The MSPME Consortium

Programme of study

Semester 1: Heriot Watt University - Edinburgh, UK (September - December)
Semester 1 will start mid-September and is designed to lay the foundations for developing an in-depth understanding of the management of Strategic projects, programmes and portfolios within an overall organisational context.  During semester 1 participants will undertake the four courses. Strategic Project Management course develops a profound understanding of the concept of aligning projects with organisational strategy by organising projects within programmes and portfolios and creating effective governance structures for portfolios and programmes of projects. However, an understanding of these governance structures is not sufficient without a good understanding of the Business Models: Themes and Issues that underpin how organisations position themselves within their operating environment and how they configure their internal and external resources to create value in the markets they serve. Of course, most projects, however small, results in some form of change. The Strategic Change course builds develops an in-depth understanding of the challenges associated with strategic change and of the models, tools and techniques that may be used for managing strategic change. Finally, no project or strategic change programme can succeed without effective leadership. The Leadership course advances the participants knowledge of different leadership models and approaches and of their relevance for different contexts.

Semester 2: Heriot Watt University – Edinburgh, Dubai or Malaysia (January – May)
Semester 2 is designed to build up on the foundations developed in Semester 1 and offers participants choices both in terms of their location of study and the content of their courses. Participants can choose to continue in Edinburgh or travel to Heriot Watt University’s Dubai or Malaysia campuses where the same programme of study is available.
During this semester the participants will also undertake four courses, three of which are mandatory with one optional course from a list of options available. The Project Management course serves to develop the participant knowledge and skills in planning and managing execution of projects. As in any organisation, the management of quality is a critical consideration to for project management. The Quality Management and Engineering course will develop an in depth understanding of the methods, tools and techniques for managing quality in different organisational contexts. This will include Lean Management and Six-Sigma for Organisational Excellence techniques. The participants will also be able to choose one course from various optional courses in Logistics and Supply Chain Management as well as Systems Thinking an Analysis.
Also, a distinct feature of this programme is that it design to enhance the participants’ lifelong learning capabilities by developing their research skills through the Research Philosophy and Practice course. This course also provides the foundations to enable the participant to confidently progress to the next stage of their study that involves a group based industry project and a masters dissertation.

Industry projects: Location as appropriate (May-July)
In semester 3 the students will be expected to apply the knowledge and skills gained in their studies in practical industry based projects. Working in groups they will be engaged with one of our collaborating industry partners over a six-week period.

Semester 3: Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden (August – January)
During semester 3 the participants will undertake two courses and complete a Masters dissertations. The course on Perspectives on Management and Strategy explores the key challenges facing contemporary firms in a globalized world. The students will gain an interdisciplinary understanding of the business context and the intertwined nature of its events and processes. The final course on Strategic Project Management Decision Making will develop alternative theoretical perspectives on strategic management providing a comprehensive capstone module that ties previous learnings together in the context of strategic decision making in a projects, programme and portfolio context
During their Masters Thesis the students will undertake original research. The previous courses, together with the Research Philosophy and Practice course, provides the necessary skills to formulate a comprehensive research proposal. Topics for the thesis are usually confirmed during Semester 3, through discussions and guidance of academic staff across all institutions, where appropriate in consultation and collaboration with industrial contacts. The Masters Thesis, as well as preparing the students for employment provides the necessary grounding for those who wish to pursue PhD, indeed a number of MSPME previous graduates have published their Thesis in research journals and presented papers at conferences.