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MSc Strategic People Management

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Institution code: 

Full-time: One year
Full-time [with extended practice]: Two years
Part-time: Two years

This course is now closed to international applications for January 2023.

The next intake for this course will be September 2023.

Typical Offer: 

Qualifications and management experience will be considered on an individual basis.

Please see Entry Requirements below.


By joining our MSc Strategic People Management programme, you are joining one of the most popular, and highly regarded, CIPD accredited programme in the East of England. You can be sure that you are joining a programme with a focus on individual student support opportunities, as well as high quality teaching. Our student pass rates consistently exceed national averages for this programme, and we are committed to equality and the fair treatment of all students. We will focus on developing you into a ‘career ready graduate’ at your relevant level of experience through applied practice, problem-based learning and research-informed teaching. 

Students can choose one of three study options on this programme: 

  • Full-time (one year) 

  • Full-time with Extended Practice (two years) 

  • Part-time (two years) 

This programme provides a unique opportunity to innovatively lead contemporary changes in the provision of human resource management education in higher education institutions and offers a world-class training and education to equip learners and practitioners in gaining both the necessary theoretical and industry skill set to strategically manage, retain and develop people resources in organisations more effectively. The programme offers skilfully crafted modules that underpin learners understanding of the psychological make-up of employees (including workers), how to effectively recruit highly skilled people, motivate, retain, and develop them while keeping them satisfied enough to leverage their skills in developing sustainable competitive advantage within organisations. 

The course is delivered by a team of highly experienced professionals and academics who are mostly members and fellows of the CIPD, and you will have leading guest practitioners occasionally invited to enrich and consolidate your learning on the programme. 

The course is delivered through series of Skills Labs (two-weekend days every three months) and Blended Block (a combination of virtual and face-to-face classes) delivery formats with a minimum of six months extended placement opportunities embedded into the curriculum for students enrolling on the two-year full-time route. These varied modes of delivery offer a good combination of options for prospective students to choose from, such as the valuable opportunity to gain insightful professional practice experience across a variety of businesses based across Suffolk and the East Anglian region of the UK. 

You will have the opportunity to network with a wide variety of persons to build and grow your professional networks, from your fellow students representing a wide array of global cultures, to leading guest practitioners invited occasionally to enrich your learning as well as contacts made on attendance of local and national CIPD events, which is actively promoted on the programme. 


CIPD Approved Centre

The University of Suffolk is an approved provider of CIPD qualifications. The CIPD is the professional body for HR and people development. The not for profit organisation champions better work and working lives and has been setting the benchmark for excellence in people and organisation development for more than 100 years. It has more than 135,000 members across the world, provides thought leadership through independent research on the world of work, and offers professional training and accreditation for those working in HR and learning and development.

Further information about the University's relationship with the Charter Institute for Personnel Development (CIPD) is available in the PSRB register.

Course modules

An introduction to MSc Strategic People Management Programme – INDUCTION

This module is a one-day induction designed to introduce new students enrolled on the MSc Strategic People Management programme to essential areas of the course, including the CIPD professional standards framework and membership engagement benefits as well as explore Suffolk Business School and University of Suffolk support systems available to students throughout the duration of your course.

Academic Study Skills

This module aims at providing introductory knowledge for the application of useful academic and professional skills needed to excel at higher education (HE) level of study. The module will be essential for new students enrolled on the MSc Strategic People Management programme with little or no prior educational experience or have not engaged in any higher education learning for a long period of time.

    Understanding Business Psychology for Maximum Organisational Impact

    This module provides an informed background to understanding the various types of organisational structural models’ businesses operate with emphasis on emergent contemporary types and how innovation and evolving generational nuances is shaping organisational strategies and managerial approaches to achieve sustainable competitive advantages. It will also provide an insight into how understanding people psychology from a business perspective can lend value to how our perception about self and other people personalities can be understood to effectively manage people in alignment with set organisational strategic objectives.

      People Resourcing and Talent Management in Organisations

      This module explores the subject of strategically resourcing and managing people as talents within the organisational contexts, through the complete lifecycle of an employee or worker within the organisation from induction to employment cessation or succession planning where relevant. Exploration of the need to understand specialist labour market skills offering will also be discussed, to include how organisations can flexibly and responsively adapt to changing resourcing needs of their businesses when presented with varied situations, influenced by both internal and external factors such as issues surrounding legislation and ethicality of resourcing decision making.

        People Analytics and Financial Planning in Organisations

        This module explores how to identify and apply relevant people data analytics and financial planning techniques. It will help to gather informed insights from organisational data sets through the use of case studies and real-life organisational scenarios to understand relevant business information, make useful decisions and plan for future organisational needs. There will be a focus on specifics of applying these generated insights in managing people effectively within organisations.

          Understanding Research for Organisational Development

          The Understanding Research for Organisational Development module fulfils two important purposes. It serves to support students as they prepare to undertake their Final Project as part of the MSc qualification, and it supports the development of important knowledge and data skills for senior HR professionals.

            Leadership, Strategy and Change Management in Organisations

            This module focuses on the dimensions of people leadership by exploring various leadership models and evaluate the implication of their application to people leadership in organisations. Various leadership traits and skills will be identified and analysed to understand how these influences decision making in contemporary businesses including managing diversity and innovation in the workplace and; understand the nature, context and management of change situations effectively in organisations.

              Managing Employment Relations and Employment Law

              The module provides an in-depth exploration of the factors and complexities involved in terms of the strategic management of the employment relationship within the context of a continuously evolving environment, with a particular focus on the ever-changing employment regulatory environment. The module focuses on different perspectives of employment relations and the cooperation and conflict that varies between workplaces. In addition, learners will be encouraged to analyse and critically evaluate the role of the state, along with associated institutions and representative worker and employer bodies that shape both the employment relations and legal environment.

                Contemporary Skills for People Managers

                Contemporary people management skills are essential for effectiveness in organisations. Student will explore application of these transferable skills as integral to ensuring increased employee engagement in businesses, leading to sustained employee performance as a key predictor of improved customer relations and satisfaction in these organisations. Through insight into skills development and application via a series of practical individual and team-based activities.

                  Final Project – 3 options offered as below:
                  • Applied Dissertation a project closest to a ‘traditional’ academic dissertation in which the student considers a topical issue in strategic people management without doing so in a specific organisational context. In completing the project in this way, the student will demonstrate an understanding of how their findings might be applied in practice.
                  • Change Management Consultancy Project – many students will wish to base their work on a topic, issue or question from within their own organisation. This option permits them to do so, framing the study around assessing the options for change, evaluating an existing change project or evaluating the potential for a future initiative.
                  • Extended Placement Project – for those students undertaking the Extended Placement this option offers the opportunity to consider a topic, issue or question from within the organisation that they complete their placement. This option will be particularly useful for those that a not employed in a people management position whilst studying and who wish to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the extended placement

                  Career opportunities

                  Our MSc Strategic People Management programme is accredited by the CIPD with all modules undertaken mapped to the current professional standards qualifying students for full membership of the institute on completion of their course. On completion of the MSc Strategic People Management programme, through our co-designed, co-delivered and co-accredited strategy, students will have a solid base to progress in their career either as a graduate entrant into the profession, to change careers or as they develop the relevant experience and competence, progress into senior people management roles.

                  In addition, on course completion, all graduates are certified as professional associate members of the CIPD and with relevant professional experience eligible to apply for chartered membership status. Testimonials from our graduates shows many of them have gone on to excel in their organisations and beyond, moving to more senior strategic roles as well as others establishing their own people management consultancies. One example includes a student moving from an HR Advisor role in a government borough council to becoming an HR consultant in one of the fastest growing people management consultancy businesses in the East Anglia region of England. Another student went on to take up an area HR manager role in one of the largest building solutions providers in the United States and a subsidiary of the leading building materials business in the world.

                  Fees and finance


                  • UK full-time tuition fee: £9,495 p.a.
                  • UK part-time tuition fee: £1,055 per 20 credits (please contact the Student Centre for further information).
                  • International full-time tuition fee: £14,607 p.a.

                  Further Information

                  At the University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with your course that you will need to budget for.

                  Entry requirements


                  Senior Lecturer

                  Lecturer in Employment Law

                  Facilities and Resources

                  Learning Platform and Delivery Site
                  Programme delivery follows a blended approach via Brightspace sessions, University of Suffolk Online learning environment platform, and face to face on-campus sessions. On-campus face to face sessions will take place at our Suffolk Business School Atrium building and state of the art Waterfront building at the Ipswich campus on the Ipswich waterfront overlooking a beautiful scenery.

                  Library Building and Resources
                  The library building is also open through the academic year and offers limited opening hours during non-term times. Books, journals, annals and IT equipment are also available on loans from the university. Electronic learning resources are also accessible online.