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MSc Strategic Quality Management

Course Description

Why take this course?

This course is suitable for graduates wishing to build a professional career in Quality and Business Improvement, as well as experienced professionals who want to develop knowledge, understanding and business management and skills in Quality and Business Improvement. It will lead to an advanced qualification that will support your practical industry knowledge and experience.

Our MSc Strategic Quality Management has been adopted by Hewlett Packard (HP) since 2010 to build on its Lean Sigma Black Belt training for specially selected staff. It provides an academic dimension which encourages strategic thinking and critical awareness leading to more effective and sustainable improvement solutions. HP has reported significant benefits and major financial returns. This annual arrangement has also benefited the University with current practice within the technology sector feeding into the course.

What will I experience?

You will be introduced to a broad range of current theory and best practices covering operational, functional and strategic quality management. Critical thinking and self-directed study are important aspects of working at postgraduate level and the programme includes practical ways to deepen existing skills, which can be applied in both academic and business settings.

The course provides you with a deep understanding of quality and its role in the organisation together with techniques to enable you to make a significant contribution to an organisation’s strategic vision for success. It will also help you in the effective implementation of policies to achieve customer focus and continuous improvement. You will be working with academically qualified and enthusiastic staff with research and consultancy experience and links with industry.

What opportunities might it lead to?

The course provides you with quality, organisational and people management skills, and techniques to enable you to make a significant contribution to an organisation’s strategic visions for success. It will also enable you to make an effective contribution to the implementation of policies in order to achieve customer focus and continuous improvement.

Our graduates are in employment in quality management roles, operations management, training and development, and auditing and business process improvement.

Portsmouth Business School is a member of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM),) and the British Quality Foundation (BQF). On completion of the course, students are able to use their MSc qualification as part of their portfolio of evidence to apply for individual membership of the Chartered Quality Institute (CQI).

Module Details

The course is very flexible. You can either study full-time or part-time in Portsmouth in a classroom environment.

This well-established course comprises four units followed by a dissertation:

Business Transformation through Quality Management introduces you to the fundamental concepts of Total Quality Management and Organisational Behaviour, focusing on the application of these concepts in the organisation. It includes driving a culture of continuous improvement and managing change.

Quantitative and Research Methods evaluates concepts of quantitative methods and the application of specialist statistics to aid decision-making within organisations. It also covers the theory and application of research methodologies to support organisational improvement activities. These skills are further developed in the dissertation.

Business Operations – the Quality Management Perspective will give you knowledge of business systems for quality planning, quality standards and the benefits accruing from integrated management systems and their application in the workplace to generate organisational efficiencies. It shows you how tools such as SERVQUAL, FMEA, QFD and Benchmarking can help evaluate how an organisation is performing against their strategic vision and goals.

Strategic Organisational Excellence looks at the links between concepts of excellence (as used by EFQM and other excellence models) and their use in the strategic management of an organisation. It explores issues raised by variations in culture and sector, both within the organisation and in its relationships with its stakeholders. It will also introduce you to Corporate Social Responsibility and Quality in the Supply Chain.

The Dissertation provides the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to identify, design, plan and undertake research and effectively communicate your findings in an individual research project. Your dissertation will focus on a specific quality management issue of your choice, which may relate to a work situation. You will receive one to one supervision during the dissertation.

Programme Assessment

The course uses a range of teaching methods including formal lectures, tutorials, in-class exercises and work based assignments. Classes are also interactive with the use of case studies and invited speakers. The University’s virtual learning environment (VLE) further supports student study by hosting a range of activities and resources online. There will be staff-led online tutorials with other students for distance learning. We encourage and develop critical thinking and self-directed study, with academic support from University Tutors.

Performance in all units is assessed by means of coursework. The assessment comprises a mixture of individual and group work assessments, case study analyses and reports, essays and presentations. Individual and generic feedback is provided for all assessments.

Student Destinations

The aim of this course is to enable you to improve performance at a professional and organisational level. In turn, this should boost your own career prospects by helping you to take the next step up the managerial ladder.

Our previous graduates have gone on to undertake a variety of roles in the Public and Private sectors including quality manager/director, quality engineer, quality adviser, quality analyst, quality consultant, quality environmental and health and safety manager, amongst others.

On successful completion of the course you are eligible to apply for Associate and Practitioner membership of the Chartered Quality Institute. You also may qualify for Chartered Quality Professional status through the qualification route, subject to satisfying the work experience criteria - at least five years' quality management or systems experience, two of which should be in a managerial or supervisory capacity (including the management of people, processes or systems).

Visit the MSc Strategic Quality Management page on the University of Portsmouth website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Phillip Down

186.jpg Phillip Down, is midway through his MSc and works for a small Hampshire firm that supplies loudspeakers to automotive and other industries.
One of the best things about studying for my Master’s is that I have learned an enormous amount, which I have been able to apply almost instantly in my workplace.
The Master’s qualification will help me in my career long-term but the benefits are also immediate. The subject is about a total approach to improving the way a business operates; it is about a taking a holistic view and making everything from the top down work better.
I am only half-way through but already I have been promoted to a management job, partly because I have shown I am capable and partly because doing a Master’s on top of your day job shows a real commitment – employers like that.
From the very first unit I found it much more focused on the real world than my Bachelor's degree. It is academically rigorous but it's also about applying what you learn to the real world and getting results. I have to read an enormous wealth of information and that generates new ideas and ways of thinking.
Quality management used to be about conformance of products to defined standards. Now it's about the whole package – everything from the way the finance department runs to understanding customers explicitly. Working for a small organisation means it's easy to discuss ideas with directors immediately. It isn't just about me gaining an education; my employer is getting a consultancy service in effect because 90 per cent of my assignments have been focused on my organisation.

(Student Profile)

Gail Grant

Gail Grant had successfully run a small light engineering company for 20 years and had a wealth of practical skills and knowledge but no academic qualifications to back it up. She returned to work as a town centre manager for Havant Borough Council and was quickly promoted but knew she could do even more; her employer recommended the University of Portsmouth as having a good reputation in Strategic Quality Management.

Gail said: 'Like many of my generation I did not have the opportunity to go to university. I left school at 16 and was busy building a small business and having a family but in the back of my mind I always wondered if I had it in me to achieve a university degree. Now I have done it I am over the moon.'

Now she has a Masters in Strategic Quality Management from the Portsmouth Business School she manages a £2.5m budget running the council’s waste and recycling services.

(Student Profile)

Mohammed Hassan Al-Shehi

Director General; Audit of Public Companies, State Audit Institution, Sultanate of Oman.

'The MSc Strategic Quality Management takes the participants - using a well structured approach - from the definition of the philosophy of Total Quality Management, the design of quality oriented management systems, tools and knowledge associated with such philosophy until the participants reach a point of realisation of the importance of the strategic orientation of management systems especially when excellence is the acquired destination using Total Quality Management and understanding the importance of continuous improvement.

The course doesn't stop at the point of collecting knowledge; rather it encourages the participant to use their knowledge to create leaders. Leaders who are able to pave the way for their organisations while striving for excellence, offer a better-structured way of doing business with vision and quality plans in-hand.'

Mohammed Hassan Al-Shehi


Portsmouth Business School Scholarship Programme (not including the MBA) - 20+ Awards

The Portsmouth Business School offers a scholarship programme for students who are commencing postgraduate study at the Business School in September 2009. This comprises a limited number of awards to self-funding Home and European Union students. The scholarship will be in the form of a 40% discount from any tuition fees due after any other discounts such as the 20% discount for Portsmouth alumni or partial payments by sponsors.There is a separate scholarship scheme which covers our part time Executive MBA programme and our full time International MBA programme. See separate listing for details.

Value of Scholarship(s)

40% discount off the tuition fees due


Awards will be made on a competitive basis, taking into consideration:• If applicable, management/professional experience (type and seniority),
• Academic achievement (minimum is a 2.1 degree)
A written submission of a maximum of 1000 words, in addition to the personal statement submitted with the application, detailing why you should be considered for a scholarship award, what you intend to contribute to your course, and how you will use your degree in your future career. Please use the web link below for details.

Application Procedure

Application form available via web link below

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A second-class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Working professionals without an honours degree who have substantial relevant experience and the academic potential to achieve the award will also be considered. Applicants to the part-time course are subject to interview.English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

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