Postgraduate study

Leading Major Programmes MSc, PgCert, PgDip

Awards: MSc, PgCert, PgDip

Study modes: Part-time

Programme website: Leading Major Programmes

This programme will equip you with the formative knowledge and skills required by successful leaders of major programmes. It will cover all the basics for programme management and provide fundamental insights into the political and relationship management capabilities that are essential for Chairs, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, client sponsors and supply chain leadership teams to navigate risks in a major programme context.

Uniquely, the programme will also innovatively cover topics of contemporary relevance, providing you with knowledge and techniques in:

  • Data science and AI to enable you to develop effective decisions;
  • Negotiation to enable you to craft better deals, as well as manage teams and other project relationships more efficiently;
  • Resilience, to develop personal, collective and project resilience to help cope with uncertainty and change at all these levels; and
  • Philosophy and Engineering to realise the value of right types of thinking and thought-ecosystems to successful leadership.

The programme will best suit mid-career professionals working as clients, project managers, engineers, delivery agents, contractors or project reviewers/auditors. It will be taught by a mix of academics and senior programme managers with hard-won lessons learned to pass on.

You will be taught through classroom and studio-based lectures, tutorials and student-directed learning. Intensive 3 to 5-day blocks of on-campus activities (lectures, tutorials, workshops and seminars.) will be complemented with meaningful online teaching. Overall, you will be required to be on campus for 10 blocks of 3 to 5 days over the two years of your studies. Assessment is by individual and group project reports and coursework, and your dissertation (if studying for the MSc). Throughout the programme support through informal and formal communication channels will be provided by programme staff and course tutors.

Please note: This programme was approved in December 2019 and all programme content shown here was updated to reflect this on 12 December 2019.

This programme comprises taught courses run over a two-year period, followed by a research project and dissertation tailored either to the needs of your corporate sponsor or to you individual interests. The twelve courses will be covered during the first four semesters, and the research project and dissertation will be conducted during the final two semester. The research project and dissertation will be a major research exercise exploring an aspect of the leadership of major programmes.

The courses on the programme include:

  • Oversight, Assurance and Stakeholder Management (10 credits)
  • Procurement and Programme Delivery (10 credits)
  • Data Science for Decision Makers (10 credits)
  • Programme Design, Governance and Managing for Complexity (10 credits)
  • Understanding, Sustaining and Enhancing Resilience (10 credits)
  • Systems Thinking, Systems Practice (10 credits)
  • Project Controls, Data Visualisation and Reporting (10 credits)
  • Negotiation (10 credits)
  • Managing Strategic Risk in Major Projects (10 credits)
  • Design and Performance of Delivery Enterprise (10 credits)
  • Philosophy and Engineering (10 credits)
  • Research Methods in Programme Management (10 credits)
  • Leading Major Programmes Dissertation (60 credits)

Graduates will be equipped with an evidence-based strategic overview of the proven techniques on how to organise for success, how to manage for success and how to nurture and develop the personal and collective qualities required to lead successful major programmes.

The MSc programme will be beneficial to existing or aspiring major programme leaders in any field where complexity and change need to be managed – infrastructure, defence, information technology, healthcare, big science and large scientific infrastructures, etc.

This programme allows for three levels of study:

  • Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip)
  • Master of Science (MSc)

The PG Certificate requires that you pass six 10-credit courses that are all compulsory.

The PG Diploma requires that you pass an additional six 10-credit courses that are all compulsory.

The MSc part of the programme is dedicated to the research project to be written up as a dissertation.

You can apply at any of the three levels of study (PG Cert, PG Dip and MSc). Extending your studies after completing a PG Cert or PG Dip is allowed, only conditioned by meeting the progression requirements.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent in engineering, management or economics or a degree in another discipline with elements of project and programme management.

We will also consider your application if you have an honours degree in another discipline and can demonstrate adequate motivation and interest in the programme.

All applicants must have a minimum of five years’ project management experience at middle or senior management level.

We may also consider your application if you have other relevant qualifications or experience; please contact us to check before you apply.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified*:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section

  • PTE Academic: total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores

  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

*(Revised 15 January 2020 to reduce English language requirements.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Tuition fee deposit

If you receive an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, you will be asked to pay a tuition fee deposit of £1,500 to secure your place on the programme.

Find out more about tuition fee deposits:

In addition to tuition fees, you will pay for*:

  • travel to and from the University
  • accommodation during your studies
  • any travel potentially involved in completing courses
  • Dissertation Project expenses

*(Revised 10 January 2020 to remove paying for 'texts for elective courses' from list.)

In terms of living expenses, you do not need to provide evidence of funding. However, you should be aware that, in applying for admission, you will be taking on a major commitment in terms of both time and money.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScLeading Major Programmes2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
PgCertLeading Major Programmes2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
PgDipLeading Major Programmes2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Postgraduate Taught Student Conversion Officer, Flora Reynolds
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3565
  • Contact:
  • Senior Lecturer in Infrastructure Programme Management, Dr Frederic Bosche
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3525
  • Contact:
  • School of Engineering
  • Faraday Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3JL

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Postgraduate Taught Student Conversion Officer, Flora Reynolds
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3565
  • Contact:
  • Senior Lecturer in Infrastructure Programme Management, Dr Frederic Bosche
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3525
  • Contact:
  • School of Engineering
  • Faraday Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3JL