The University of Southampton
Southampton Business SchoolPostgraduate study

MSc Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility (1 year)

The aims of this programme are to highlight some of the issues relating to business in society in the light of current global challenges, such as sustainable development, and show how business can be both part of the problem and part of the solution. It will also focus on responsible leadership as a way to drive and embed responsible business practices across the organisation.

Introducing your degree

The programme is normally completed on a full-time (12 months) basis. The full-time programme involves nine months of taught study, divided into two semesters, each followed by assessment, then three months’ work on a dissertation. In the following description, the term 'module' is taken to mean a discrete component of the programme with its own learning outcomes and assessment requirements. All modules are at masters level.

The taught component of the programme consists of modules worth 60 ECTS (30 CATS) credit points in total. 52.5 ECTS (105 CATS) are compulsory modules and 7.5 ECTS (15 CATS) are optional modules. Each 7.5 ECTS (15 CATS) and 3.75 ECTS (7.5 CATS) module comprises 24 and 12 hours of lectures or classes, respectively. The final dissertation project completes the MSc requirement of 90 ECTS (180 CATS) points overall.

The dissertation, which is undertaken on successful completion of the taught modules, is an opportunity for you to develop and execute a piece of research into a specific aspect of corporate social responsibility management, typically in a real-life management context.

Leadership and Corporate Responsibility


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a topic of growing importance; for example 95% of the 250 largest global companies now report on their CSR activities. 

The MSc Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility aims to support the growing need for ethical leadership and responsible business. The programme will provide theoretical understanding of current management and leadership debates as well as practical knowledge of management and leadership competencies, particularly in relation to CSR in organisational contexts. An exciting addition is a fun residential weekend which provides an opportunity to develop teamwork, problem solving and leadership skills. The compulsory modules will provide a foundation in leadership, CSR, ethics, sustainability and organisational change, while the optional modules allow you to enhance your knowledge and understanding in related subjects. Further specialisation can be achieved through the dissertation. Selected high-performing students will have the opportunity to work within established organisations/businesses to pursue practical or research based projects related to CSR as part of their dissertation.

View the programme specification document for this course.

Programme Structure

The MSc Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility aims to support the growing need for ethical leadership across business and non-business organisations. We face many challenges, such as climate change, poverty, social injustice, resource scarcity and environmental degradation. In the face of these challenges businesses, NGOs, governments and other organisations are under pressure to operate more sustainably. In addition, the increased transparency brought about by the rise in social media increases the importance of intangible assets such as reputation and moral capital for businesses, thus increasing the necessity for businesses to be accountable for their social and environmental impacts and demonstrate corporate social responsibility.

The compulsory modules will provide understanding of the key concepts, practices and debates relating to leadership, sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Particular emphasis is placed upon the practical aspects of how to lead organisational change and transition towards more sustainable and responsible organisations.

Programme Leader

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Bachelors degree

2:1 classification UK bachelors degree or equivalent

Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Acceptable subjects: A wide range of subjects accepted in Business, Economics, Science, Engineering, IT, Management and Marketing, Communication, Education, Political Science, and Sociology

Required module areas: No specific entry requirement

Excluded subjects: English translation, Art/Performing Art, Vocational Studies

Applicants who do not fulfil the normal qualification requirements but have at least three years of CSR/sustainability-related experience with a significant level of responsibility might be considered on an individual basis

Selection process

The University’s Admissions Policy, available at, applies equally to all programmes of study. These are the typical entry criteria to be used for selecting candidates for admission. The University’s approved equivalencies for the requirements listed will also be acceptable. The entry criteria for our programmes are reviewed annually by the Faculty. Those stated were correct as of July 2015. Applicants should refer to their specific offer conditions on their offer letter.

International applicants

If English is not your first language, you will need to demonstrate that you have reached a satisfactory standard in an approved English language test.

The following scores are accepted for direct entry:

  • IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.5 in reading and writing, 6.0 in listening and speaking

All tests must be no more than two years old at the time of enrolment.

For more information visit a list of equivalent English language tests that are also accepted.

If you do not quite meet our English language requirements for direct entry, you may be eligible to apply for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. Please visit the Centre for Language Studies website for further information.

Visit our International Office website or the NARIC website for further information on qualifications.

Recognition of prior learning (RPL)

If you have professional experience, or credit through prior learning at another institution, you may be eligible to use this experience against some of the programme requirements for period of study. You will need to present evidence that you have met the learning outcomes of the programme. Read the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning Policy.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

All Core and Compulsory modules must be taken.

You must choose Option module totalling 15 CATS/7.5 ECTS in Semester 1. All Option modules are offered subject to availability and timetabling constraints.

MANG6095 Dissertation supervision starts in Semester 2 and should be submitted in September 2017.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items (eg pens, pencils, notebooks, etc). Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However, due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
Printing and copyingIn most cases, written coursework such as essays, projects and dissertations are submitted online and by hard copy. The costs of printing a hard copy for submission of such coursework will be the responsibility of the student. The cost of photocopying will also be the responsibility of the student. For more information about University printing costs, visit
TravelSome modules may include optional visits. You will normally be expected to cover the cost of travel and admission, unless otherwise specified in the module profile.
OtherCandidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved models are Casio FX-570 and Casio FX-85GT Plus. These may be purchased from any source and no longer need to carry the University logo.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Career Opportunities

Businesses and other non-profit organizations are facing the challenge of keeping up with increasing environmental regulation in business (eg Carbon Reduction Commitment) and phenomenal growth in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). For example, the number of sustainability indices has risen from one in 1999 to nearly 50 today, and the KPMG International Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting (2013) found that 95% of the Global Fortune 250 now release corporate responsibility information, up from 50% in 2005. Issues of sustainable development are thought to be the major challenge for business and management in the 21st century, with governments and businesses all over the world setting ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions and address Millennium Development goals to enable greater environmental sustainability and social justice.

A recent survey by the HEA (2011) found that ‘employers anticipate a need to employ staff with skills for sustainability literacy in a future workplace’ (p5). There are an increasing number of posts in the CSR and sustainability sector as organisations are under pressure to address their social and environmental impacts. For example small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are under pressure from large customers to demonstrate their sustainability credentials with most SMEs reporting having to satisfy corporate/governmental customers regarding CSR issues, up from 60% in 2002 to 86% in 2008 (Baden et al., 2009). Further, the new UK social value act (Jan 2013) makes it mandatory for all publicly funded bodies to include social value as a requirement in their procurement decisions, ie they now demand that suppliers show how they create social value. Thus we expect that students with expertise in CSR and leadership will be sought after by top business and government organisations.

Learning & Assessment

Study locations

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