Corporate Governance and Business Ethics (MSc)

The economic and financial aspects of corporate governance relationships have long been of concern to those in the business and investment communities, and in recent years the social, political and moral aspects of these relationships have also become a major public concern.

This interdisciplinary Master's degree addresses both these sets of issues. It studies the complex and changing relationships between business corporations, their stakeholders (shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, etc) and the societies in which they operate. The programme is international in scope, recognising both the wide variety of cultures and corporate governance systems within which businesses operate worldwide and the increasing globalisation of business and finance.

The programme is ideal if you are interested in the policy aspects of corporate governance or you wish to be involved professionally in the direction and regulation of companies and the management or trusteeship of pension funds and other investments.

Coursework is combined with independent research, leading to a dissertation. You can also choose a specialist pathway, depending on your interests and career objectives. The modules are run in collaboration with other departments at Birkbeck, giving you access to a wide range of options and a truly interdisciplinary approach to corporate governance and business ethics.

Highlights

  • Based in the School of Business, Economics and Informatics, the Department of Management is an internationally recognised centre of excellence in teaching, research and consultancy in the broad field of management.
  • Our academic staff are active researchers as well as enthusiastic teachers, and regularly publish cutting-edge articles in the world's leading journals. We have particular research strengths in international business and strategy, the management of innovation and entrepreneurship, human resource management, corporate governance, sport management and marketing, as well as financial management and accounting, and are supported by the London Centre for Corporate Governance and Ethics research centre.
  • Provides a strong foundation for PhD research in the area and has achieved ESRC Research Training recognition.
  • Benefits from the involvement of a number of leading figures in the field, including members of national and international committees on corporate governance, shareholder activists and NGO representatives. We engage in significant collaborative research and have excellent contacts with many public and private sector organisations, professional bodies and researchers at other academic institutions.
  • Has a number of streams, enabling you to concentrate on particular areas within the broader field of corporate governance and ethics, including public sector governance (in collaboration with our Department of Politics); environmental issues in corporate governance (in collaboration with our Department of Geography); and finance and accounting.
  • You will have access to Moodle, our online learning resource where all information and materials relating to your programme of study and modules are available, as well as the Birkbeck Library and e-Library.

Course structure

You complete modules, including a 12,000-word dissertation, to a total of 180 credits.

You choose an area to specialise in:

  • Corporate Governance
  • Environmental Issues in Corporate Governance and Ethics (in collaboration with our Department of Geography), or
  • Public Sector Governance (in collaboration with our Department of Politics).

Corporate Governance

You take five compulsory modules, including one from either Principles of Organization and Management or Strategic Management.

You also choose three option modules, including one option module from the wide range of postgraduate option modules offered by the Department of Management, and complete a dissertation.

Full-time students complete all of their modules in one year.

Part-time students take three compulsory modules and choose one option module in their first year, before undertaking two compulsory modules, choosing two option modules and completing a dissertation in their second year.

Environmental Issues in Corporate Governance and Ethics

You take five compulsory modules, including one from either Principles of Organization and Management or Strategic Management.

You also choose three option modules and complete a dissertation.

Part-time students take three compulsory modules and choose one option module in their first year, before undertaking two compulsory modules, choosing two option modules and completing a dissertation in their second year.

Public Sector Governance

    You take six compulsory modules, including one from either Principles of Organization and Management or Strategic Management.

    You also choose one option module from the wide range of postgraduate option modules offered by the Department of Management, and complete a dissertation.

    Part-time students take three compulsory modules and choose one option module in their first year, before undertaking three compulsory modules and completing a dissertation in their second year.

    Module groups

    Corporate Governance compulsory modules

    Corporate Governance option modules

    Environmental Issues compulsory modules

    Environmental Issues option modules

    Public Sector Governance compulsory modules

    MSc Corporate Governance and Business Ethics dissertation

    • Entry Requirements

      Entry requirements

      Normally at least a second-class honours degree in any subject area from a UK university or a non-UK equivalent. A professional or other qualification obtained by written examinations approved by the College.

      Relevant experience, supporting statements and references may be taken into consideration, especially in the case of non-standard applications.

      International entry requirements

      If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

      If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

      Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

      Visa requirements

      If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

      The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

      • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
      • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
      • Pre-sessional English language courses.

      International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

      For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

      Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

      If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

      Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

    • Fees

      Fees

      Part-time home/EU students: £5625 pa
      Full-time home/EU students: £11250 pa
      Part-time international students: £8700 pa
      Full-time international students: £17425 pa

      Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

    • Teaching and assessment

      Teaching

      At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

      Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

      Our distance-learning and blended-learning courses and modules are self-directed and we will provide you with interactive learning opportunities and encourage you to collaborate and engage via various learning technologies. These courses involve limited or no face-to-face contact between students and module tutors.

      In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

      Methods of teaching on this course

      Theoretical components are taught mainly via evening sessions supported through online materials and attendance at evening classes.

      Contact hours

      On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Alongside this, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and fieldtrips.

      On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project.

      On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students are encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies, but you may have limited or no face-to-face contact with your module tutors.

      Timetables

      Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

      Indicative class size

      Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

      Independent learning

      On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

      Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

      On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, the emphasis is very much on independent, self-directed learning and you will be expected to manage your own learning, with the support of your module tutors and various learning technologies.

      Study skills and additional support

      Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

      • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
      • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
      • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

      Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

      Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

      Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short- or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

      Assessment

      Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

      Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

      Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

      Methods of assessment on this course

      A combination of examinations, coursework and a 12,000-word dissertation.

    • Careers and employability

      Careers and employability

      Graduates can pursue careers in local and national government, business, and industry. Possible professions include management consultant, human resources officer, or marketing executive. This degree can also be useful in becoming a Civil Service fast streamer, retail manager, or sales executive.

      We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

    • How to apply

      How to apply

      You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application.

      Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form.

      Application deadlines and interviews

      Applications accepted from November until early September; early application is recommended.