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Postgraduate Certificate in Business Administration

This postgraduate certificate in business administration will enable you make a real difference within your management practice through active use of frameworks, theories and tools. It will help you to develop a good grounding in the theory and practice of managing and leading, covering the core functions and disciplines of management and helping you make the connections between them. It provides a framework for a year-long process of professional development which challenges you to engage actively with a wide variety of ideas and to develop a repertoire of techniques and approaches best suited to your own situation and management context.

This postgraduate certificate course will enable you to gain a better understanding of your own management practice in the context of learning about different management functions within organisations. You will gain confidence in understanding how they operate and in having successful conversations across these areas, including:

  • managing people and organisations
  • accounting
  • marketing
  • operations
  • project and change management.

Over the course of a year's study you will learn, develop and consolidate your understanding of the principal management functions. The certificate course aims to:

  • develop your understanding of the core and current frameworks, theories and tools and to assess their relevance to the issues of twenty-first century leading and managing
  • increase your awareness of different perspectives on, and approaches to, managing and leading in different organisational and cultural contexts
  • develop your ability to engage critically with management frameworks, theories and tools helping you to select and adapt techniques and approaches appropriate to own management context, in order to have a real impact on your management practice
  • develop your awareness of the wider global context in which business and management takes place, and increase your ability to work confidently across sectoral and national boundaries
  • develop interpersonal and conceptual skills that will help you to use ideas and frameworks to make sense of, and to work with, organisational complexity
  • challenge your own thinking and practice by reflecting upon it critically in the light of the ideas you encounter, and through debates with others
  • enhance your ability to plan and implement change which will have real impact within your own organisational context.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Career relevance and employability

This certificate is designed for professionals from a wide range of contexts and backgrounds who need actively to engage with the challenges of twenty-first century management, to develop their management skills and knowledge of management frameworks, theories and tools and to use these appropriately in order to make a real difference in their own practice.

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.


For this 60-credit postgraduate certificate you require:

Postgraduate compulsory module Credits Next start
MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (B716)

This MBA course will enable you make a real difference within your management practice and provide a good grounding in the core disciplines of management.

See full description.

60 May

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules B713, BZX713

Educational aims

The Postgraduate Certificate in Business Administration provides you with a comprehensive grounding in important areas of managerial work. You will be exposed to a diverse range of managerial challenges and contexts. You will learn why and how to employ a wide variety of managerial techniques and approaches. Your interpersonal skills and self-awareness will be enhanced. Particular benefits to be gained from the study programme are:

  • Your foundation management knowledge and competencies will increase.
  • You will better understand your individual management role, its context and the nature of interventions you make in your organisation.
  • You will be a more reflective practitioner, better able to apply independent learning and inquisitive thinking in the workplace.
  • You will increase your understanding of how management theories, concepts and techniques apply to your current work and organisation.
  • You will be able to demonstrate how different specialisms contribute to generic management tasks and projects.
  • You will develop analytical, reflective and decision-making skills.
  • You will be better at critical analysis and your intellectual curiosity will be aroused.
  • Your understanding of management problems will be extended beyond your own organisation or sector.
  • You will be better at holding informed conversations with functional specialists and drawing on their expertise effectively.
  • You will be better at making appropriate interventions and decisions in the management of teams, projects and departments.
  • You will be more aware of a strategic view of organisational objectives and be better at contributing to these.

Learning outcomes

When you have completed this qualification you will be able to:

  • deal confidently with specialists (in finance, marketing, human resources, for example) and tackle complex cross-functional problems
  • evaluate practices and contribute to improved performance in organisations with which you are and will be associated from time to time
  • appreciate the contribution of management theories, recognising when and how they can be applied in organisations
  • exploit the personal computer as both a tool and a rapidly developing medium of communication.

Knowledge and understanding

When you have completed the qualification you will:

  • know the key managerial issues associated with human resources, marketing, organisational behaviour, accounting and finance, operations, quality and information
  • understand how these issues are inter-related in your own and in other organisations.

The study programme is designed for managers aiming to progress to a middle or upper management role in one of a wide range of organisations, industries and locations. You will study both printed and electronic material and will be supported by tutors during face-to-face tutorials, computer conferences and at your residential school. All our tutors have a great deal of managerial experience.

There will be problem-solving and problem-based activities to help you to reflect on your own experience and that of the other participants. Assessment is through seven tutor-marked assignments and a final, three-hour exam in which you will be expected to apply theory and provide examples or illustrations.

Cognitive skills

As you apply the knowledge and understanding you gain from this study programme this will enable you to develop and practise the following cognitive skills:

  • logical and critical reasoning
  • understanding and applying concepts
  • flexibility and adaptability
  • problem solving
  • analysis and interpretation
  • integration of knowledge.

These skills are learnt alongside the learning of knowledge and understanding described above and assessed accordingly. The problem-solving and problem-based activities are of particular importance in developing your cognitive skills.

Practical and/or professional skills

These skills are closely linked to the main learning outcomes mentioned above.

Developing professional managers is central to the study programme; and so the student-centred approach to learning, assessment and teaching outlined above is designed to instil and enhance these skills. The residential school in particular allows you to provide practical demonstrations of your skills development.

Key skills

To enable you to apply the cognitive skills, the study programme will:

  • develop your capacity to learn in familiar and unfamiliar situations
  • reinforce the key skills of: communication; numeracy; the use of information technology; and the ability to work both independently and as a member of a team.

These skills are integrated into the learning and assessment methods referred to above. Communication and interaction between you and your fellow students is enhanced by the use of computer conferencing.

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