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  • Delivery:
    Full time according to Funding Council definitions, Part-Time, Sandwich (Thick) out of college.

This course is a conversion course, it is ideal for graduates who would like to change subjects or career direction.

Retailing is one of the largest sectors in the world economy. In some countries it is well established with large multinational companies constantly investing in customer-oriented marketing efforts to attract customer spending and loyalty. Marketing is an essential part of retailing.

This course deals with the learning and practical application of concepts essential for operating and marketing a retail business, and will help you to understand the contemporary retail environment and examine topical issues related to retail management and marketing.

You’ll learn from research-active, industry-experienced staff who have published innovative research into retail management and marketing issues. You'll develop analytical skills essential for operating and marketing in international retail environment by critically examining international retail development and activity, with a view to putting this knowledge into practice.

The course is accredited by the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM). There is an opportunity to obtain the IDM Certificate in Digital Marketing alongside the degree course.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2018, January 2019


Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus


September: 1 year full-time (16 months with optional study exchange). January: 16 months full-time (18 months with optional study exchange), 2 years with optional 30-week work placement or 2 years part-time


Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM)

Relevant subjects:

All subjects considered

Entry requirements:

A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 in any subject or equivalent. If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 6.0 (Academic) or above. For more information see our full entry requirements

Course details

If you want to study part-time, you’ll study alongside full-time students over two years. You'll be expected to study a minimum of three units per year, along with your dissertation towards the end of your second year. The timetable for when units take place varies each year but the typical delivery for one unit is four hours a week, split between two sessions, so you will be required to be on campus at least two days a week. We can work with you to consider the timetable and make an appropriate individual plan in terms of which order to study which units.

Core units

  • Business Strategy & Finance: The foundations of strategic analysis and choices that tie into an organisation’s business decisions. This includes private, public and third sector. You'll study the corporate finance sources of organisations, reporting and interpreting financial data. This will help you understand the dynamics of the tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors.

  • Retail Consumer Experience & Behaviour: The theoretical and practical aspects of individual and social processes underlying and influencing human behaviour, particularly as this relates to people as consumers in a retail setting. You'll develop the ability to evaluate and apply theories and models to the retail sector.

  • Retail Marketing & Digital Communication: Develop an understanding of the current market environment for retailers in relation to their marketing and communication strategies, including traditional and digital communication methods. You'll be introduced to a range of marketing concepts, discuss the key parts of the marketing planning process, including analysis, planning, execution and control, and review the effectiveness of traditional and digital communication tools that retailers use.

  • Retail Principles & Practice: An introduction to the structure and dynamic nature of retailing throughout the world. You'll examine the forces that shape the industry and the changes it makes to survive. This will help you understand the contemporary retail environment and examine topical issues, such as the impact of out of town retailing on existing town centers. You'll develop analytical skills related to the UK and the international retail environment.

  • Research Methods: You'll learn how to collect, analyse, interpret and present both qualitative and quantitative data. You will be able to understand the nature of research, and its associated ethics which will provide essential underpinning for your research project.

  • Dissertation: An opportunity to study a subject in-depth, showing your understanding of it. The dissertation is the conclusion of your learning experience, where you'll carry out a research project. You'll use appropriate research methodology to collect and analyse data and present your findings. Your dissertation will be 15,000 words, and you'll be taught about research methods.

Option units (choose one)

  • Entrepreneurship: The process of creating a new entrepreneurial venture, and funding sources for new and upcoming entrepreneurs. There's a focus on identifying and evaluating entrepreneurial opportunities. Entrepreneurial development may cover a single entity, a further investment by a portfolio entrepreneur, a management buy-out, a spin-out or a venture in an existing organisation.

  • Buying & Merchandising: Understand the concepts and processes of buying and merchandising, in theory and practice, and recognise the links and differences between the roles of a buyer and a merchandiser in retail.

  • Fashion Retailing: You should consider choosing this unit if you want a career with some element of fashion. You'll learn how the fashion industry is important to the retail sector, and get the chance to explore how fashion can be used here to appeal to fashion-conscious consumers.

  • Food & Drink: Food and drink gives us sustenance, meets our nutritional needs, and forms the basis for many of life’s experiences. It's also central to the hospitality, tourism, retail and events sectors. As such, understanding our relationship with food socially, economically, politically, environmentally and technologically is valuable for strategic and operational areas of expertise.

  • Food, Culture & Society: Explore the complex relationships among food, culture and society from disciplines in humanities, social sciences and sciences. You'll look at the world of food beyond the commercial context, review all aspects of food studies and debate a range of topics.

  • Mobility & Cultural ChangeLearn about the underlying causes of increasing international mobility, and the implications of the movements of people for the individual and society. You'll increase your employability through developing intercultural awareness and tolerance.

  • Mobile Communication & Mobile Marketing: Design and evaluate innovative mobile applications for an effective marketing communication campaign. You'll learn to understand, design and evaluate mobile communication and marketing initiatives in experience-based industries.

  • Spatial Design for Retailers & Restaurateurs: A creative exploration of the current trends for retailer and restaurant design, primarily from a consumer perspective. You'll develop visual and verbal forms of argument, communication and validation for design ideas.

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.

Optional work placement

The placement is intended to foster personal and professional development, and to help you to make a connection between academic learning and the working world. You should consider how a range of management theories can be used, and if management in industry could be improved. The transferable skills developed will improve your performance in your future career, both as employee and manager.

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 MSc Retail Management & Marketing.

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.

Placement opportunities

An exciting and valuable part of your studies with us is the opportunity to gain valuable experience through full-time paid industrial placements, for a minimum of 30-weeks. You will have the option to start your placement when the taught units of the course are finished, before you start your dissertation.

What job roles can you expect?

Students are capable of taking on a very wide range of work; from operational to managerial in a variety of environments (hotels, tour operators, event companies, recruitment sector, finance and marketing departments). The placement should be a paid job but voluntary work can be just as enjoyable.

What support is available?

We provide a lot of support for you to help you find work, including a block of seminars, covering topics such as writing a CV and a covering letter, completing an application form, performing well in interviews, and we also provide language support to assist you with the written elements of your applications. However, it is ultimately your responsibility to find work. The university does not guarantee that you will find a place. As you all probably know, it is hard work finding a job, and for this reason, many students change their mind once they are here, and choose a taught unit instead of doing the placement.

During your time on placement you will be supported by a unit tutor and a placement development advisor who will visit you on placement and keep in touch by phone and email.

International students

If you choose to do a placement as part of your course

  • If you have previously studied in the UK, we will consider any study limit that may apply. We will issue your CAS according to the length of time you are entitled to under UKVI regulations (if you do not have enough time left for a work placement year, we will issue your CAS to cover your course dates only).
  • If you decide after you have enrolled on your course that you do not want to do a placement, this will be reported to the UKVI when you have successfully completed your course.

If you choose not to do a placement as part of your course

  • We will note this on your CAS and your visa will only be granted long enough to cover your taught course, excluding placement.
  • If you change your mind while you are here and decide you want to do a placement, you will need to leave the UK to make a new Tier 4 visa application for the additional year of study. You would need to pay for your return travel back to your home country, as well as the cost of a new Tier 4 student visa application.

Selection criteria

Background and experience

For Retail Management & Marketing we are looking for applicants who:

  • Have a strong passion for the retail industry
  • Are enthusiastic and committed to the sector
  • Are strong team players
  • Are able to work under their own initiative
  • Possess good communication and presentation skills.

Students on this course are expected to be proactive and enthusiastic about the retail industry and appreciate the complexity of any retail offer, from the independent family-run business to the multi-national chain.

This course suits people who are keen to work with others and prepared to take on a leadership role, guiding and influencing the views of others to achieve the goals set. Students on the course are likely to come from a diverse range of backgrounds, having studied a number of different subjects for their first degrees. The course welcomes students who possess a strong desire to develop their knowledge and skills in this dynamic industry.

Selection methods

This course selects candidates by looking at their applications. There are no interviews or additional selection activities and therefore we suggest that you make your application stand out from the crowd. For more information, take a look at our post graduate how to apply pages. 

Full entry requirements

The normal requirements for embarking upon a postgraduate taught degree are:

  • A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 in any subject or equivalent.

If you lack the formal academic qualifications needed to enter a postgraduate or post-experience degree, there are several alternative routes to follow. Some of these are based on experience. Contact the Future Students Enquiry Team for more information.

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 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.

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 postgraduate entry requirements page.


There is a demand for highly-skilled professional retail managers and a Master's degree is increasingly seen as the entry qualification to high-profile retail roles.

This course is highly regarded in the industry for developing graduates with strong practical and analytical skills in related issues. We have been offering courses in the subject since 1989, so we have a long and well-established reputation for excellence. We have a large alumni of around 700 Retail students from BU, providing unrivalled contacts and opportunities through retail and marketing businesses.

As a Retail Management & Marketing graduate, you will be prepared to undertake roles such as:

  • Digital merchandiser
  • Retail officer
  • Head of marketing
  • Retail marketing manager
  • Retail manager.

Industries worked in

  • Retail
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Business.

Further Study

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

*The above are taken from Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) and BU institutional data.

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 subsidised 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 students 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 additional fees equivalent to one ninth of the tuition fee 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.

Our lecturers

Our staff are actively engaged in research and professional practice in the retail 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.

Dr Jason Sit - Programme coordinator for MSc Retail Management & Marketing

Before Jason joined academia, he worked in retail industry which inspired him to pursue and successfully achieve a PhD degree in the areas of event marketing, customer experience, and customer loyalty. Jason's pedagogic approaches focus on "real-world" and technology-facilitated learning; those approaches were recognised by a number of awards. Jason's current research interests are in the domains of Customer Experience and Value, Mobile Technology, Destination Image, and Self-concept.

Dr Jeff Bray - Principal Academic

Jeff’s passion and research area is retailing and consumer marketing. He is currently researching ethical
considerations in consumer purchasing decisions. He also has an interest in the internationalisation of
retailing, and general retail issues. His research has featured in numerous journals including the Journal of Business Ethics and Journal of Tourism Research and he provides regular media comment and analysis on retail and marketing issues and has appeared on Tonight with Trevor McDonald and BBC television and radio news programmes. Jeff currently holds the post of ‘Waitrose Fellow of Retailing’, working together with Waitrose retail development team on future store innovations.

Dr Charles McIntyre - Senior Lecturer in Retail Management

Charles’ teaching and research interests lie in human experience, innovation and creativity within the
fields of consumer behaviour, communications and place and space effects. These are predominantly
within the tourism, retail, leisure and entertainment sectors – including aspects of retail forms, music
consumption, museum and art gallery visits, and other public leisure area use. His research has explored potential changes in consumer behaviour and experience, including new technology effects. He is an associate director of the International Colloquium of Design, Branding and Marketing and was a co-researcher for a Which? study investigating shoppers’ behaviours and decisions.

Corinna Budnarowska - Lecturer in Retail Management

Corinna Budnarowska is an academic with a strong practitioner background in the fields of retail and fashion. Her retail fashion business was voted by Retail Week as one of the `Top 100 Must Visit Stores in the World' (2004). Corinna teaches in the areas of Fashion Marketing, Digital Marketing and Retail, Omni-channel Retailing and Supply Chain Management. Corinna undertakes consultancy for the Retail and Fashion Industries.

Course changes

The table below indicates the latest changes to this course.

Date Changes to this course Where the change was made Previous text

If you take a placement, the tuition fees during your placement will be £790


Placements (if applicable): Included in the tuition fee


Elective unit change. Removal of the unit Managing Organisations and addition of the unit Research Methods

Course details

Managing Organisations: Develop competence in organisational management and behaviour for a management career in the leisure sector. You'll investigate key roles and how these may be affected by operational environments and organisational structures and cultures, particularly in international and multinational organisations.

Hear from our staff

Chris Chapleo

There’s an energy about BU that can be difficult to define. You’ve got a fantastic combination of industry links, world-leading research and courses.

What our graduates think

Murat Satilmis

The course was tailored to the dynamics of the contemporary retail environment led by academics who have worked in industry, making the experience invaluable.

Additional information

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