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MA Leading & Developing Services

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This course provides managers and experienced health and social care professionals with the opportunity to develop and extend their knowledge of management theory and enhance their management practice. It will prepare you to take on first line, middle and senior management positions and supports organisation leadership and management strategies.

This course is part-time and delivered mostly in monthly two-day blocks as this suits busy leaders and managers.

For 2018 entry: In order to take advantage of new approaches to learning and teaching, as well as developments in industry to benefit our students we regularly review all of our courses.

This course is currently going through this process and we will update this page in November 2017 to give you full information about what we will be offering once the review process has concluded.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2018


Bournemouth University, Lansdowne Campus


3 years part-time, maximum 5 years

Entry requirements:

Applicants will normally hold a social work qualification recognised by the Health and Care Professions Council or a qualification in an allied profession. Applicants should be a registered social work or healthcare professional, and normally hold a first degree. You must hold at least a Diploma level qualification or equivalent. If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 6.0 (Academic) or above. For more information check out our full entry requirements

Course details

This course is part-time and delivered in monthly two-day blocks as this suits busy leaders and managers. 

Postgraduate Certificate Leading and Developing Services

Choose three 20-credit units from the options below. 

Postgraduate Diploma in Leading and Developing Services

Choose six 20-credit units from the following options including the core unit ‘Strategic Leadership’:

  • Evidencing Professional Learning (EPL) 1, 2 & 3: Learn to evaluate yourself as a lifelong learner and to apply learning outcomes in the complex and unpredictable professional context. You can take this unit up to three times on the course. All parts can be taken as work-based CPD units and combine what you’ve previously learnt before taking our Master’s level programme. 
    (Up to 60 credits from a social work undergraduate specialist programme may be used in a Recognition of Experiential Learning (RPEL) process against the EPL 1, 2 and 3 units.)
  • Strategic Leadership (core unit): This unit aims to provide an opportunity for you to develop an understanding of the way in which health and social care is organised, lead and managed. Strategy is considered in respect of how it might be formulated and implemented locally but also to evaluate both national and local strategy. Being strategic within the organisation and in collaboration/integration with others is a key principle here.

  • Leading and Enabling Others: This unit will provide you with the opportunity to critically consider your role in leading and enabling others to develop and enhance their practice (either formally or informally), particularly in the context of change management and service improvement. You will also critically reflect on how you can develop and maintain an effective learning culture within your team.
  • Critical Thinking in Advanced Practice: Develop your expertise in critical thinking by using evidence from research and practice experience to inform complex judgements and decisions when working at an advanced level of professional practice.
  • Self-leadership: This unit will enable you to increase your self-leadership capability and capacity to better manage self and others under the multiple pressures of the work environment. The development focus is upon the quality of the leaders thinking, creativity, and deeper self-awareness in the moment and ultimately developing advanced level professional leadership impact. Personal resilience and better relating within complex and critical situations is a fundamental goal of this leadership unit.

MA in Leading & Developing Services

Once you've completed the above stages you study the following units (however they may be undertaken earlier if required)::

  • Preparing for your Service Improvement Project (PSIP):In this unit you will learn about an appropriate, systematic and justified service improvement methodology, undertake a short literature review, and design an original, intellectually challenging and in-depth SIP action plan for your professional context.
  • Service Improvement Project (SIP): You'll show your autonomous and independent ability in a complex professional context to expand or redefine existing knowledge or develop new approaches to service improvement, and then evaluate your SIP's impact. Throughout the unit you'll be supported by a university tutor via phone calls, emails and face-to-face meetings. Your tutor will direct you towards helpful resources. This may include electronic resources, workshops, seminars and master classes.

On this course you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff and qualified professional practitioners. 

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 MA Leading & Developing Services (pdf, 1.2mb).

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. 

Selection criteria

Background and experience

This programme is primarily designed to meet the management development needs of managers already in post. This includes supervisors, team leaders, first line managers, middle and senior managers. However experienced professionals who aspire to a management career may also access the programme as long as they have supervisory responsibilities that allow them to complete the practice assessments. As this programme offers a good grounding in strategic management it is suitable for managers currently in first line and middle manager positions who may be seeking promotion to a senior position.

We are looking for applicants who:

  • Are in a management role or actively contributing to developing and improving health and social care services
  • Are committed to developing their own leadership and management practice
  • Will take on the challenge of applying course material in complex working situations
  • Will support colleagues on the programme and in the workplace in developing their leadership and management practice and will contribute to the group learning experience
  • Have a first degree or its equivalent

Students on the course will be committed to developing and improving services and will see advancing their own leadership and management practice as essential to this. Our students come from both health and social care backgrounds and could be senior managers with strategic responsibilities, middle managers or senior practitioners. All of the assignments for the course require the application of theory to workplace situations so students must be actively involved in service development and improvement. This also means that students must be able to research and learn independently and be able to reflect critically on their leadership and management practice. Most students bring a depth of previous experience to the course and have often had some introductory management training. We draw heavily on this experience as a valuable resource, so willingness to contribute to group discussion and share knowledge and understanding is essential.

Full entry requirements

​Applicants should be a registered social work or healthcare professional, and normally hold a first degree. You must hold at least a Diploma level qualification or equivalent.

For post-experience and professional qualifications, there may be additional entry requirements set by the association or institute that ultimately administers the qualification in question. 

International entry 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 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our international entry requirements page.

How to apply

We offer a single point of contact for all questions and enquiries regarding Post Qualifying Social Work courses.

Please contact our NCPQSW Administration Team (National Centre for Post Qualifying Social Work) for more information:

  • Tel: +44 (0)1202 964765
  • Email:

Please note: If your fees are to be paid by your employer you should submit your application via your Workforce Development Officer so that your employer can sign the sponsor section of the payment agreement. This must take place before you can be enrolled.

If you are paying your own fees you should submit your application directly to the NCPQSW Administration Team.


After completing this course, you will possess the practical skills and theoretical knowledge required for work in senior positions.

Career progression may ultimately lead to you becoming a:

  • Senior manager
  • Academic lecturer
  • Academic researcher

Industries you can work in

  • NHS (hospital and community)
  • Private and independent healthcare sector (nursing homes and private hospitals)
  • Education
  • Academic research.

Further study

If you want to continue your studies after achieving your Master's, you can look into our range of doctoral programmes.

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 & specialist teaching facilities.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a hard copy/memory stick/ DVD
  • 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, Faculty Librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • 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

  • 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 unilinx bus service operates in the local areas, offering a subsided travel rate. We also have a large number of bike storage facilities.
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU webpages
  • Fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Travel to placement is your responsibility; you may be able to reclaim costs from NHS Student Bursaries
  • Supplementary uniform supplies
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/ securing placements
  • Professional Body membership/registration post qualification
  • Internet access at discretion of your accommodation provider
  • 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 the Student section of the website.

Other possible costs to consider

  • Replacement Student ID card- £10.00 (per replacement)
  • Cost of resit examination- No charge if examined at Bournemouth University, if examined elsewhere costs may be incurred at the Exam Centre
  • Cost of additional transcript results- £10.00 (per year of study)
  • Replacement certificate (Postgraduate and Diploma level students only)- £30.00 (per replacement)

Course Changes

The table below indicates the latest changes to this course.

Date Changes to this course Where the change was made Previous text
03.05.17 Compusory unit 'Leading Strategy and Commissioning Services' replaced with newly validated 'Strategic Leadership' unit from the CPD framework. Course details

Previous core unit was 'Leading Strategy and Commisioning Services.

New core unit is 'Strategic Leadership'.

Additional information

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