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Please note that this qualification is only available until 31 December 2015. In order to claim this qualification you must have completed the required 180 credits by this time. This qualification is not available to new students. If you are a new student please see instead the revised version of our MBA (F61). If you have any questions about your eligibility for this MBA (F02) please contact the Qualifications and Ceremonies Centre on +44 (0)1908 653003 or by email.

The internationally recognised MBA qualification is designed for practising managers aspiring to higher positions. The emphasis is on strategic analysis, interdisciplinary skills, intellectual stimulation and independent judgement. Within the broad framework of organisations, their external context and management, you will learn to use the knowledge to analyse, synthesise and evaluate a wide range of situations. Among these will be economic, environmental, social and technological change issues, corporate governance, markets and customers, managing resources and operations, financing organisations, management and development of people, developing information technologies for application in business and management within a global knowledge-based economy, and development of appropriate business policies and strategies within a changing context to meet stakeholder interests. The modules comprising the MBA are challenging. They assume that you already have some experiential knowledge acquired from managerial work.

The Open University Business School is accredited internationally by the European Foundation for Management Development, through its EQUIS programme; by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); and the MBA is accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA). Do not be concerned that this MBA does not appear in either the Financial Times or Wall Street Journal league tables. These tables are restricted to full-time study programmes, many students on which seek employment after they complete. This MBA course does not qualify for these tables because it is for people studying part-time and already in a managerial position.

Planning your studies

All entrants to the MBA are expected to have organisational experience, some of it at a middle level of management or above. You must have a minimum of three years’ experience in a managerial, professional or technical role. Usually this means that you are at least 25 years old.

The MBA qualification is in two stages. You must expect to successfully complete Stage 1 before you enrol on Stage 2.

Stage 1

There are three routes through Stage 1.

Route 1 – if you already have a bachelors level qualification

To follow this route, you must have at least a bachelors level qualification from a recognised university or the equivalent. If you are eligible for this route, you can complete Stage 1 either by taking the Postgraduate Certificate in Business Administration module B713 (now discontinued) or, if your qualification is in the business studies area, you can study the Professional Diploma in Management module B700 (now discontinued). Both B713 and B700 involve, on average, 600 hours of study over 12 months.

Route 2 – if you already hold the Professional Diploma in Management

If you have our Professional Diploma in Management (D64) you can count this as Stage 1 of the MBA.  There is a 10 year maximum period within which all study towards the MBA must be completed; if you graduated from the diploma some years ago, contact the Student Registration and Enquiry Service.

Route 3 – if you are experienced in managerial work

If you are experienced in managerial work but not eligible for Route 1 or 2, you can take our Professional Certificate in Management (C31), prior to entering Stage 1. When you complete that certificate, you are then eligible to study our Professional Diploma in Management (D64) as Stage 1 of the MBA. The certificate followed by the diploma will take two years.

If you need advice about entry to the programme, please ask our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Stage 2

Your first Stage 2 module must normally be the discontinued B820. Once you have completed B820 you are then able to continue with the rest of Stage 2.

Note: B830 should be taken after B820 and alongside or after the Stage 2 option modules below. It is possible to study an elective alongside both halves of B830, which takes one year, but this requires an average of 24-30 hours of study a week, which is not usually compatible with full-time work. A more typical pattern would be to take one elective on its own and the second alongside part of B830, thereby completing the MBA in three years of steady study.

We cannot guarantee that the same selection of modules will continue to be available throughout your study period but we are committed to providing a suitable selection at all times.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

Career relevance and employability

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.


For this 180-credit masters degree you require:

Stage 1 – 60 credits from the following compulsory modules:

Subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules B700, B713, B730, B736, B800, BZX700, BZX713

Stage 2 – 60 credits from the following compulsory modules:

Postgraduate compulsory modules Credits Next start
Making a difference (B830) (or online version BZX830 or version BXH830)

This module focuses on a management initiative of your own choosing, consolidating your ability to make a difference to organisational performance as manager or leader.

See full description

30 Nov 2014 FINAL

and the discontinued module B820 (or version BZX820).

And another 60 credits taken from Open University Business School modules or from masters level modules from other programmes listed below.

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Business operations: delivering value (T883)

The module aims to equip managers with the skills to make the business processes in their organisation more effective in meeting the needs of stakeholders.

See full description

30 Nov 2014
Capacities for managing development (TU870)

This module analyses development management, examines a range of tools for planning, managing and evaluating development, and investigates key aspects of development management, including strategic thinking.

See full description

30 Nov 2014
Environmental decision making: a systems approach (T863)

This module uses systems ideas to explore environmental decision-making situations, to make sense of their complexity and to look for feasible changes and action.

See full description

30 Nov 2014 FINAL
Problem solving and improvement: quality and other approaches (T889)

This module focuses on the practical application and deeper understanding of many of the methods and techniques associated with modern quality management and systems thinking.

See full description

30 Nov 2014

Or, subject to rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules B821, B822, B823, B824, B825, B827, B826, B856, B890, BZX821, BZX822, BZX823, BZX824, BZX825, BZX827, E838*, E849*, T834**, T836, T840, T850, T852, T882, TUXX870

**T834 and T889 cannot both be counted towards this qualification

* 60-credit module but counts as only 30 credits towards the MBA

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.

Credit for previous study elsewhere

If you have already completed some successful study at postgraduate level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this Open University qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible as it may affect your choice of OU modules. If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete your qualification with us.

Visit our Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded a Master of Business Administration and will be entitled to use the letters MBA (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.

How to register

If you want to study for this qualification, read the description and check you meet any specific requirements (for example, some of our qualifications, require you to be working in a particular environment, or be sponsored by your employer). Then select the module you wish to study first and ensure it is suitable for you before following the registration procedure for that module. During the registration procedure you will be asked to declare which qualification you are studying towards.

See a full list of modules available for this qualification

About this Taught Masters
Code F02
Level Postgraduate
Made up of 180 credits

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