The University of Southampton
Southampton Business SchoolPostgraduate study

MSc Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility (1 year)

By developing your leadership skills and giving you an in-depth understanding of corporate social responsibility issues, this pioneering MSc will enable you to drive organisational change and help businesses to address some of today’s biggest social and environmental challenges.

Introducing your degree

With businesses under increasing pressure to demonstrate their sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) credentials, demand for leaders who can drive CSR initiatives forward continues to grow. The MSc in Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility offers a distinctive blend of subjects that will equip you to meet this demand. Through a range of modules, taught using innovative, experiential methods, you’ll gain an in-depth knowledge of CSR-related issues and develop your managerial and leadership skills – a combination that will make you highly employable in this expanding field. The course is taught by academics whose research expertise and professional networks will enrich your learning.

Leadership and Corporate Responsibility


Today’s organisations operate in a context of climate change, natural resource depletion and growing consumer pressure to adopt practices that benefit society and the environment. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is therefore rapidly moving up the agenda for businesses, governments and NGOs. In turn, there is growing demand for leaders who can help organisations identify and achieve their CSR aims.

Unlike most other CSR-focused masters degrees, the MSc in Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility combines a thorough grounding in current CSR issues with practical training in management and leadership that will enable you to drive organisational change. You’ll be equipped to enter a forward-looking and cutting-edge area of business in which career opportunities are expanding and in which you can make a real difference.

View the programme specification document for this course.

Programme Structure

This is a one-year masters degree. During the year you’ll take a mix of compulsory and optional modules and complete a dissertation.

The compulsory modules will give you a thorough grounding in the key concepts, practices and debates relating to leadership, sustainability and CSR. For example, you’ll examine the potential to address environmental concerns or social inequality through innovation, gain an understanding of organisational change, and learn about CSR in a global context. There is a particular emphasis on the practical aspects of leading organisations towards more sustainable and responsible practices.

A choice of optional modules allows you to study a related specialism such as social enterprise, accounting and society, or corporate risk management processes. You can continue to follow your interests through your dissertation topic.

The course includes a range of innovative modules that allow you to develop practical and interpersonal skills while applying key concepts and techniques. For example:

  • Unlike many leadership courses at this level, The Psychology of Leadership module takes an experiential rather than theoretical approach, drawing on your personal experiences, encouraging you to reflect on your own leadership style and teaching cognitive techniques that will enable you to increase the scope of your leadership behaviours.
  • Organisational Effectiveness 1 includes a residential weekend run by trained facilitators. During the weekend you’ll undertake a series of team tasks designed to develop ‘soft’ skills such as leadership, teamwork, motivation and negotiation, as well as practical skills such as planning and time management.
  • Organisational Effectiveness 2 includes a two-day simulation exercise that replicates a fast-moving business environment. You’ll apply your knowledge of strategy, financial analysis and other business concepts while managing a team.
  • There will be an opportunity for high-performing students to work within an organisation on a practical research-based project as part of their dissertation, gaining valuable work experience. This might involve producing a CSR report for the company or assessing it against international CSR standards.

Research and business links

You’ll learn from active researchers with strong professional links. For example:

  • Programme leader Dr Denise Baden conducts cutting-edge projects in partnership with business on topics including ethical issues in the media, understanding the response of small business owners to CSR issues and embedding sustainability in the hairdressing sector. 
  • Dr Alasdair Marshall, module leader for Corporate Risk Management, uses his research into aspects of risk to advise financial agencies and risk management agencies.

 The expertise and experience of our academics enables them to bring your studies to life through real-world examples and the latest research findings.

Key Facts

A distinctive combination of leadership and CSR modules sets this MSc apart from other CSR masters degrees.

Over 90% of the world’s largest companies now report on CSR activity – it is an exciting and forward-looking field with expanding career opportunities.

Experiential learning modules will help you to develop practical and interpersonal skills.

Students will have the opportunity to apply to do a business placement as part of their dissertation.

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. DEFAULT

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

The number of roles in CSR and sustainability is growing, and candidates with expertise in CSR and leadership are increasingly sought after by businesses in a range of industries as well as local and national government bodies and the not-for-profit sector. 

When you graduate you’ll be ready to take on roles such as head of sustainability, sustainability consultant, CSR manager or community engagement manager.

Learning & Assessment

Study locations

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