This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.
You’ll study a 60-credit introductory business and management module. Thereafter, for your remaining 300 credits, you'll combine the study of business and management with a focus on leadership practice.
You’ll begin Stage 1 with an introduction to the essential disciplines of business and management; investigating the question ‘What is a business?’ and exploring the functions of human resource management, marketing, and accounting and finance. You'll also be able to choose from a range of subjects that includes developing your language skills for communicating effectively in the business world and applying management theory in your own workplace.
Stage 2 begins with focusing on the essential functions of an organisation: human resources; marketing; operations management; and accounting and finance. You’ll examine their key practices, processes and contribution to an integrated approach to management.
You’ll follow this by exploring how to initiate and conduct improvements and projects in your current work from an early stage. You'll develop leadership skills through learning about a range of important leadership theories – from understanding what it takes to be an effective leader through to refining collective leadership practices. You'll be able to apply this to your own context, improving your leadership capability as you progress.
Stage 3 begins with the fascinating world of strategy – covering the analysis of the environment where organisations operate and the choice and implementation of strategic options. You’ll complete your studies from a choice of leadership, enterprise and innovation, accounting and finance or marketing modules. We highly recommend Leadership in a changing world for this route as you'll have the opportunity to learn about leadership in the current world.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 15 March 2022.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA (Honours) Business Management uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- using mathematical and scientific expressions, notation and assorted techniques
- working in a group with other students
- using and producing diagrams or screenshots
- undertaking practical work
- finding external/third party material online
- using specialist software.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.
It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.
For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our BA (Honours) Business Management.
If you choose specialist route, your degree title will show that:
- BA (Honours) Business Management (Accounting)
- BA (Honours) Business Management (Economics)
- BA (Honours) Business Management (Innovation and Enterprise)
- BA (Honours) Business Management (Leadership Practice)
- BA (Honours) Business Management (Marketing)
The class of honours (first, upper-second, lower-second or third) will depend on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
If you intend to use your Open University qualification to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Find out more about international recognition of Open University qualifications.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification.
With the exception of the Accounting route, there is the option to study a mathematics module at Stage 1. Whether that module is right for you will depend on your experience and confidence with mathematics. Visit our Open Mathematics and Statistics website for information and to try some diagnostic quizzes.
Preparing for study with an Access module
Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to Stage 1 of their qualification. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.
You’ll also benefit from:
- feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:
People, work and society Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module provides an excellent introduction to studying with The Open University; you'll get to cover a wide range of subject areas, including childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, business and law.
View full details of People, work and society Access module
Science, technology and maths Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the sciences, technology and mathematics. It’ll help develop your study skills in advance of your OU qualification, and you get to explore a number of STEM subjects including science, engineering and design, environment, mathematics, and computing and IT.
View full details of Science, technology and maths Access module
Skills for career development
This degree course will help you develop a broad set of skills that are of high value to employers, including the ability to:
- understand key business functions such as marketing, human resources, information management, accounting and finance, and operations in their wider organisational and social context
- put together reasoned arguments and question assumptions
- draw together, analyse and critically evaluate information
- understand the nature of leadership skills and behaviours within organisations
- communicate effectively, clearly and accurately with others
- use ICT to research, identify and present information
- manage time and take responsibility for your own personal development.
The skills and knowledge you’ll develop by studying this degree will equip you to follow a number of career paths, and are recognised by employers as having great value for work in management and business. A qualification in business management can lead to opportunities in a wide range of areas such as:
- middle and senior management positions across all sectors
- advertising and marketing
- human resources
- banking, including investment banking
- sales and retail
- management consultancy
- business journalism
- transport and logistics.
Employers are keen to utilise the commercial awareness that business graduates offer, as increasing globalisation and continual changes in technology, communications, financial services and distribution of goods and services open up new business opportunities. This awareness can also lead to opportunities in specialist areas concerned with offering guidance to managers, such as management consultancy or business journalism.
Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice. This includes online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
- business development officer
- recruitment consultant
- e-marketing executive
- publicity officer
- risk analyst
- advertising account manager
- management consultant
- business journalist
- human resources manager
- sales and retail manager
- business analyst
- area manager
- logistics manager
- marketing manager.