MSc Leading Major Programmes

MSc Degree Programme: 

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. It will also provide coaching and mentoring in personal resilience to help you cope with uncertainty and change.

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 conventional classroom and studio-based lectures, tutorials and student-directed learning. Intensive residential
periods are backed up by innovative online teaching. You will also take part in project work, workshops and collaborative problem-solving sessions. Assessment is by written assignments and examinations, project reports and your dissertation.

Degree Structure: 

Knowledge and understanding are acquired through a mixture of conventional classroom and studio-based lectures, tutorials and student-directed learning, with intensive residential periods backed up by a range of innovative online teaching delivery, which are assessed by means of written examinations and project work. Skills and abilities are acquired through a mixture of project work, student-directed learning, workshops, collaborative problem-solving sessions and online activities, which are assessed by means of written assignments, project reports and a dissertation.

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.

Semester 1

Compulsory courses proposed include:

  • Knowledge and Action in the Data Society (20 credits)
  • Programme Design, Governance and Managing for Complexity (10 credits)
  • Procurement and Contracts (10 credits)
  • Strategic Risk Anlysis (10 credits)
  • Fundamentals of Project Controls, Data Visualisation and Reporting (10 credits)

Semester 2

Compulsory courses proposed include:

  • Negotiation skills, Behavioural Studies, Team Dynamics (10 credits)
  • Oversight, Assurance and Managing Stakeholders (10 credits)
  • Programme managers as researchers: Data analytics, qualitative and digital research methods (10 credits)
  • Qualities for Successful Programme Leaders (10 credits)

Plus two or three electives from EFI courses in either Semester 1 or 2 (20-30 credits)

Research Project

  • Leading Major Programmes Dissertation (60 credits)

Funding and Finance: 

Certain fees and other programme costs (eg research costs, class field trips) must be paid in full by each postgraduate student at the beginning of each academic session in September. More information about fees and additional costs can be found on the degree pages.

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. The University recommends approximately £150 per week if living in University self-catered accommodation and £180 per week if in University catered halls (these figures include rent, lunches and personal expenditure). The University of Edinburgh's Fees and Finance section has more information available about fees and living expenses which you should take a moment to read over.

*Please note this course is subject to approval

The MSc will begin in 2020 and will be open for application soon.


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 qualities required to be a major programme leader. It will be beneficial to major programme leaders in any field where complexity and change need to be managed – infrastructure, defence, information technology, healthcare, big science and large scientific infrastructures, etc.