12 week internship

Course structure

We cover a range of core topics, including: human resource management, organisational analysis and development; leadership; learning and development; employee engagement; management skills; analytical and diagnostic techniques; and ethical requirements within the workplace.

You will also choose two optional modules each semester from a large range of subject areas, which allows you to tailor your studies to match your interests. If you are interested in human resource development, for example, you can choose to focus on learning and development and designing and delivering training. Alternatively, if you wish to broaden the scope of your studies, you can incorporate anything from employment law and international HRM to reward management and employee relations.

Please note that if you are studying part-time, your studies will be split over four semesters instead of two.

Semester 1

The core Managing Human Resources module is designed to give you a solid overview of HRM theory and practice, exploring  approaches to human resource practice and the implications for organisational success. We’ll also examine the theory and practice of leadership and management and give you a greater insight into how businesses operate and the economic, social, political and governance issues that affect how managers make key decisions.

You’ll participate in two one-day workshops on disciplinary handling and counselling as part of our commitment to developing essential practitioner skills. You’ll also be introduced to research methods in preparation for your research project.

Semester 2

As the course develops, we’ll examine the skills required to be an effective HR manager or consultant, focusing on how to diagnose HRM problems and apply appropriate solutions taking particular account of specific international, national and local contexts, institutions and cultures.

The project module gives you the chance to demonstrate your ability to critically analyse, research and report independently on a specific HRM problem, practice, policy or opportunity, through systematic enquiry and the integration of theory. You may, for example, analyse how remote working influences employee engagement, or investigate best practice in redundancy and dismissal.

The following modules are indicative of what students study on this course. All modules are subject to the CIPD and University of Westminster approval.

Core modules

You will examine the working environment of HR practitioners by analysing the impact of economic, political, social and technological factors.

You will explore different approaches to the management of human resources and the implications for organisational success.

The aim of this module is to enable you to develop or evaluate, on the basis of empirical or conceptual research and analytic rigour, a specific area of human resource knowledge.

This module aims to develop your knowledge and competence of the research process, and the application of research methods in the area of human resource management.

You will develop the interpersonal management skills and techniques you need to work both as an internal and external consultant to organisations.

A choice of two of the following CIPD modules:

Option modules

This module encourages you to develop and reflect on your knowledge of UK employee relations from a number of different theoretical perspectives.

This module provides you with the theoretical underpinning necessary to critically evaluate both individual and organisational learning processes.

This module examines the ways in which organisational effectiveness is influenced by structures, technologies, culture, power and attitudes. You will use concepts and modes of analysis to critically evaluate, organisational design and development.

You will develop your critical awareness of the links between an organisation's need to achieve corporate objectives, and its need for people.

This module focuses on the management of reward systems, critically analysing the links between reward systems and employee behaviour, through the use of theory and case studies.

You will also choose two from the following additional option modules:

Additional option modules

This module focuses on a critical exploration of good practice in assessment at work.

The module focuses on the evolving role of Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) in an environment of unprecedented economic uncertainty and intensification of competition driven by advances in globalisation.

The module provides you with the theoretical underpinning necessary to understand the processes of designing and delivering effective training.

You will develop your knowledge of, and ability to evaluate, UK employment law requirements.

This module concentrates on the international context of HRM, and the policies and procedures that organisations need to devise when designing international human resource strategies.

The module provides you with the ability to critically appreciate the philosophies, theories, models and techniques underpinning the management development processes at both the corporate and individual levels.

You will examine the ways in which corporate cultures impact on the management of organisational change. Through a critical analysis of relevant concepts, models and methods, you will develop the skills to manage change within different organisational environments.

This module explores and considers the structure and implications of difference and inequality within the employment relationship by examining the historical, sociological, economic and psychological basis of discrimination.

Accreditation

Westminster Business School will pay your CIPD joining fee and your membership fees for the first period of your studies. You will also be provided with text books which contain the essential reading for the core modules.

Programme Specification

For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the programme specification.

Careers

This course will enhance your career prospects and marketability in the professional practice of HRM. As a postgraduate, you can look forward to excellent career prospects in managerial or organisational roles, either here in the UK or abroad, which focus on human resources or people development. You’ll be particularly well placed to pursue people-focused career opportunities in areas such as change management, industrial/employment relations and reward management.

Past students have become consultants (internal and external), HR managers, compensation and benefits managers, change management specialists, HR business partners/operations managers, civil servants and mediators. Employers of our students include the BBC, Capgemini, Linklaters, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Royal Household.

Building blocks
Build key skills

Practical skills workshops develop essential HR practitioner skills.

World
Develop your CQ

Develop your cultural intelligence – or ‘CQ’ – studying alongside students and staff representing more than 100 nationalities.

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Learn from experts

Several members of staff are leading authorities in their respective fields, and many have practised at a senior level, often as HR consultants.

Industry links

We are recognised as a CIPD Approved Centre as a result of our long-established reputation for both leading-edge research and high-quality professional education for HR practitioners. We enjoy a close relationship with the HRM profession and recently collaborated on a research project investigating diversity and inclusion practices in organisations. Launched in October 2019, our joint report, Diversity management that works: an evidence based review, identified six priority recommendations for practice.

We have been deeply involved at CIPD branch level for many years and also have close links with other professional bodies, such as the British Universities Industrial Relations Association. Several members of staff are leading authorities in their respective fields, and many have practised at a senior level, often as HR consultants.

Job roles

This course will prepare you for roles such as:

  • Change management specialist
  • Civil servant
  • Coach/mentor
  • Compensation and benefits manager
  • HR business partner/operations manager
  • HR consultant (internal and external)
  • HR manager
  • Mediator

Graduate employers

Graduates from this course have found employment at organisations including:

  • BBC
  • Capgemini
  • EY
  • Harrods
  • HSBC
  • Google
  • KPMG
  • Linklaters
  • PWC
  • The Royal Household
  • Transport for London
  • Visa

Westminster Employability Award

Employers value graduates who have invested in their personal and professional development – and our Westminster Employability Award gives you the chance to formally document and demonstrate these activities and achievements.

The award is flexible and can be completed in your own time, comprising a set of core and optional extracurricular activities. 

Activities might include gaining experience through a part-time job or placement, signing up to a University-run scheme – such as mentoring or teaching in a school – or completing online exercises.

Westminster Employability Award

Teaching and assessment

Your learning experience is designed to provide both a practical and theoretical understanding of people management approaches and their impact on organisational behaviour. 

To assist the learning experience, we provide reading lists, lecture and seminar materials in advance via Blackboard, our virtual learning environment. Where possible, lectures are recorded using specialist software and similar tools to make sure you can really listen to what is said in class and don’t miss a thing.

How you’ll be taught

Through a variety of teaching methods – from traditional lectures and seminars to case study analysis and projects – we encourage active, experiential and reflective learning. You will demonstrate independent learning, critical evaluation, reflection, discussion and debate, as well as the opportunity through the project to research, in significant depth, a relevant topic.   

The emphasis in the classroom is on problem-based learning, blending theory and practice, problem diagnosis and the selection of managerial tools to provide the best fit with the situation. For one assignment, for example, you will interview two managers to see whether or not their career development experience fits the concept of the managerial escalator, which seeks to explain how specialists become managers.

Classes are often run on a workshop basis, giving you the opportunity as a group to pool your experience, as well as drawing on the expertise of the tutors. Skills-based workshops include finance, introduction to employment law, interviewing skills, disciplinary and grievance handling, and negotiating skills.

You'll develop practical knowledge, expertise and valuable insights from visiting HR professionals from a wide range of industries. The teaching team itself has specialist HR knowledge in employee coaching, employment law, international HRM, management development, managing culture and change and reward management. Our annual HRM Conference brings together expert practitioners and academics who address a range of HRM related topics, which have previously included neuroscience for organisational change, comparative industrial relations and inclusive leadership. 

How you’ll be assessed

Using a wide range of techniques, you can expect to be assessed on the learning outcomes of your course in core modules through coursework in the form of essays, reports, presentations, case studies as well as time-constrained in-class tests and exams.

We try to make assessments as practical and relevant as possible, incorporating the type of work required by future employers; for example, you might prepare plans to lead large-scale structural transformation to maximise efficiencies or provide recommendations on how to develop a leadership culture at a time of crisis. 

Why study this course?

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Build your analytical skills

Learn which human resources information and data to source and analyse as part of evidence-based practice.

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Combine theory and practice

Link theory to global practice through real-life case studies, guest lectures, workshops and assignments.

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Get industry insight

Annual HRM Conference gives you the chance to hear from experts on themes such as HRM in transition and talent management.

Online open evenings

Find out more about the University by visiting us at one of our open evenings.

 

Visit our open days page

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Entry Requirements

A minimum of a lower second class honours degree (2:2). Relevant degree disciplines include business studies, economics, geography, management, and operations research. However, students with qualifications in other disciplines such as engineering, environmental sciences, the humanities and languages are also encouraged to apply. Alternative professional qualifications with at least three years’ relevant professional experience will also be considered. Applicants from different academic backgrounds are welcome. If your first language is not English you should have an IELTS 6.5 with at least 6.0 in writing. Applicants are required to submit one reference.

View standard entry requirements

 

A minimum of a lower second class honours degree (2:2). Relevant degree disciplines include business studies, economics, geography, management, and operations research. However, students with qualifications in other disciplines such as engineering, environmental sciences, the humanities and languages are also encouraged to apply. Alternative professional qualifications with at least three years’ relevant professional experience will also be considered. Applicants from different academic backgrounds are welcome. If your first language is not English you should have an IELTS 6.5 with at least 6.0 in writing. Applicants are required to submit one reference.

More information

Student work

One of the most popular aspects of this course is the fact that our students graduate with a CV that already demonstrates direct experience, making them more attractive to employers.

Coaching is just one of the ways in which we do this. We’ll show you some of the core techniques and tools to use for coaching in the workplace, such as the Wheel of Life visual tool, the GROW (Goal, Reality, Options, Well) model and the Johari Window self-reflection tool. You’ll then deliver real-life coaching to fellow students, attending supervisor meetings and producing performance reports just as you would do as a professional coach.

Postgraduate students

Founded in 1995, Westminster Business Consultants is a student-run consultancy service affiliated to the University, which offers management and strategic consultancy, specialising in HR, market research, market analysis, brand strategy, feasibility studies, business development, performance improvement and product development. It works with a diverse clientele of emerging start-ups, SMEs and large corporations at home and overseas, giving students opportunities to gain extensive knowledge and experience in various industries.

Business finance report with graphs

Learn new skills

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Develop your creativity

Develop your creativity to think outside the box.

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Build critical thinking skills

Learn to critically evaluate the strategies that managers use to help organisations adapt in an uncertain or complex environment.

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Improve your problem-solving skills

Improve your problem-solving skills to better understand and tackle people management issues.

Fees and Funding

UK and EU tuition fee: £5,750 (Price per academic year)

When you have enrolled with us, your annual tuition fees will remain the same throughout your studies with us. We do not increase your tuition fees each year.

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Alumni discount

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting our Alumni discounts page.

Funding

As well as tuition fee loans, there is a range of funding available to help you fund your studies.

Find out about postgraduate student funding options.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible postgraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

International tuition fee: £6,500 (Price per academic year)

When you have enrolled with us, your annual tuition fees will remain the same throughout your studies with us. We do not increase your tuition fees each year.

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Alumni discount

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting our Alumni discounts page.

Funding

Find out about funding for international students.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible postgraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

Westminster Business School blog

Read our blog and get an insight into life and studies at Westminster Business School.

Visit the WBS blog

Facilities

Supporting you

Our Student Hub is where you’ll find out about the services and support we offer, helping you get the best out of your time with us.

  • Study support — workshops, 1-2-1 support and online resources to help improve your academic and research skills
  • Personal tutors — support you in fulfilling your academic and personal potential
  • Student advice team — provide specialist advice on a range of issues including funding, benefits and visas
  • Extra-curricular activities — volunteering opportunities, sports and fitness activities, student events and more

visit our student hub

Illustration for the Student Hub

Course Location

In the heart of London, our Marylebone Campus is home to the Westminster Business School and our Architecture, Planning and Tourism courses. Specialist workshops, dedicated digital and architecture studios, and our extensive Marylebone Library offer students everything they need for academic success.

Marylebone Campus is opposite Baker Street tube station and within easy walking distance of Regent's Park and Marylebone High Street.

For more details, visit our Marylebone Campus page.

Westminster Business School

Westminster Business School is one of London’s leading centres for business education based in the heart of London and its political, media and financial services scene.

We are a Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) Centre of Excellence, recognised by professional bodies including the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and APMG International. 

Contact us

We have an FAQs page if you are applying this year.

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