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BA (Honours) Business Studies

How do businesses develop strategies, handle risk and take decisions? What's involved in essential business functions such as marketing, accounting and finance? This degree in business studies provides an innovative and accessible introduction to the world of business, and helps you relate your studies directly to your own workplace. You'll investigate how organisations think and work, how they're managed, and the external world in which they operate. You'll also gain a general understanding of business organisations and their key elements; wider considerations such as environments, markets and processes; and how all these work together. This degree course includes flexible options, enabling you to specialise in an area of business studies - for example, the BA (Hons) Business Studies (Accounting) - or you can combine business studies with another subject and study for a BA (Hons) Business Studies with Economics, with Environment, with French, with International Development, with Law or with Spanish.

If you are considering starting this qualification in May we suggest you begin with An introduction to business studies (B120). Alternatively you can see a list of all our individual courses in Business and Management.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Key facts

Code: Q70 Made up of: 360 credits

There are no formal entry requirements to study this degree.

Fees: Our fees depend on where you are ordinarily resident. We have a range of funding options to help you with payment. When you apply to study we will tell you the fee and funding options that are available to you. Before you apply you can read What you can expect to pay.

Career relevance and employability

The skills and knowledge you'll develop by studying this degree in business studies will equip you to follow a number of career paths, and are recognised by employers as having great value for work in management and business. They can also lead to opportunities in specialist areas concerned with offering guidance to managers - such as management consultancy or business journalism.

This degree course will contribute to your career development by:

  • developing your cognitive skills - critical thinking, analysis, paraphrasing and evaluation
  • improving your ICT and presentation skills, and your basic numeracy
  • developing your understanding of the function and contribution of specialisms like marketing, HR, operations and finance.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Educational aims

This is a broad-based business studies degree which aims to provide you with:

  • an introduction to the world of business, including an understanding of markets and market economies
  • an understanding of the structures, cultures and functioning of business organisations and the complex nature of key business functions and processes
  • a recognition of the processes and outcomes of organisational decision-making, how organisational strategies both develop and diversify and the nature and role of policies which impact on business
  • a range of important business graduate skills, which you can bring to your employment in businesses or organisations
  • support and guidance to develop as independent learners.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this degree, you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • the nature and purpose of business organisations; key concepts relating to their functioning, survival and success
  • the structure, culture and role of business organisations; the complex dynamics of organisational environments; how organisations understand and interact with their environments
  • the nature and development of business functions within organisations; functional perspectives on business problems and issues; the nature and importance of cross-functional integration in business
  • business strategy and its development, including the identification of strategic directions and options; the relationships between business organisations and policy institutions, and their impacts on strategy
  • a broad critical understanding of the fundamental principles, concepts and techniques underlying your choice of optional modules or second subject area
  • an understanding of the principal theories, methods, models and approaches that can be deployed in your choice of optional modules or second subject area
  • your own learning; its development in the context of their studies; its role and impacts on their work/practice.

Cognitive skills

On completion of the degree, you will be able to:

  • critique established ideas, concepts and techniques drawn from your studies and use your knowledge to examine a wide range of business problems and issues, including in your own work/practice* arena
  • identify and critically assess different perspectives on and approaches to business, organisational and work-practice issues
  • critically reflect on, evaluate and apply your learning in differing work/practice contexts
  • select and apply appropriate techniques and tools relevant to your choice of optional modules or second subject area
  • critically analyse and evaluate a range of ideas, arguments or theories based in your second subject area.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of the degree, you will be able to:

  • use and adapt relevant business knowledge and skills to practically engage with a range of problems and issues in your work/practice arena
  • use specific business knowledge, cognitive and key skills, as a basis for significantly enhancing your work/practice and your future working life.

Key skills

On completion of the degree, you will be able to:

  • communicate information, ideas and arguments effectively using appropriate styles and language, to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • read and interpret information presented in a variety of forms and perform relevant tasks of analysis and evaluation
  • apply ICT skills to search for, identify and present information appropriate to a variety of business/organisational activities
  • plan and manage your learning towards the achievement of established aims and objectives, including the recognition of knowledge limitations
  • engage in reflective, adaptive and collaborative learning.

* Work/practice refers to the widest possible range of jobs and occupations, incorporating paid employment, self-employment, voluntary work, family caring and domestic work

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