Postgraduate study

Leading Major Programmes MSc, PgCert, PgDip

Awards: MSc, PgCert, PgDip

Study modes: Part-time

Funding opportunities

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 digital strategies;
  • 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 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.

Over the first four semesters, 12 courses will be taught through three days’ worth of intensive, cohort-wide sessions (lectures, tutorials, workshops and seminars) complemented with self-learning activities conducted from home. The 12 courses are arranged in 10 blocks of 3 to 5 days that are spread over the four semesters. Six of those blocks are scheduled to take place physically in Edinburgh, and four online (confirmation is pending for one of those)*.

Assessment is by coursework, and your dissertation (if studying for the MSc)**.

Throughout the programme support will be provided by programme staff and course tutors through informal and formal communication channels.

For more information, please view the programme prospectus:

*(Revised 23 February 2021 with updated teaching information.)

**(Revised 12 March 2021 with updated assessment information.)

International applicants (including EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals)

Applicants who are non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals must seek permission to study in the UK. If you are a national of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland and are not settled as part of the EU Settlement Scheme, you must also seek immigration permission to come to the UK.

It is not possible to study a part-time programme on a Student Route Visa. However, you may be eligible to apply to come to the UK as a Standard Visitor at times when you need to be present in the UK for elements of your programme.

Please contact the Student Immigration Service for further advice on applying for a Standard Visitor visa. All overseas students applying for this programme are strongly advised to seek advice from the Student Immigration Service at the earliest opportunity to discuss eligibility.

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)
  • Accounting, Sustainability and Finance (10 credits)
  • Understanding, Sustaining and Enhancing Resilience (10 credits)
  • Systems Thinking, Systems Practice (10 credits)
  • Developing your Leadership (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)

*(Revised 12 May 2021 to update courses.)

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2021/22
PgCert2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2021/22
PgDipLeading Major Programmes2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2021/22

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, including:

  • infrastructure
  • defence
  • information technology
  • healthcare
  • big science and large scientific infrastructures
  • finance/insurance (of major programmes)

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.

Applications at all graduation levels require the submission of the following documents:

  • Academic qualifications
  • CV
  • One reference letter

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent. Applicants will normally be expected to have a minimum of five years’ project management experience at middle or senior management level.

As part of the application process, you must submit a personal statement and CV. Your personal statement should demonstrate your motivation to study this programme.

If you do not meet the minimum academic requirement, you may still be considered if you have other relevant qualifications or experience; please contact us to check before you apply.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

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

For 2021 entry we will 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 (including Special Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • 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 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.

Find out more about our language requirements:


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:

Additional Costs

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

Living costs

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.

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
PgCert2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
PgDipLeading Major Programmes2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

We offer a £1,500 discount to the first 10 applicants that have registered to the MSc programme and that have paid their deposit.

We also offer a number of scholarships, listed below, to successful applicants on our MSc programmes. Please note you will require an offer for the programme before you can apply for a scholarship, as these are two separate processes.

The Madeleine Bentley Scholarship

  • £25,100 - Home full fees*

This scholarship is on offer and awarded to a Scottish-domiciled candidate based on the following criteria:

  • The candidate's ability to demonstrate that their financial and socioeconomic circumstances significantly restrict their ability to continue their education without substantial financial support;
  • The applicant's future and personal career goals, and the extent to which the scholarship will support the candidate to meet these goals; and
  • Academic merit

Learn more about this scholarship:

*(Revised 30 November 2020 to update eligibility criteria for Madeleine Bentley Scholarship.)

LMP Merit Scholarships

  • £9,000

These scholarships are on offer and awarded to 10 candidates who can demonstrate excellent prior qualifications, measured either through their academic credentials or/and professional qualifications and with aspiring future and personal career goals.

The University of Edinburgh is an Education Partner with the Women’s Engineering Society (WES). As a demonstration of our commitment to support and inspire women to achieve as engineers and leaders, a third of the LMP Merit Scholarships shall be awarded to a female MSc candidate.

Learn more about this scholarship:

Housing, Construction and Infrastructure (HCI) Skills Gateway Scholarships

HCI Scholarships are part of the support programme for ‘advanced skills’ within the Housing Construction Infrastructure (HCI) Skills Gateway, which is an employability and skills support mechanism funded by the Scottish government within the Edinburgh & SE Scotland City Region Deal.

Scholarship are available to MSc, PG Dip and PG Cert students domiciled or working in the South-East of Scotland, more specifically the councils of:

  • East Lothian
  • Mid Lothian
  • West Lothian
  • City of Edinburgh
  • Fife
  • Scottish Borders

Applications are particularly welcome from applicants of groups underrepresented in the construction industry (public and private sector).

Learn more about this scholarship:

*(Revised 30 November 2020 with addition of HCI Skills Gateway Scholarships.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Programme Director, Dr Frédéric Bosché
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3565
  • 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.

Before applying, please consider our minimum entry requirements, which include academic qualifications, relevant work experience and English language requirements.

We also recommend that you first contact the Programme Director (using the Enquiry email below) to discuss your interest and the suitability of this programme to your aspirations and situation.

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

Further information

  • Programme Director, Dr Frédéric Bosché
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3565
  • Contact:
  • School of Engineering
  • Faraday Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3JL