Business - Lean Enterprise Excellence - Waterford

This Lean Black Belt standard was co-designed in collaboration with leading Lean practice organisations from across services, manufacturing, healthcare, and construction sectors. A graduate of this programme will be considered a "Black Belt in Lean". The School of Business, WIT, equates the concept of Black Belt to Level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) Ireland. Graduates will receive a letter from WIT's School of Business stating that their capability equates to Black Belt in Lean standard upon completion of the associated project modules/assignments to the required level.

The programme is founded on seminal theories and thinking from scientific management, quality management, world-class manufacturing, change management, the Toyota Production System (TPS), The Toyota Way, and the Shingo Model. Building on that foundation, we synthesise the principles, systems, culture, and behaviours that are integral to contemporary Lean enterprise and operational excellence.

Participants attain in-depth understanding of wider organisational contexts, cross-sectoral applications, and both manufacturing and service orientations. The programme is distinctive in its focus on the critical, but less understood and invariably challenging, "soft" elements integral to effective Lean leadership and management. Thus, participants explore Lean philosophy and thinking; Lean leadership; Lean strategy deployment and hoshin kanri; organisational culture and employee engagement; Lean transformation and change management; and organisational learning, knowledge management, systems thinking, and the learning organisation.

Additionally, participants examine the "hard" Lean tools and techniques elements like, for example, Process Mapping, Value Stream Mapping, A3 Problem-Solving, and 5S. Participants also attain Black Belt level competency in key elements of statistical process control and business analytics, as well as completion of a live-laboratory continuous improvement project (CIP).

The programme provides a balanced approach between the academic and the practical, and includes real-world application via the live-laboratory continuous improvement project plus industry contributions from guest speakers. Our approach enables extensive and deep peer learning amongst and between participants who come from a wide variety of sectors and from both public and private organisations that are at various stages of their respective Lean journeys.

Undertaking academic paper assignments and the capstone research dissertation project advances participants' research and writing skills as well as their knowledge-base in Lean thinking and best practices integral to the contemporary Lean Enterprise.

Subjects taught

Year 1 - 60 Credits
Semester 1 (Sep - Dec)
Lean Enterprise Excellence
Lean Strategy & Sustainability
Lean Tools & Techniques 1
Lean Business Analytics 1

Semester 2 (Jan - Apr)
Lean Engagement
Lean Transformation
Lean Tools & Techniques 2
Lean Business Analytics 2

Note that Semester 1 and 2 modules are 5 Credits each.

Semester 3 (May - Sep)
Continuous Improvement Project (CIP) (20 Credits)

Year 2 - 30 credits
Semester 4 (Sep - Dec)
Research Methods & Techniques (10 Credits)

Semesters 5 & 6 (Jan - Aug)
Lean Masters Dissertation (20 Credits)

Entry requirements

To be considered for entry onto the Master of Business in Lean Enterprise Excellence applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

• Applicants should have a Level 8 qualification, in any discipline, along with a minimum of 3 years' relevant industry experience; and where applicants do not have a previous Level 8 qualification they will be considered on the basis of a recognition of prior learning (RPL) application to a Level 8 standard or equivalent and provided they have a minimum of 5 years' relevant industry experience.

• Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to present evidence of competence that meet the Institute's English Language Requirements for Postgraduate Programmes.

Application dates


Assessment Info

All modules must be passed and each module is assessed by assignment, incorporating continuous assessment (graded) and formative assessment (un-graded). There are no end-of-term summative examinations.

Semester 1 and Semester 2 modules are all worth 5 Credits each. The CIP is worth 20 Credits and is an organisation-based gemba project wherein participants develop and deliver a real-world improvement project within their organisations. The CIP is worked on across the entirety of the first year, and represents a year 1 capstone project with final deliverables in Semester 3.

In year 2 participants undertake a dedicated research year commencing in Semester 4 with a module on research methods and techniques, with a research proposal being a key output. They then go on to undertake a research project based on their proposals, and deliver a dissertation as the year 2 capstone project.




2 years part-time online.

The programme is fully delivered Online in part-time mode across a 2-year period. Classes are synchronous and delivered in block-release format (3-hours; 4-hours; 6-hours) on assigned evenings and occasional Saturdays.


Programme fee details are available on the Postgraduate Fee Schedule displayed on our website at

Post Course Info

Upon successfully attaining the requisite 90 Credits, participants will be conferred with the qualification of "Master of Business in Lean Enterprise Excellence" from Waterford Institute of Technology, and receive their "Black Belt in Lean" letter.

Graduates have advanced to key positions as Site Leads in Lean, Operational Excellence, or CI. Many have been headhunted by other organisations, and others have become Lean Service Providers offering consultancy and training in Ireland and abroad.

Ireland is a recognised global leader in Lean Enterprise and Operational Excellence, and there thus exists a high demand nationally and internationally for graduates with Lean knowledge, know-how, know-why, and skills. Graduates of the SETU Waterford Master of Business in Lean Enterprise Excellence are highly valued within their organisations, and highly sought-after in general.

In addition to the extensive knowledge and learning acquired, the applied nature of the programme and real-world individual and group problem-solving provide participants with invaluable experience and skills that enable their workplace-readiness and capability to implement Lean in any sector, organisation type and scale. The vast majority of participants are employer-funded, and this further affirms the importance that organisations increasingly place on Lean capacity and capability development.

Graduates have advanced to key positions as Site Leads in Lean, Operational Excellence, or CI. Many have been headhunted by other organisations, and others have become Lean Service Providers offering consultancy and training in Ireland and abroad.

Several graduates have gone on to pursue Level 10 Doctoral Research either full-time, or part-time whilst continuing to work and/or as part of an industry partnership. Interested parties can undertake SETU Waterford's structured Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or the Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA).

The SETU Waterford Academy of Lean Enterprise Excellence and Faculty Members are co-founders, leaders, and strategic advisors to a number of regional and national entities, and have been integral in the development of the national Lean ecosystem. Our programme participants and alumni become part of the regional, national, and global communities of learning and practice in Lean.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ),Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Part time,Evening,Daytime,Weekend

  • Apply to