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Business Improvement

Whether you are a practising or aspiring manager, get with the skills required to better examine your processes and procedures to affect strategic improvements and change. The concept of business improvement originated in the domain of manufacturing and tradeable services; however, it now permeates all aspects of economic activity across the private, public and voluntary sectors.

This course incorporates many approaches and methodologies including lean, six sigma, systems thinking, the theory of constraints and continuous improvement to the objectives of business improvement and transformation. Learning to recognise that excellent organisations value their people to ensure a mutually beneficial alignment of organisational and personal goals, you will also develop your leadership skills to support the leadership of change.

Ultimately you will learn to improve the operational performance of an organisation, helping propel you to more strategic or senior positions. With assessment for each module requiring application of theory to practical organisational problems, if you are already in a position to influence change you can make an immediate impact to you organisation as a consequence of your studies.

This course is recognised by the Institute of Continuous Improvement in Public Services (ICIPS).

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements

This course is designed for those who are working in areas where they can make improvements within the organisation; therefore all applicants should ideally be employed in a related role.

Applicants will normally be expected to have achieved a Bachelor's degree or equivalent professional qualification in any discipline. It is expected that applicants will normally be in a position within their organisation to effect change, or for those who aspire to such a position.

Applications from those who do not have a Bachelor's degree are welcome, many of our students have significant work and management experience but no formal degree qualification.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability

Students are normally expected to have a degree. However we also encourage applications from candidates who have extensive work experience but no formal academic qualifications.



Each module is taught on a three day block basis. This minimises the time required for students to be out of the workplace: students will typically be at the University 12 days per year. There are also follow up "learning sets" following each module.

The course has been designed to enable part-time students to complete the course over two years. In Year 1, students complete 40 credit points in semester 1, 20 credit points in semester 2 and 20 credit points in semester 3. In Year 2, students complete 20 credit points in semester 1, 40 credit points in semester 2 and 40 credit points in semester 3.

Students who successfully complete the two modules in semester 1 and the module in semester 2 (to a value of 60 credit points) may exit with a Postgraduate Certificate. Students who successfully complete the module in semester 3 of Year 1 and two modules across semesters 1 and 2 of Year 2 (to a value of 120 credit points) may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma.

Careers or further progression

Career options

This course is primarily aimed at equipping students with skills to allow them to improve the operational performance of their organisation. The MSc Business Improvement course can lead individuals into more strategic or senior positions within their organisation or into more focused business improvement positions.

Those who join the course are usually in positions where they can influence change in their respective organisations. Students are able to make an immediate impact as the assessment for each module requires the application of theory to practical organisational problems. This helps the student to make a real difference to the bottom line of the organisation.

Students who have studied on the course over the last few years have included representatives from organisations such as Bombardier, BE Aerospace, Caterpillar, Ryobi, Citibank, HSC, NI Water, Translink, Veridian and other public sector organisations.

Further enquiries

T: +44 (0)28 9036 6309

Alan McKittrick
T: +44 (0) 28 9036 6359

Subjects taught

Year one

Innovation Management
Innovation Management is a fast moving area of Business Improvement studies where technology and market development require managers and employees to be at the forefront of knowledge in this area. The module covers contemporary developments in the field in relation to theory and organisational practice. Learning in this area has the potential to lead to improvements such as shorter cycle times and lower costs in knowledge transfer and new product development.

Strategy consists of the analysis and decisions an organisation undertakes in order to create and sustain competitive advantage. Understanding these interrelated processes is crucial for creating and developing organisations. This module explores these decisions areas from a range of contemporary perspectives and contexts.

Quality and Process Management
Excellent organisations are managed through structured and strategically aligned processes using fact-based decision making to create balanced and sustained results. To achieve excellence, organisations must focus on how their processes are designed to deliver a strategy, using end-to-end management beyond the "classic" boundaries of the organisation. Excellent organisations design, manage and improve processes to generate increasing value for customers and other stakeholders.

Operational Excellence
Operations and process management is about how organisations produce goods and services. This module aims to enable students to acquire knowledge and a critical understanding of Operations Management, an understanding of the tasks, issues and decisions that are necessary to manage processes effectively and the tools to analyse process performance. This knowledge and understanding is essential for effective and efficient business improvement. Learning will be by teaching, discussion and independent study.

Year two

Financial Decision Making
The module will introduce students to both financial and management accounting information and equip them with a greater understanding of the reasons behind some of the figures they will increasingly encounter as they progress through their organisations.

Leadership and Change Management
The module considers theoretical perspectives in managing organisational change and using them asks participants to analyse situations within their organisations to make recommendations on the management of change their organisation.

People Development and Involvement
Excellent organisations value their people to ensure a mutually beneficial alignment of organisational and personal goals. This module aims to enable students to acquire knowledge and an understanding of the core areas of Human Resource Management (HRM) and the factors which influence behaviour within organisations. This knowledge and understanding is essential for effective and efficient business improvement through effectively managing, empowering and developing people. Learning will be by teaching, discussion and independent study.

Business Transformation Project
The Management Project enables students to apply the theoretical concepts encountered on the MSc Business Improvement to a "live" management issue. In doing so they choose appropriate research methodologies, gather data and make conclusions and recommendations to the host organisation.

Application date

Application is through the University's online application system.

Enrolment and start dates

Year of entry: 2020/21

Postgraduate Information Session 20 February 2020
Register at:

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