Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
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Degree Programme Specification 2021/2022

MA Honours in Business with Human Resource Management

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. This information is created when new programmes are established and is only updated periodically as programmes are formally reviewed. It is therefore only accurate on the date of last revision.
Awarding institution: The University of Edinburgh
Teaching institution: The University of Edinburgh
Programme accredited by:

Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) Full Accreditation European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS).

Final award: MA Honours
Programme title: Business and Human Resource Management
UCAS code: N1N6
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): Business and Management
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: Dr Inger Seiferheld
Date of production/revision: March 2020

External summary

The MA Business with Human Resource Management encompasses the study of public, private and not-for-profit organisations, both small and large, their management practices and processes, and the changing external environment in which they operate. In our four-year programme we reflect the global, dynamic climate of contemporary business and management, offering specialist compulsory and optional courses in areas such as Global Business Challenges, Entrepreneurship and Climate Change, The Future of Work, and Theories and Techniques of Persuasion. Students are able to draw on a range of disciplines outside business, particularly in years one and two, which include psychology, law, economics, sociology and mathematics. The ability to follow a concentration of courses in human resource management enables students to develop a specialism within the broader business degree structure. All students have the option of studying abroad in the third year at one of our international partner institutions.

Students gain specific business knowledge, an understanding of the business world and the fundamental relationships between people, organisations and their environment, whilst developing a range of graduate attribute and employability skills. The programme is appropriate for those aspiring to undertake a career in management, those wishing to pursue a specific business discipline, and those seeking further educational opportunities.

Our programmes are accredited by a range of world leading business education organisations and professional bodies, and the School has strong links to the world of practice through research, consultancy and teaching. This ensures that our programmes are attuned to the needs of employers and prepare students for the wide range of career opportunities post-graduation. Details of our accreditation and rankings can be found at: https://www.business-school.ed.ac.uk/about/accreditation-rankings

Educational aims of programme

The educational aims of the MA Honours in Business and Human Resource Management programme are to provide students with the opportunity to develop and demonstrate:

  • analytical and conceptual knowledge of the internal aspects, functions and processes of organisations; and the external economic, environmental, ethical, legal, political, sociological and technological context in which organisations exist;
  • the proficiency to practice integrated and multiple management competencies, including authentic leadership, appropriate digital literacy and communication, effective emotional intelligence, meaningful interpersonal interaction, and independent thought and accountable action; the confidence and understanding to solve complex business problems through creative, flexible, adaptive and innovative thinking;
  • a thorough grounding in the key specialist business areas of: business policy, marketing, corporate finance, accounting, human resource management, industrial relations, management science, operations management and business economics;
  • dynamic transferable intellectual and academic integrity which will equip graduates to make a valuable contribution both within their chosen career path and in the wider community; and a positive attitude to continuing personal and professional development through lifelong learning.

Programme outcomes: Knowledge and understanding

During the programme students will have been given opportunities to develop their knowledge in-depth of business and, in particular, decision analytics. On completion of the programme, students will have acquired a good knowledge and understanding of:

  • the internal functions and processes of organisations which includes their purposes, how they are structured and their governance, how they are operated and managed and an appreciation of their diversity. The behaviour of individuals and of organisations as a whole and their inter-relationships with their external environments are also included.
  • the external environment in which organisations operate including economic factors, ethical factors, political factors, sociological factors and technological factors and their inter-relationships with the strategy, behaviour and management of organisations.
  • the processes, procedures and practices of the management of organisations. This includes theories, models, tasks and roles of management and rational analysis and other processes of decision making within organisations and in relation to the external environment.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in research and enquiry

Business with Human Resource Management graduates will be able to:

  • understand the principles, methods, standards, values and boundaries of the business discipline and have the capacity to question these.
  • assess critically existing understanding about a range of areas within the field of business, and human resource management more specifically, and recognise the need to re-evaluate such knowledge and the limitations of their own knowledge.
  • identify, define and analyse theoretical and applied business problems and identify or develop approaches using appropriate quantitative or qualitative techniques to explore and solve them.
  • search for, evaluate and use information to form the basis of effective knowledge assimilation and synthesis within a number of accounting and finance areas, recognising limitations resulting from the chosen approach.
  • use practical and theoretical knowledge to both design and undertake a piece of original research and write this up as a dissertation.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal and intellectual autonomy

Business with Human Resource Management graduates will be:

  • independent learners who take responsibility for their own learning across a range of chosen areas of study, both within and outside business, and are committed to continuous reflection, self-evaluation and self-improvement.
  • open to new ideas, methods and ways of thinking about business issues.
  • able to make decisions on the basis of rigorous and independent thought, taking into account ethical and professional issues.
  • able to collaborate and debate effectively to test, modify and strengthen their own views.
  • curious intellectually and able to sustain intellectual interest, through individual and group work assignments, in particular during the research and writing process associated with the dissertation.
  • aware of, and able to select and effectively use appropriate business data, information sources and research methodologies to carry out research into business and management issues for projects, dissertations and presentations, either individually or as part of a team.
  • able to develop and work towards a personal vision and goals and being able to work independently towards these in a sustainable way.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

Business with Human Resource Management graduates will be able to:

  • apply written, oral and visual presentation skills in individual or group projects as well as through presentations linked to lecture courses both within and outside business.
  • communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, using a range of media which are widely used in business.
  • make effective use of oral, written and visual means to critique, negotiate, create and communicate understanding during individual and group activities.
  • use communication as a tool for collaborating and relating to others in a range of settings, including lectures, workshops/tutorial and group project settings, listening to colleagues, constructing arguments, thinking on feet and convincing others.
  • further their own learning through effective use of the full range of communication approaches.
  • seek and value open feedback from academic and support staff, as well as peers, to inform genuine self-awareness.
  • use effective communication to articulate positively their skills identified through self-reflection.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal effectiveness

Business with Human Resource Management graduates will be able to:

  • reflect upon themselves to recognise their personal strengths and the situations where they can best be applied.
  • identify opportunities to enhance their skills and knowledge in key areas and recognise how and where to gain experience to build personal capabilities.
  • identify, seek out or otherwise create and harness opportunities in a range of areas relevant to their studies within and outside business.
  • manage tasks and skills in time-management.
  • be confident to make decisions based upon their assimilated understandings and their personal and intellectual autonomy.
  • transfer their knowledge, learning, skills and abilities from one context to another, using their understanding of the issues relevant and appropriate to each situation.
  • work effectively with others, capitalising on their different thinking, contrasting experience and complementary skills.
  • work with, manage, and lead others in ways which value difference and equality and which encourage their contribution to the organisation and the wider community.

Programme outcomes: Technical/practical skills

Business with Decision Analytics graduates will have developed skills to:

  • apply theoretical and conceptual knowledge to practical situations.
  • obtain and process information from a variety of sources.
  • take decisions in a range of challenging situations, informed by analysis of available information.
  • work with others in team-based settings to deliver a project to an outline brief.
  • plan and manage the use of resources, including time and people.
  • summarise large quantities of material to present it in report format for a management audience.
  • make effective use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for business applications.
  • communicate effectively using a range of oral and written methods.

Programme structure and features

The MA Business with Human Resource Management is an Honours degree taken over four years. It consists of two years of pre-Honours courses totalling 240 credits at SQCF level 8 and two years of Honours courses totalling 240 credits at SQCF level 10.

For full details of the degree programme, structure, progression requirements, and core and optional courses, please see the Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study: http://www.drps.ed.ac.uk/20-21/dpt/utmahbushr1f.htm

A breakdown of each year of the programme, and the semesters in which courses are taught can be found at: https://path.is.ed.ac.uk/degrees/UTMAHBUSHR1F

Information regarding entry requirements can be found at: http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergraduate/applications-admissions/entry-requirements

Semester dates and the academic calendar can be found at: https://www.ed.ac.uk/semester-dates

Teaching and learning methods and strategies

Teaching and learning strategies employed within the Business School and in other Schools where students take courses outside the business area, embrace of a variety of different methods appropriate to the programme aims. The graduate attributes listed above are met through a teaching and learning framework (detailed below) which is appropriate to the level and content of the course.

Students will be taught in a variety of ways during their study, including:

  • Lectures
  • Computer laboratories
  • Workshops
  • Tutorials
  • Problem-based learning activities
  • Independent Study
  • Peer group learning
  • Poster presentation
  • Group projects
  • One-to-one meetings with course lecturers/tutors/directors of studies
  • Independent research for the Honours dissertation research

Teaching and learning workload

You will learn through a mixture of scheduled teaching and independent study.

The typical workload for a student on this programme is outlined in the table below, however the actual time you spend on each type of activity will depend on what courses you choose to study.

The typical workload for a student on this programme for each year of study

Start Year

Time in scheduled teaching (%)

Time in independent study (%)

Time on placement (%)

Year 1




Year 2




Year 3




Year 4




Assessment methods and strategies

Courses can be assessed by a diverse range of methods and often take the form of formative work which provides the student with on-going feedback as well as summative assessment. The most common methods of assessment are identified in the table below. A very small number of courses are assessed using only a single, written examination or coursework assignment: most courses employ two or more different forms of assessment, and a growing number combine both individual and group-based activities to develop both subject-specific knowledge and subject-specific and transferable skills.

Assessment mix across Non-Honours and Honours courses



Blogs (Written and/or Video)

Business Plan and/or Feasibility Analysis

Case Study Analysis

Closed Book Exam

Computer Based Timed Assignments

Consultancy Reports



Multiple Choice Exam

Open Book Exam

Oral Examinations (Group and Individual)


Portfolios (Paper and/or Online)


Presentations (face-to-face/video)


Reflective writing

Seen Case Study/Unseen Exam Question

Short Question Written Exam

Take Away Exams (timed submission)

Technical Workshops



The classification of the Honours degree is based on performance in both of the Honours years (3rd and 4th year), unless the third year is spent studying at an overseas partner institution, when the degree classification is based on performance in the final Honours year (4th year).

Assessment method balance

You will be assessed through a variety of methods. These might include written or practical exams or coursework such as essays, projects, group work or presentations.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme are outlined below, however the balance between written exams, practical exams and coursework will vary depending on what courses you choose to study.

Typical assessment methods at Level 8 and Level 10


Individual Written Exam

Individual Written Assignment

Group Written Assignment

Group Presentation

Individual Oral Examination

Level 8 Courses






Level 10 Courses












Career opportunities

The Business School’s dedicated Student Development Team are available to help you maximise your potential in a global market through activities structured around skills, opportunities and networks. More information can found at: https://development.business-school.ed.ac.uk/

Just some opportunities available are:

The Edinburgh Award


Pre and Honours opportunities to enhance your employability skills.

#make your mark


A team-based social enterprise challenge (spread over 2.5 days) which aims to inspire students to view business as part of the solution to addressing today’s global challenges.

Career Planning


A vast array of resources available to help guide and support you in making career choices. Business Management graduates are highly valued by employers across the world and the employment record of graduates of the School is evidence that graduates from our programmes are highly sought after by a wide range of employers. Our graduates secure employment in a diverse range of fields, the most popular being accountancy, management, consulting, finance, marketing and human resources.

Other items

Student Support

  • All students on the programme are allocated a Personal Tutor, whose role is to provide advice and guidance on academic and personal matters.
  • University support services include the Advice Place (run by the Students’ Association), the Student Counselling Service, Chaplaincy Centre, the Student Disability Service, Accommodation Services, Edinburgh Global and the Student Employment Service. More information can be found at: https://www.ed.ac.uk/students/new-students/student-support
  • All students have e-mail, which facilitates easy communication with academic and administrative staff. Generous office-hour provision allows easy personal contact with teaching staff outside formal classes. We encourage all our students to regularly check their University of Edinburgh email address.
  • First year students participate in an induction programme in Welcome Week for general orientation and introduction to study skills and learning resources. All students are invited to a School induction event at the beginning of the academic year.
  • Peer-Assisted Learning scheme (PALs): First year students are encouraged to take advantage of the School’s BizPAL scheme, which consists of student leaders (usually senior students) who are trained to support and facilitate study sessions for those in earlier years. The BizPALs leaders plan a number of peer-facilitated activities to develop autonomous and enquiry-based learning and encourage students to maximise their academic potential. More information can be found at: https://www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/support_and_advice/peer_learning_and_support/get_peer_support/find_a_project/organisation/bizpals/
  • Library, IT, computing and study-skills information packs, backed up by extensive advice and guidance on-line and in general. More information can be found at: https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/library-museum-gallery
  • All students are provided with e-learning and course materials via Learn.
  • Information Technology and other computer-based sessions are delivered in the Business School’s IT Teaching Lab at 29 Buccleuch Place. The lab is equipped with 60 networked PCs which provide access to an extensive range of software packages and applications to support learning through teaching and independent study. In addition to the School’s IT Teaching Lab there are extensive library and related IT and data resources in the nearby University Library. Additional computing resources are available in extensive open access labs run by the University Computing Service, located in the Central Area as well as at the Pollock Halls of Residence.


The Business School hosts an extensive programme of public events, executive education, and research seminars, featuring practitioners and academic experts covering a rich spectrum of topics including finance, entrepreneurship, climate change, and corporate governance.

More information can be found at: https://www.business-school.ed.ac.uk/events


Active student societies including: the Business Society BizSoc; AIESEC (an international business society); the Student Industrial Society; the Trading and Investment Club (EUTIC) and the Entrepreneurship Club. More information can be found through the Edinburgh University Student Association: https://www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/

Study Abroad

Opportunities are available to study abroad in the third year on a Business School exchange or University exchange at a partner university Business School; the Business School currently has around 50 exchange partners in Europe, North America, Australia and Asia. More information can be found at: https://www.business-school.ed.ac.uk/undergraduate/study-abroad