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Business Management with a Professional Placement Year (MSc)

  • Duration: 2 years
  • Mode: Full time with sandwich year

Course options See other modes of study
Start date

Conversion course

This is a conversion course. Conversion courses allow you to study a subject unrelated to your undergraduate degree or current career, and support you with a change of career path.


Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

Become an effective manager who can offer creative solutions to a variety of business challenges.


Professional Placement Year

Spend year two in industry putting theory into practice and applying Business School know-how in a professional setting.


Bring your expertise

Develop a unique leadership style on a management programme designed for students from any disciplinary background.


Change business for good

Evaluate the social, economic and environmental impact of management in a range of sectoral and international business contexts.


Shape your professional network

Our career enhancer service gives you dedicated support from professional coaches and high profile guest speakers.

Managers are having to respond to an increasingly complex global business environment. Contemporary workplaces often span continents, online and offline, delivering diverse products and services in a period of economic austerity. Consequently, organisations are looking for managers who can do things differently, managers from different places and professions to lead a new movement in business.

The business of changing the world is ours.

Our MSc in Business Management starts with you. Whatever your background, we’ll bring you up to speed on the latest research and practice in business management, across core areas like marketing, strategy, finance, logistics, economics and human resources.

Our experts will help you explore key management skills so that you have the competitive edge to launch a successful management career. They’ll use internationally recognised research to share essential insights into the world of business and beyond. This research-led teaching will help you evaluate the social, economic and environmental implications of management decision making in a range of sectoral and international contexts.

Year two is spent on placement – which you’ll be responsible for finding, with support from our employability team - and is your opportunity to put theory into practice by applying Cardiff Business School know-how in a professional setting. You’ll get paid to make a difference to a public, private or third sector organisation in the UK or abroad.

Working together with industry professionals, you’ll discover new ways of doing things by challenging assumptions, taking risks and using your imagination to bring about positive change.

If you have three years of relevant work experience, you may be interested in our MBA programme.

“We’ve designed our new MSc in Business Management for those with the ambition to launch a successful management career. We’ll build your confidence and capability through involvement in real business challenges, team consultancy projects and strategic debates.”
Dr Sarah Hurlow Director of Postgraduate Studies

Where you'll study

Cardiff Business School

We’re an AACSB International and AMBA-accredited Business School with a clear mission: to make a positive impact in the communities of Wales and the world.

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  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 4674
  • MarkerColum Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF10 3EU

Admissions criteria

This is a conversion course. Conversion courses allow you to study a subject unrelated to your undergraduate degree or current career, and support you with a change of career path. No prior knowledge or degree in the subject is required.

In order to be considered for an offer for this programme you will need to meet all of the entry requirements. Your application will not be progressed if the information and evidence listed is not provided.

With your online application you will need to provide:

  1. A copy of your degree certificate and transcripts which show you have achieved a 2:1 honours degree in any subject, or an equivalent international degree. If your degree certificate or result is pending, please upload any interim transcripts or provisional certificates.
  2. A copy of your IELTS certificate with an overall score of 6.5 with 6.0 in all subskills, or evidence of an accepted equivalent. Please include the date of your expected test if this qualification is pending. If you have alternative acceptable evidence, such as an undergraduate degree studied in the UK, please supply this in place of an IELTS.

If you do not have a degree, your application may be considered on the basis of your professional experience. Please provide additional evidence to support your application such as signed and dated employer references or an approved professional qualification.

If you have three years of professional experience and meet the criteria detailed above, you may be interested in our MBA programme.

Application deadline

We allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible. Applications normally close at the end of August but may close sooner if all places are filled.

Selection process

We will review your application and if you meet the entry requirements, we will make you an offer.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

Year one of the MSc Business Management with Professional Placement Year programme is structured around six module blocks. The first and last module blocks are scheduled on their own as introductory and capstone learning experiences.  The four other modules are scheduled in pairs.

We recognise that you will be making a transition from one area of study to another, to a more advanced level of learning, and possibly to a different learning culture. Consequently, the block structure provides an enriched opportunity for extended learning activities, class interaction and review of learning to enhance understanding. It also enables us to offer extra support for individual students to build their confidence.

The introductory module sets the scene for the rest of the programme by considering the key features of the business environment and how this shapes organisations and their decisions. You will then examine core management concepts and practices associated within a range of functional areas.

The modules that follow will help you consider the latest research and practice in business management, including core areas such as marketing, strategy, finance, logistics, economics and human resources.

Your enhanced knowledge and skills will be integrated and applied in a capstone ‘Business in Action’ module. Here you will explore a series of large-scale and complex global issues that present significant dilemmas for the effective management of business.

Choice and specialisation is embedded within modules.  For example, the ‘Business in Action’ module will provide you with the opportunity to focus on a contemporary debate or issue that has particular relevance for your future career.

During your second year you will undertake a professional placement providing you the opportunity to relate and apply the knowledge gained in the first year of the programme to a specific professional setting. Whilst on your placement, you will also undertake a consultancy project in which you will diagnose and recommend practical solutions for an organisational problem.

You will develop and apply the key technical and soft skills required for effective business management. You will see your confidence as a future manager build cumulatively across the programme as you are given multiple opportunities to respond to practical business management challenges.

All modules are underpinned by a concern to examine the contrasting political, economic, socio-cultural, technological, legal and environmental factors that inform management decision making in different international business contexts. Understanding these dynamics will help you to reflect on the multiple factors that offer opportunities and constraints on management decision-making.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2024/25 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.

Year one

The programme is a two-year full-time Master’s programme. In year one (stage one) you will complete two semesters of taught modules to the value of 120 credits. During the Spring semester you will be supported in applying for placements in order to prepare for your placement year.

Students who successfully complete 120 credits at the end of stage one will be permitted to onto stage two.

Year two

In year two you will undertake a Professional Placement and a Consultancy Project.  The placement should normally be of at least eight months duration.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Professional PlacementBST72160 credits
Consultancy ProjectBST72260 credits

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

An active learning approach is embedded in the MSc Business Management with a Professional Placement Year.  We believe that effective learning is founded on your involvement in diverse experiences, and the way you make sense of those experiences, both individually and with others.  A team that includes academics from multiple disciplines, and practitioners representing a range of functions and sectors will facilitate the modules.  This will reflect workplace practice and encourage the cross-fertilisation of different perspectives.

Each block of learning includes a variety of activities such as case studies, videos, mini team challenges, role-play, company visits, and industry speakers, all designed to introduce new ideas and develop your understanding.

We will help you to enhance the reflective skills you were introduced to during your first degree, including observation, analysis, and synthesis to ensure that you are able to develop comprehensive insight and clear conclusions about these experiences.


Sharing your understanding with others is also important for building new insights into the nature of business management in a variety of contexts.  You will be encouraged to work collaboratively in diverse teams to consider a range of alternative understandings and practices.

Trying out new learning is important too.  You will integrate and apply new understandings, together with new business management skills, in practical tasks embedded in each learning block, and in formal coursework activities.

During the second year, you will be supported by an academic supervisor who will provide guidance and advice on both your work placement and your consultancy project. Project topics are normally negotiated in consultation with the placement provider and will address a specific organisational problem. You will work under the guidance of both your academic supervisor and your placement provider in defining the problem, identifying the key issues, sourcing and analysing appropriate evidence and proposing practical solutions.


How will I be assessed?

The block programme structure provides plenty of opportunities for you to reflect on your learning and development informally.  Short knowledge/skill review activities are built into each module to help you check your progress and improve your approach to learning. This will build your confidence and enhance your approach to formal assessment tasks.

A variety of formal assessment tasks provide the opportunity to explore concepts and models in creative and practical ways.  These include poster presentations, case studies, group presentations, reports and videos.  You will work individually and as part of a team, just as you would in the workplace.

All formal assessments are completed within each module.  This enables more in-depth consolidation and application required for successful performance in assessment tasks based on the complex functional level work undertaken by professional managers. It also reflects realistic workplace timescales for the completion of tasks. The capstone module focuses explicitly on the challenge of multi-functional working and multi-faceted problems.

How will I be supported?

The University offers a wealth of support for postgraduate students.  These include:

Careers & Placement Support

Our dedicated Placements Manager offers advice on available work placements, internships, work experience and opportunities to enhance your CV and broaden your horizons. Support for job applications and interview techniques is also available from the Business School’s in-house Careers Consultant.

Learning Central

Learning Central is the University’s virtual learning environment.  All programme and module materials are posted here for students to access before, during and after lectures.


You will have access to libraries across campus which hold over 1.1 million printed books. You will also have access to more than 1.5 million online books, journals, resources and databases.

Personal Tutor System

Each student is allocated a Personal Tutor.  This member of academic staff will maintain an overview of your learning and educational experiences.  If you are experiencing difficulties, your Personal Tutor will be there to listen and where possible provide professional guidance or else direct you to the appropriate source of support.

The Student Advisory Service

A free, impartial, non-judgemental and confidential service is offered to students on a wide range of personal, financial and academic matters.

Disability & Dyslexia Service

Confidential advice and support is provided for students who are disabled or who have a specific learning difficulty (e.g., dyslexia) or long-term medical condition.

Counselling Service

The Cardiff University Counselling Service provides members of the university community with an opportunity to examine issues that prevent them from maximising their full potential and to explore options for change. The Counselling Service is confidential and free of charge. It has had international recognition as a Centre for Excellence for individual and group counselling.

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the programme you will be able to:

  • Draw on knowledge from relevant functional areas to design solutions to complex business management problems.
  • Critically evaluate management frameworks, models, debates and evidence in a changing context.
  • Critically evaluate the effectiveness of different research approaches for understanding management problems.
  • Debate relevant business management issues in the context of contrasting the political, economic, socio-cultural and legal factors.
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of the significance of an organisation’s economic and social contribution to society.

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the programme you will be able to:

  • Analyse methods for generating data relevant to specific contexts.
  • Critically analyse and synthesise information.
  • Evaluate the practical application of theory to practice.
  • Develop and communicate evidence-based recommendations.

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the programme you will be able to:

  • Undertake research to address business problems.
  • Utilise accounting techniques.
  • Develop effective work relationships and team working skills.
  • Function effectively in a professional workplace environment.
  • Reflect on work-related experiences and the learning from the workplace.

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the programme you will be able to:

  • Solve problems.
  • Communicate to diverse audiences through a range of media.
  • Demonstrate self-awareness and undertake self-reflection.
  • Work independently.
  • Use digital technology.
  • Analyse and reflect on own skills, identifying ways to improve through personal development planning.

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £12,200 None
Year two £2,440 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2024/25 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £27,200 £2,500
Year two £5,440 None

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Costs for sandwich years

During a sandwich year (e.g. year in industry, placement year or year abroad) a lower fee will apply. Full details can be found on our fees pages.

Additional costs

During the placement year, you may have to fund travel costs to and from your placement provider. You should also consider the cost of accommodation away from Cardiff as living costs could be higher. Funding for travel and accommodation is not provided. Additionally, you may incur costs related to visa applications that are not included in the tuition fees.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

No specific equipment is needed to study on this programme.

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.


Master's Scholarships

An award open to UK students intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

Postgraduate loans

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2024 or later, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan to support your study at Cardiff University.

Alumni Discount

The alumni discount is available for Cardiff University graduates who are planning to start an eligible master's in 2024/25.

Careers and placements

At Cardiff Business School, you’ll receive a career-changing education from world-leading academics that have different points of view. They’ll challenge your thinking as you consider the world of business from a range of alternative perspectives.

You’ll benefit from the knowledge and expertise of our Career Enhancer Team. They’re ready and waiting to identify events and opportunities to help you achieve your future aspirations.

We’ve developed relationships that range from the largest multinationals to the smallest micro-businesses, and include a wide variety of social enterprises and cooperatives. We use these networks to deliver value for our students through:

  • real-world case studies and insights
  • collaboration with our Public Value Entrepreneurs in Residence
  • guest lectures
  • field trips and workshops.

Combining a dedicated Professional Placement Year with these learning opportunities means you’ll have absorbed practical skills and professional confidence to secure a management position in the graduate employment market.

This programme will give you new opportunities for employment in business, supplementing the skills and knowledge you acquired in your first degree to build on what you learnt and the skills you acquired in your first degree with management insight, tools and techniques to give you an added advantage as you enter the workplace.


This two-year programme includes a Professional Placement Year in year two of the programme. Students are responsible for finding their own placements, though support will be given by the School’s employability team. Students unable to secure a suitable placement will be permitted to transfer to the equivalent ‘non-placement’ programme, assuming the relevant academic requirements are met.

Next steps


Open Day visits

Register for information about our 2023 dates.

Make an enquiry

Contact us for more information about this course.


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HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.