man using laptop

Master of Business Administration

Skip to section

    Key information

    Mode of delivery
    Start date
    Open enrolment
    18 months


    Contact our enquiries team

    Contact us


    Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University is a leader in online learning, having provided flexible, accessible, career-focussed distance education for over 20 years. Home to the world’s first distance learning Master of Business Administration (MBA), we have decades of experience in designing a global education that meets the needs of professionals and businesses worldwide. With a strong community of over 49, 000 graduates from 158 countries, we are known across the globe for pioneering research and applied learning, and for producing high-calibre, career-ready graduates. 

    Our online MBA builds on this rich history to deliver a truly customisable, contemporary, and relevant learning experience for modern professionals. This unique programme is known for its rigour and career impact, and is designed to be fully flexible and globally accessible meaning you can learn how, when and where it suits you best. The MBA consists of a comprehensive curriculum designed by leading academics which you can personalise to meet your professional aspirations by selecting courses that fit your career path and interests.

    With this programme you’ll be equipped with insights into dynamic international business environments as you build essential skills in critical thinking, strategic decision-making, complex problem solving, negotiation, marketing, finance, and leadership.

    Degree duration

    This programme is available to study on-demand, at your own pace, from wherever you are in the world. Each individual course requires approximately 200 hours of study, which also includes time to complete course activities and practice assignments. On average, it takes four years to complete a full MBA, but it can be completed faster or over a longer period. You can choose your own pace by picking up or setting aside your studies whenever it suits you best. Your schedule always takes priority.

    How you'll learn

    Our progressive course materials are made available online through our virtual learning environment (VLE). The VLE links you with our expert academics and course materials through videos, webinars, articles, journals, assessments and discussion boards.

    With us, it’s completely up to you when and where you sit your exams and you need only pay for one at a time. You can choose when to sit your exams and if you need to rearrange, that’s no problem either.

    To find out more about the online MBA degree structure, resources and support please visit our Online learning delivery and support pages.

    Live Online Tuition

    Want to enhance your learning? You can choose to supplement your independent learning by enrolling in live online sessions led by experienced tutors. These sessions help you further contextualise your learning, prepare for your final assessment, and ensure your success on the programme. Online support is also available through our very popular Facebook community.

    How our online MBA works

    Meet Olalekan, online MBA graduate from Lagos, Nigeria.

    Course content

    Year 1

    Our online MBA is fully flexible, you are able to design your studies around your schedule. Enrol at any time and start when it suits you best. During your MBA you’ll progress through nine courses: seven core courses and two optional courses. You are required to successfully complete and pass all nine courses to be awarded your MBA.

    Download the prospectus for a full curriculum outline.

    Programme Outcomes

    Upon completing the programme, you will gain comprehensive knowledge in all MBA areas. With a set of practical skills and techniques at your disposal, you will excel in diverse business environments and create a significant positive influence in your future.

    By the end of this programme, you’ll be able to:

    • Develop a detailed and critical awareness of relevant concepts, theories and principles in subjects fundamental to management.
    • Demonstrate leadership in professional situations with the ability to conceptualise, analyse and resolve complex problems and issues in business and management.
    • Critically evaluate complex situations and propose innovative and sustainable solutions to the strategic and operational challenges that organisations face.
    • Apply critical knowledge of contemporary management issues, concepts, and theories to professional practice in a variety of organisational, cultural and environmental contexts.

    Degree structure

    • Delivering Successful Projects
    • Developing and Executing Strategy
    • Economics for Business
    • Financial Decision Making
    • Leadership, Theory and Practice
    • People, Work and Organisations
    • Strategic Marketing
    • Advanced Financial Decision Making
    • Big Data Analytics for Business
    • Business Analytics
    • Business Consultancy
    • Business Negotiation
    • Entrepreneurship and Creativity
    • Entrepreneurial Venturing
    • Financial Derivatives
    • Global Purchasing and Supply
    • Green and Sustainable Logistics
    • Humanitarian Logistics
    • Lending and Credit Risk Analysis
    • Logistics Operations: Freight Transport and Warehouse Management 
    • Managing Financial Risk
    • Mergers, Acquisitions and Restructuring
    • Network Analysis
    • Operations Management
    • Performance Management for Business
    • Quantitative Methods
    • Research Methods for Business 
    • Strategic Change Management 
    • Strategies for Managing Supply Chains

    Detailed degree guide

    Understanding, Knowledge and Cognitive Skills

    Participants will achieve the following learning outcomes at programme level:

    • Develop a detailed and critical awareness of relevant concepts, theories and principles in subjects fundamental to management
    • Demonstrate leadership in professional situations with the ability to conceptualise, analyse and resolve complex problems and issues in business and management
    • Gain professional level insights into dynamic international business environments and propose appropriate courses of action for organisations to deal with and take advantage of rapid external change
    • Through synthesis of ideas across diverse management disciplines, critically evaluate complex situations and propose innovative and sustainable solutions to the strategic and operational challenges that organisations face

    Scholarship, Enquiry and Research (Research Informed Learning)

    The learning model and curriculum actively encourages students to develop and apply their learning to their own professional experience and to wider developments in business and management.

    Approaches to Teaching and Learning

    The Edinburgh Business School MBA is an applied programme aimed at working professionals, providing them the opportunity to reflect on their own practice using contemporary theory in the management field. The programme is designed at the intersection of theory and practice and courses are oriented towards exploration of real-life examples and case studies.

    The MBA is entirely modular and delivery is flexible, operating a learning rather than a teaching model and each course is designed for self-study. All courses are designed around a comprehensive online offering that contains all necessary learning materials and guidance for students to successfully complete their studies. A key part of this is the opportunity for students to engage with each other as part of a global multicultural learning community.

    In addition to the online offering, different study modes offer a variety of value-added services to students. These include access to live cohort-based tuition on-campus or with an Approved Learning Partner and access to synchronous online tuition for all students across all modes.

    The Executive MBA study route offered in Edinburgh from September 2021 is designed for mid-career professionals and runs part-time over 24 months. The programme involves a mix of online study, intensive course-based workshops and personal development planning, culminating in a capstone business project linked to the student’s own organisation.

    The MBA is available in languages other than English via selected collaborative partnerships. Non-English provision is detailed under programme code H149-MLN.

    Assessment Policies

    With the exception of the two entrepreneurship courses and the project, all courses are examined by written examination. Assessment includes objective questions (where appropriate), case studies and essays.  All courses are examined three times per year aligned to Heriot-Watt University's two semesters and the summer period.

    The pass mark for all courses is 50%. A candidate must pass all required course units to be eligible for an award. Failing candidates are allowed a single resit in each course.

    Awards with Distinction will be made to candidates completing an award with average marks of 70% and over with no examination failures. Awards with Merit will be made to candidates completing an award with average marks between 60% and 69% with no examination failures.

    Assessment for H11PJ, H11EN, H11EV, H11BP is by 100% coursework. One re-assessment opportunity is permitted (coursework re-submission).

    The MBA core courses and selected electives are available for examination in Chinese and Russian via collaborative partners, detailed under programme code H149-MLN.

    Fees and funding

    Tuition fees

    Scholarships and bursaries

    Each year Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University makes available a number of scholarships and discounts to help students to achieve one of our awards.

    Entry requirements

    Typically you will hold a recognised first or second class honours degree, or equivalent professional qualification. Students whose native language is not English and who have not been educated previously in the English language must provide evidence of their English language proficiency. 

    Rewarding previous study

    Edinburgh Business School recognises that some students entering our online MBA or MSc programmes will have completed prior academic study in subjects that align closely to certain EBS courses.

    The qualification being presented for exemption consideration should have been gained within the last five years. Qualifications gained over five years ago may be considered if additional supporting evidence shows that you have keep abreast of the current developments and trends in the subject area.

    Exemptions are considered only on the basis of qualifications which have been gained through formal assessment. No consideration will be given for life/work experience.

    Exemptions will not be awarded on the basis of courses which have been used towards the award of another degree (of the same discipline) at Master's level, whether this was awarded by Heriot-Watt University or any other institution. For example, a student who has gained an MSc in Accounting will not be given an exemption in Accounting from Edinburgh Business School’s MBA or MSc degree programmes.

    Exemption eligibility

    If you would like to enquire about your eligibility, please complete an Exemption Application Form.

    Why Heriot-Watt?

    Flexibility and affordability

    Study at a time and pace that suits you, and even while you work. HW Online offers pay-as-you-study courses and fees inclusive of exams and study materials, meaning you can focus on success, not extra costs.

    Online tutoring and revision

    We offer live tutoring and revision sessions with highly experienced tutors from our global network of teaching partners. You can choose the session which best suits your needs, such as time of day, duration and structure.

    Your career

    Employers around the world actively seek out our graduates because they are work-ready. All our degrees are career-focused and relevant to the needs of industry. Around 95% of our students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating.

    Online events

    We host online events throughout the year, giving you the opportunity to speak to our academic teaching staff, meet students, find out what it is like to study using our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and discover how to enrol.

    Lifelong connections

    Upon completing your studies you will automatically join the UK’s oldest alumni association The Watt Club, with 147k members worldwide.

    Study options Malaysia - MBA Master of Business Administration

    Our MBA Master of Business Administration is also available to study at our Malaysia campus.

    Study options Dubai - MBA Master of Business Administration

    Our MBA Master of Business Administration is also available to study at our Dubai campus.

    Get degree news and updates

    Subscribe now

    Related programmes