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BA (Hons) Business Studies

Business Studies video
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Successfully educating business’ brightest for over 35 years, this BA degree gives you the theoretical competence and analytical insight to excel in a multitude of business sectors and departments worldwide. Your curriculum, taught by highly qualified lecturers and industry-savvy practitioners, will be peppered with numerous networking events and compelling talks held by guest speakers from a variety of business disciplines.

There’s the possibility of travel in year two, as you can study the second semester at one of BU’s international partner institutions. Currently we boast affiliations in Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States. A 30-week period in industry in year three, will help to season your CV, give you essential real world experience, place your theory and skills into practice, and harvest a network of professional contacts, all of which are vital for successfully launching a career.

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At the end of your second year you can either choose to remain on this broader focused pathway or select a specialist field of business and graduate with one of the following titles:

Accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), this degree carries a dual award, meaning when you complete your studies you’ll gain your Business Studies qualification and a CMI qualification, a Diploma in Management and Leadership, plus you’ll receive complimentary CMI membership for the duration of your qualification with BU.

All statistics shown are taken from Unistats, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE), BU institutional data and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey) unless otherwise stated.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2018, September 2019


Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus


4 years including a minimum 30-week work placement


The Chartered Management Institute

Entry requirements:

For 2018 entry: 120 - 128 tariff points including a minimum of 2 A levels or equivalent. BTEC Extended Diploma: DDM. For more information check out our 2018 entry requirements page.

International entry requirements:

If English is not your first language, you will need IELTS (Academic) 6.0 with minimum 5.5 in each component or equivalent. For more information check out our international entry requirements page

Course details

On this course you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant retail expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, research students. You will also benefit from regular guest lectures from industry including many of our alumni. Previous guest lectures have included the Senior Innovation Manager from Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and the Knowledge Transfer Partnership Adviser from Innovate UK.

Year 1

From Year 1, you'll begin to develop the versatility and personal qualities needed to manage a range of business activities in a global context, as well as an awareness of the wider impact of business decisions on organisational stakeholders and society. In addition, through tasks including simulated business projects, you will develop highly sought after skills including communication, presentation, team work and time management.

Core units

  • Developing Management Competencies: This unit helps you develop the self-awareness, skills, behaviours and attributes to operate confidently in an increasingly globalised and digitised business environment.
  • Accounting & Quantitative Analysis: This unit gives you a sound foundation in the fundamentals of accounting, basic quantitative techniques and skills, and the confidence in communicating numerically as well as verbally.
  • Introduction to Organisational Behaviour & Ethics: The unit encourages analysis of the complex web of social relationships that organisations operate within, and how these relationships might be managed.
  • Marketing: A clear understanding of the principles and practice will develop your ability to analyse the marketing environment and specific marketing problems, create solutions to marketing problems and apply appropriate marketing techniques across a range of market sectors.
  • Principles of Business Law: You'll utilise the main sources of law to critically evaluate the context of the legal environment in which businesses operate as well as the scope and nature of the legal relationships that exist therein.
  • Economics for Business Studies: This unit will enable you to apply economic principles in the analysis of contemporary economic issues and develop an understanding of the operation of markets, including the interaction between related markets.

Year 2

Core units

  • Research in Business & Management: The unit provides a critical understanding of business research processes and the skills required to develop an undergraduate research project proposal, undertake research and manage all aspects of the ‘research project’.
  • Understanding Organisations & HRM: You'll discover how to analyse organisational life and your own personal experience of behaviour in the workplace. It also introduces you to the human resource management function and its practice.
  • Finance & Business Analysis: The aim of the unit is for you to understand a wide range of management techniques and metrics which can be used to evaluate areas of business performance.
  • Business Simulation: The unit aims to encourage you to develop an understanding of the recruitment and selection process and various recruitment and selection techniques and strategies.

Option units (choose two)

  • Project Management: You'll gain an awareness of theories and practices associated with effective Project Management, as appropriate to a variety of business and technical environments.
  • Operations Management: You'll develop a comprehensive knowledge on the issues related to operations management and examine your role and impact on the success and growth of an organisation.
  • Microeconomics for Business: The unit aims to develop your understanding of Microeconomic theory, enabling you to apply Microeconomic principles in the analysis of contemporary problems.
  • Macroeconomics for Business: You'll begin to understand Macroeconomic theory, enabling you to apply macroeconomic principles in the analysis of contemporary issues.
  • Contract Law: This unit will help you apply the major doctrines of the law of contract, analyse the substantive principles of the law of contract to contextual situations and evaluate the impact of legislative controls on freedom of contract.
  • Consumer Behaviour & Market Research: This unit aims to extend your understanding of marketing, providing a critical understanding of the role and application of consumer behaviour and market research within marketing and the wider organisation.
  • Digital (Interactive) Marketing: The unit examines and applies strategic and tactical aspects of positioning, segmenting and targeting, the marketing mix and communications principles in digital marketing environments.
  • Global Sustainability & Cross-Cultural Challenge: This unit aims to equip you with a portfolio of skills, attributes, knowledge and competences, enabling you to conduct yourself professionally, credibly and effectively in an international context.

Year 3

  • Placement: You'll complete a minimum 30-week work placement which can be carried out anywhere in the world. The placement year offers you a chance to gain experience and make contacts for the future.

Year 4

  • Project: This unit will give you the opportunity to conduct a business-related project, which will be of demonstrable benefit to an organisation (or society), in terms of its ability to perform effectively in the contemporary business environment.
  • Strategic Management: This unit encourages you to develop intellectual and professional attributes needed for strategic analysis, to make appropriate choices between alternative strategies and implement them.
  • Organisational Leadership: You'll consider the nature of leadership, leadership versus management, power, politics and conflict, and various traditional and contemporary models and perspectives of leadership.

Options (choose two)

  • Microeconomics for Business: The unit aims to develop your knowledge of the fundamental economic and quantitative techniques and your application to business, management and economics.
  • Macroeconomics for Business: You'll improve your knowledge and ability to analyse macroeconomic problems and issues in the context of the global economy.
  • Managing Innovation: Innovation comes in four major contexts and you'll discover how to manage these to become an effective manager or entrepreneur.
  • Entrepreneurship & Business Ventures: Learn how to be an effective entrepreneur by looking at the business and personal skills needed to start a business and critical factors in the survival of start-ups and reasons for failure.
  • Corporate Finance: This unit critically appraises the importance of financial management to corporate entities.
  • Corporate Reporting: Expand upon your theoretical base of financial accounting and apply the principles to alternative models of accounting and to the practice of accounting in more advanced applications.
  • People Management & Development: This unit aims to provide a critical understanding of the main issues and themes in people management and development.
  • Strategic Human Resource Management: The purpose of the unit is to provide knowledge and understanding of the strategic role of human resource management in organisations and provide a platform for critical evaluation of that role.
  • International Marketing Management: The aims of this unit are to provide a critical and systematic view of the major perspectives, theoretical approaches, principles and activities in international marketing management.
  • International Management: Here you'll develop a critical awareness of international management policies, practices and processes, as utilised by multinational and transnational organisations in the context of a dynamic, globalised world.
  • Strategic Marketing Management: This unit aims to provide you with skills in strategically managing the key elements of marketing, together with the ability to think critically about real world marketing scenarios.
  • Advanced Project Management: You'll identify both the potential weaknesses and strengths in the existing PM methods and knowledge, and to be able to propose new success factors and competences which will improve the chance of future project success.
  • Operations Strategy: This unit aims to develop an understanding of how operations strategies and decisions can be devised and implemented.
  • Principles of Consultancy: You'll acquire a set of competencies related to knowledge transfer, managing client relationships and operating within specific regulatory and ethical frameworks and consulting cycles.
  • Company Law: This unit extends your competence in the field of Company Law, allowing you to gain the necessary knowledge in order to be able to apply Company Law at an advanced level.
  • Employment Law: You'll encounter a technically and academically challenging examination of the issues in employment law faced by employers and employees.

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

The emphasis of this course is in guided independent learning, which helps you develop into a self-motivated learner. When not attending lectures and seminars, you will be expected to read around the subject. Your typical week’s activities will include reading books and journal articles, working on group projects, preparing presentations, conducting library research and writing your assignments. The hours below give an indication of how you can expect to spend your time during each year of this course.

Year 1 – 18% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities

  • Learning and teaching: 207 hours
  • Independent learning: 993 hours
  • Non-assessed learning and teaching: 12 hours

Year 2 – 17% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities

  • Learning and teaching: 195 hours
  • Independent learning: 1005 hours
  • Non-assessed learning and teaching: 9 hours

Year 3 (placement year) - 1% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities

Year 4 - 14% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities

  • Learning and teaching: 150 hours
  • Independent learning: 1050 hours
  • Non-assessed learning and teaching: 8 hours

How you will be assessed

You will be assessed by coursework culminating in your final year research project, and you will also undertake group work and written exams. The assessment methods for each unit can be found on the programme profile in the programme specification for your course. As an indication, 67% of the most popular units on this course in 2016/17 were assessed by coursework.

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Download the programme specification for BA (Hons) Business Studies.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

All statistics shown are taken from Unistats, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE), BU institutional data and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey) unless otherwise stated.

Placement opportunities

At BU, we recognise that placements are extremely valuable and can give you a head start when it comes to your future career. We are proud that our students have played their part in the success of top firms including JP Morgan, IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Motorola. The average salary for our business studies placement students is £15,000 - £19,999 per annum. Why not read about some of our students’ experiences?

What’s more, you can also choose to undertake your placement abroad, giving you the opportunity to develop yourself personally, academically, and professionally and gain skills to help you stand out in the job market.

We will provide a great deal of help and support to ensure you achieve a rewarding and satisfying placement. We have strong links with placememt organisations and dedicated placement officers to support you, before and during your placement.

Our students have previously worked for:

  • BMW
  • Babcock
  • Boots
  • IBM
  • Intel
  • JP Morgan
  • Walt Disney
  • L'Oreal
  • Xerox
  • Microsoft.

"The benefits of placements are endless. They’ll put you in such a better position compared to someone without the same experience when applying for future job roles, especially graduate positions."

Chloe Mulligan, BA (Hons) Business Studies, Virgin Media Intern Superstar of the Year 2016 - watch Chloe's video case study

Hear more about one of our students' placements by watching a student blog.

All statistics shown are taken from Unistats, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE), BU institutional data and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey) unless otherwise stated. 

Your application

Background and experience

For this course, we are looking for applicants who:

  • Can demonstrate their interest in identifying and solving business problems
  • Are motivated and enthusiastic self-starters looking for a rewarding challenge
  • Can demonstrate good written and oral communication skills
  • Are keen to develop a wide range of interpersonal skills
  • Have aspirations to one day manage.

Students on this course will have come from a wide range of backgrounds but all will have demonstrated their drive to succeed in the business environment. We would encourage applicants who are interested in new ideas, can express themselves well, work effectively in teams and can demonstrate a wide range of interests.

Selection methods

We’ll be selecting the candidates for this course by looking at their UCAS applications, there are no interviews or selection activities needed. For that reason, make sure your application really stands out from the crowd, and leave us in no doubt as to why you should be joining BU. You can find some handy hints about filling in your UCAS form on our how to apply web pages.

Our offer making process

Our offer making will typically be based on your main graded qualifications, including any required subjects. Additional study may be valuable for breadth of study, and we will look at a range of qualifications and subjects, including the Extended Project Qualification and General Studies, although these may not be part of our offer.

If you do not meet the criteria of your original offer, we may still offer you a place. We will review your whole application and consider all academic qualifications (including those not in the offer) and the rest of the application to see if you have the academic potential to succeed on the course. If we feel the answer is yes, we will still confirm your place.

How we'll assess your application 

We look at individual applications and make a tailored offer based on your potential to succeed on the course considering a range of factors, including your academic achievements, work and other experience, predicted grades, reference and personal statement, and in some cases, your performance at an interview/selection test.

If you meet one or more of our contextual data indicators for educational disadvantage (such as being in care, living in a low participation neighbourhood or in an area with less advantaged socio-economic characteristics), your offer could be between 6-20 points below the published tariff.

Unconditional offer scheme

Applicants who are predicted to achieve strong academic results will be eligible for BU’s Unconditional Offer Scheme in recognition of their academic performance and potential to succeed at university. If you are selected for the scheme and commit to us as your firm choice of university, then we will match this commitment by making your offer unconditional, which will guarantee your place at BU.

You will receive a standard conditional offer based on the entry requirements for your course via UCAS Track and your offer letter – it will advise that you are eligible for the unconditional offer scheme. We will then update your offer to unconditional should you choose BU as your firm choice on UCAS Track. We believe that unconditional offers reduce pressure on applicants who will continue to strive to achieve the best grades possible, and we will reward you with an Academic Excellence scholarship of £1,000 in your first year if you achieve AAA or above at A-level or equivalent.

2018 entry requirements

We use the UCAS Tariff to show our entry requirements and will accept a combination of grades from your qualifications. You can use the UCAS calculator to see how your qualifications equate to tariff points.

The entry requirements for this course are 120 - 128 tariff points including a minimum of 2 A levels or equivalent. BTEC Extended Diploma: DDM.

GCSEs: This course requires a minimum of GCSE English and Mathematics grade C (or grade 4 in the reformed GCSE grading) or equivalent qualifications.​

Numeracy and literacy: We need to be sure that you can express yourself in written English and have basic numeracy skills. We look at Level 2 of the National Qualifications Framework, which includes GCSEs, iGCSEs, Key Skills and Functional Skills Level 2. If you do not have formal qualifications to this level or have alternatives, we may still be able to consider your application – please contact the  Future Students Enquiry Service to find out more.

Other qualifications: We have outlined below other qualifications that we consider for this course. If you are studying a qualification that is not listed, please contact the Future Students Enquiry Service – it may be that we can still consider it.

Access courses: 118-128 tariff points with any combination of Distinction, Merit, Pass grades.

BTEC qualifications:

  • Extended Diploma: This course requires Distinction, Distinction, Merit (128 tariff points)
  • Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff
  • BTEC National Foundation Diploma/ 90-credit Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by an A-level or equivalent
  • BTEC National Extended Certificate/ Subsidiary Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by an A-level or equivalent

Cambridge Pre-U Diploma: 120-128 tariff points including a minimum of 2 principal subjects.

Cambridge Technical qualifications:

  • Extended Diploma: This course requires Distinction, Distinction, Merit (128 tariff points)
  • Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff
  • Subsidiary Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by an A-level or equivalent
  • Introductory Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by an A-level or equivalent

International Baccalaureate (Diploma): 31 - 32 overall including grade H5 from 2 Higher Level subjects.

Scottish Advanced Higher: 120 - 128 tariff points including a minimum of 2 Advanced Highers

Welsh Baccalaureate: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by an A-level or equivalent.

Extended Project Qualification: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by 2 A-levels or equivalent qualifications.

Deferred entry: We are happy to consider applicants for deferred entry.

International entry requirements

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

  • IELTS (Academic) 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component of writing, speaking, listening and reading or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

If you do not meet the English language requirement for your degree then why not join our Pre-Sessional English course. Successful completion of our Pre-Sessional English course will meet your English language requirement, without the need to re-take IELTS.

Academic entry requirements 

You can find details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our entry requirements for non-UK students’ page.

We offer a number of preparatory programmes through the Bournemouth University International College. These courses offer you progression from High School in your home country to a Bachelor’s degree at BU.

Options include:


Our business graduates work in various roles in a wide number of sectors. This course is designed to prepare you for a job in any organisation, large or small, and in any sector. In fact, 94% of our Business Studies graduates are in work or study six months after graduating, of which 74% are in professional or managerial positions, earning an average salary of £26,000 a year. Among the roles that our graduates have gone on to are:

  • Account executive
  • Account manager
  • Business analyst
  • HR coordinator
  • Marketing executive.

They work for a range of high-profile companies, both in the UK and overseas. Among the firms that have employed our graduates are: B&Q, Barclays Capital, BBC, Burberry, Capita, Disney, English Heritage, Hewlett Packard, Swiss Hotel, Tesco, Toyota Financial Services and Universal Music UK (Island Records).

Stephen Moss, BU graduate

“Whether you’re doing a placement or not, it’s really important to show passion and willing for what you do, no matter how small. I don’t think I would have had the opportunities that I have if I hadn’t taken on the things that some may see as boring or tedious, and thrown everything at completing them to the best of my ability.”

Stephen Moss, BA (Hons) Business Studies graduate and HR Business Operations Specialist at IBM – read Stephen’s story

Industries worked in

  • Commerce
  • Financial Services
  • International Business 
  • Media
  • Retail.

Further study

Once you have completed an undergraduate Honours degree, you can further develop your education by studying for a postgraduate degree. Please visit our Postgraduate section for further details about our range of Master's degrees.

All statistics shown are taken from Unistats, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE), BU institutional data and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey) unless otherwise stated.

Our lecturers

Our staff are actively engaged in research and professional practice in the business sector which is integrated into the teaching of this course. Find out more about some of the staff and their research activities who will be teaching on this course below.

Mark Ridolfo

Programme leader for BA (Hons) Business Studies

Mark Ridolfo is a Principal Academic in Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour, within the Faculty of Management. A passionate, student-oriented innovator, Mark has been lecturing at Bournemouth University since 1992. Living and working in France, Germany, Italy and China has helped inform Mark’s main interests of cross-cultural communication and management. He also delivers courses in professional effectiveness – specialising in presentations, report writing, online communication, and negotiation.

No hidden extras

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of support and services.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a memory stick/ DVD
  • Materials for laboratory and field-based teaching activity
  • Support for placements (UK or abroad) and fieldwork, and non-financial support whilst on placement
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, subject librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Accommodation and living costs: view our price guide
  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our bus service operates in the local areas offering a subsided travel rate; we also have a large number of secure bike storage compounds
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU webpages
  • Optional fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/securing placements.
  • A fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the student section of the website.

Repeat units

If you need to repeat one or more units during the course of your studies (with or without attendance), you may be required to pay an additional fee of £1,500 per 20 credit unit.

Financial help available from BU

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to students who are beginning their studies at BU. Our website also provides details on living costs, budgeting and paying your tuition fees.

Course Changes

The table below indicates the latest changes to this course.

Date Changes to this course Where the change was made Previous text
25/01/2018 2018 & 2019 entry requirements have changed to: 120 - 128 tariff points including a minimum of 2 A levels or equivalent

Key facts and 2018 entry requirements

The entry requirements for this course are 128-136 tariff points including a minimum of 2 A-levels or equivalent. 


After an annual review of the placement year tuition fee,  a price increase in line with current inflation, equating to 3% has been introduced.

Fees £790

Changed to: 2018 entry requirements have changed to 128-136 tariff points including a minimum of 2 A-levels or equivalent.

Key facts and 2018 entry requirements 

The entry requirements for this course are 128-136 tariff points from 3 A-levels or equivalent.


Changed to: 2018 GCSE entry requirements have changed to This course requires GCSE English and Mathematics grade C (or grade 4 in the reformed GCSE grading) or equivalent qualifications. 2018 entry requirements

This course requires a minimum of 4 GCSEs grades A* - C (or grade 4 or above in the newly reformed GCSE grading) including Maths and English or equivalent qualifications.

What our students say

Jamie Seager

My placement at JP Morgan was invaluable. I received lots of support while applying, including specialist advice and tips to prepare me for interview.

Hear from our staff

Caroline Burr

Our students achieve amazing things, both on placement and after graduating. I am very proud to have helped to shape the business managers of tomorrow.

What our students say

Glebs Kiselovs

The academic staff on my course are very friendly, they're always happy to help and we can trust them and feel like we are like a family

Additional information

Students in Dylans Bar

Fees and funding

Find out about fees and funding, including scholarships and bursaries.

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International students

We have a strong international student community. Find all the practical advice and information you need here.