Course specification and structure
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PMCOSORE - MSc Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Course Specification


Validation status Validated
Highest award Master of Science Level Masters
Possible interim awards Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
Total credits for course 180
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Subject Area Business and Management
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 1 YEARS  
Part-time Day 2 YEARS  
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

The MSc CSR and Sustainability programme is designed to give students who may be from different disciplines and backgrounds the opportunity of developing their skills and understanding in the emerging and evolving field of Sustainability and Sustainable Development. The field of corporate social responsibility has continued to reorient our perception of how we need to conduct our operational business practices to solve several addressable social, economic, and environmental problems, and graduates from all disciplines need to understand the issues involved. The course has been designed to meet this objective. Scholars have argued that there are different perceptions to CSR. Scholars have argued that there are three elements to CSR namely economic, social, and ecological responsibilities, while others have argued that the elements are four, namely, economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities. The United Nations in its Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (2015) notes that these elements are in fact five, which are People, Planet, Prosperity, Partnership and Peace. Understanding what these theories are saying about CSR is a good foundation of embedding ethical practices about CSR in tomorrow’s CSR managers. The programme is designed to do this.

London Metropolitan University has won several awards in Sustainability over the past years for the work undertaken to reduce our carbon footprint: Highly Commended Green Gown Award for carbon reduction, Green Apple, Most Sustainable Public Sector Organisation runner up and Public Sector Sustainability Award best carbon reduction). In 2015, the University was named the number 1 University in England and Wales for carbon reduction. This generated a considerable amount of publicity and we are now seen as a sector leader in this industry. The course is designed to attract existing professionals as well as students looking to develop their skills in the expanding sustainability sector.

There are four core modules which all students will study on the course, including Fundamentals of CSR and Sustainability, Practical Sustainability and Environmental Economics. It is the objective of these modules to lay the required foundation for CSR within the course. Students will also have the opportunity of choosing one alternative core 60-credit module, and two optional modules.

Students will be directed to develop their understanding and show their ability to apply knowledge and analytical skills in various business contexts through a range of opportunities, including the use of their own experience, case studies, business scenarios, presentations and problem-based learning exercises.

Lectures and seminars are essential activities that will support the development of knowledge and understanding. These sessions will provide students with tools of analysis, outline methods for evaluation and give clear guidance on how students may best extend and apply their learning independently. The sessions are action oriented and student-centred to encourage ‘deep’ as opposed to ‘surface’ learning and give students the opportunity to apply their understanding to various business scenarios, and to test out their ideas.

An important aspect of the skills they must leave the programme with is working successfully with others to achieve a desired objective. Assessments will include group assignments, which will help students to develop their interpersonal skills and personal awareness.

Students will have the opportunity to use specialist software such as SPSS, EViews and Nvivo in order to develop their abilities at analysing and assessing real-world data. EViews is a statistical package which facilitates statistical analysis of large and varied datasets; SPSS analyses social science data which may be used for market research, surveys, and data mining; and Nvivo employs qualitative and mixed-methods research to analyse unstructured text, audio, video, and image data, such as interviews, focus groups, surveys, social media, and journal articles

All modules will include the use of the University’s virtual learning environment (Weblearn). Core materials, e.g. handbooks, presentations, reading materials etc. will be made available on Weblearn and the platform will also provide the vehicle for online collaboration and other blended learning activities.

Guest lecturers and teaching staff are renowned within the industry / discipline. A number of modules are offered in the evening to facilitate and enhance student engagement and participation. Students will have a course leader with whom they will be encouraged to discuss all relevant issues relating to their course.

Note: If there are not sufficient student numbers to make a module viable, the School reserves the right to cancel such a module. If the School cancels a module it will use its reasonable endeavours to provide a suitable alternative.

Course aims

The MSc CSR and Sustainability has been developed with the aims to deliver an academically rigorous programme, which provides students with the opportunity to study the major disciplines in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability and to relate these to professional practice, as well as to promote the use of a range of teaching, learning and assessment methods, which develop students’ intellectual abilities, self-confidence, and ability to study independently.

The course has been devised with reference to the Master’s Degree Characteristics Statement set out by the QAA (2020). The subject specific knowledge and skills, cognitive abilities and non-subject specific skills outlined in the benchmark statements are referenced in sections 11 and 16 of this document.

The course aims to:

  1. Develop awareness of issues surrounding Sustainable Development and how it should be weaved into operational practices of corporate entities.
  2. Develop a critical awareness of sustainability debates within economics and other disciplines with respect to environmental degradation brought about by business economic activities across the globe.
  3. Acquire the practical skills necessary to undertake successful auditing of the working environment.
  4. Develop awareness of the importance of the contexts of organisations, emphasising the importance of internal stakeholders to successful CSR outcomes.
  5. Develop the substantive knowledge and critical thinking skills required to engage with sustainability issues in a professional context.
  6. Develop the skill required to critically evaluate the prospects for effective environmental governance with respect to climate change and sustainability.
  7. Understand the ‘business case’ for CSR which suggests that socially and environmentally aware companies can expect to survive and prosper in a competitive business environment.
  8. Have sufficient theoretical, quantitative and statistical knowledge and understanding to be able to augment this knowledge with new developments in the field and be able to independently improve their analytical skills to a high level to be able to contribute to progress in CSR and sustainability practice.

Course learning outcomes

The course will equip students with the skills and attributes that will enable them to operate successfully in the complex and challenging area of CSR and Sustainability. It brings together University and School distinctiveness, and refers to two principal sets of QAA Benchmark Statements:

The QAA Statement for Master’s Degree Characteristics (2020)

The QAA Subject Benchmark Statement for Master's degrees in Business and Management (2015).

The University learning outcome that cuts across the entirety of the London Metropolitan University provision is:

On completion of this course, students will be able to: demonstrate confidence, resilience, ambition and creativity and will act as inclusive, collaborative and socially responsible professionals in their discipline (ULO)

Thus, upon graduating with an MSc CSR and Sustainability, students will typically:

  1. Have the confidence needed to take leadership decisions in challenging situations
  2. Possess extensive communication skills that will help them adopt a global and multicultural perspective in their professional context.
  3. Be critically cognisant of the effects of the social and environmental impact of their decisions and will remain active citizens of the places they live and work.
  4. Demonstrate application and ability to reflect on creative thinking to practical problems, and possess the analytical and organisational skills to translate creative ideas to operational solutions
  5. Have extensive knowledge and understanding of the broad range of areas of CSR and sustainability.
  6. Demonstrate conceptual understanding that enables the critical evaluation of key theories, current research and methodologies in the area of CSR and sustainability.
  7. Demonstrate originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge relating to CSR and sustainability.
  8. Continue to advance their theoretical, quantitative and statistical knowledge and understanding, and to develop analytical skills to a high level to understand CSR and sustainability practice.
  9. Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, use IT to access sources of relevant CSR and sustainability-related information, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  10. Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level.

Principle QAA benchmark statements

The MSc in International Trade and Finance degree programme conforms to the Master’s Degree Characteristics Statement set out by the QAA (2020) in their descriptors for a higher education qualification at level 7, and to the Subject Benchmark Statement for Master's degrees in Business and Management (QAA, 2015). Since this is a specialist programme concentrating on the trade and finance sectors, the benchmark statement and subsequent documents must be interpreted in the context of the trade and finance industries.

Assessment strategy

Assessment strategy

Principles

The course adopts the four assessment strategy principles of the School that are developed in the spirit of ESJ. These are:

i) The School is committed to ensuring that each student should have no more than 2 assessment points per 20 credit module.

ii) We provide balanced forms of assessment, both in terms of its overall volume and the types used.

iii) At PGT level group activities are part of the learning and teaching strategies but assessment should be at the level of the individual. Thus, assessment should focus on individual reflections and learning from participating in a group activity.

iv) Flexibility/choice in assessment methods will be introduced wherever possible (subject to PSRB requirements and QAA subject benchmarks) in order to facilitate different learning studies and support personalisation

Course Strategy

The Course applies a combination of the above assessment strategies as appropriate for each module. A range of assessment methods are used across the course, reflecting the range of learning outcomes of the modules within the course and the diversity of learning styles amongst students. The volume, timing and nature of assessment enables students to demonstrate the extent to which they have achieved the intended learning outcomes.

In each module the assessments methods chosen are those best suited to measuring the achievement of that particular module’s learning outcomes. For instance, essays and reports are used in modules where learning outcomes include the development of writing skills, referencing, synthesis and critical evaluation. Group work is used in modules where cooperative skills are being developed. Case studies are employed where students are learning how to apply financial analysis to particular scenarios or organisations. Methods of assessment include: presentations, coursework problem sets and mini-projects, in-class tests and unseen exams. The 60-credit alternative core module incorporates assessment of research, planning and organising skills.

Feedback on formative assessment will be provided on an ongoing basis throughout the course.

The University Regulations and policies will be followed in marking and moderating summative assessments.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

The University has dedicated careers teams who will assist learners with all aspects of their job search and application.

The course draws on external links with CSR and sustainability practitioners in the City and elsewhere in the UK. These links give rise to University and GSBL guest lectures, external speaker seminars and other meetings of interest to students. These events throughout the course provide opportunities for students to gain knowledge and experience from outside the University.

Students are able to take an optional single semester Business Work Placement Project (MN7W89); this module is not available along with 60-credit alternative core Work Placement module discussed below.

The one-year Work placement module (MN7W01) is one of the three 60-credit alternative core modules available on the course. It is offered as an alternative to the ‘Dissertation’ and ‘Business Consultancy Project’ with the same credits. There will be a series of work readiness and career preparation workshops / seminars to ensure students are engaging critically with their experiences.

The choice of MN7W01 alternative core module will have the effect of extending the course length by one more year. The student needs to have secured a one-year work placement within 6 months of start of teaching i.e., if their course starts in September/October the deadline for securing the placement will be 31 March of the following year; if their course starts in February/March the deadline for securing the placement will be 31 August of the same year. If students have difficulty securing a placement within the deadlines above they will switch to alternatives bearing equivalent credit without any detriment (e.g. Dissertation or Business Consultancy Project), and the length of their course will be converted from 2 years to 1 year, and the visa office informed accordingly in respect of tier 4 international students.

International students studying on a Student Visa will be required to submit weekly timesheets for the hours undertaken for the work placement. The timesheets will need to be signed by the student’s line manager to meet Visa regulations.

It is a student's responsibility to apply for opportunities and to engage with the University and/or partner organisations as required. The suitability of any opportunities will be assessed by the Module and Work-Based Learning Teams and all placement roles must meet the Health and Safety requirements for Higher Education Accredited Work Placements.

Course specific regulations

Modules are required to be taken as indicated in section 22 above. Where a student is taking no more than 90 credits in an academic year within the maximum permissible time limit, they may be designated as Part Time.

Modules required for interim awards

.Modules are required to be taken as indicated in section 22 above.

A student who has passed modules equivalent to 120 credits comprising four core and two option modules will be entitled to the award of a Postgraduate Diploma.

A student who has passed modules equivalent to 60 credits including any two core modules will be entitled to the award of a Postgraduate Certificate.

A Master’s degree shall be awarded to a student who has passed modules equivalent to 180 credits including a dissertation.

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

Students are introduced to reflective learning in an induction programme which is designed to promote active learning and development from the outset. This will include the principles of individual and team learning and development and preparation for academic study at master’s level. This, it is believed, will lead to an understanding of the students learning to work independently and in collaboration with individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Students are encouraged to reflect on their personal development throughout the course. All core and option modules require students to reflect and formative feedback on this activity is provided by the course team

The final alternative cored module requires students to undertake reflection in carrying out an independent research project, and will include a statement of personal learning achieved through undertaking the report.

Students will be encouraged to read articles in trade magazines and financial newspapers in the UK and overseas to ensure they fully understand and reflect upon how globalisation is impacting on our business environment.

Other external links providing expertise and experience

Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) (2014)

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

Students will be encouraged to attend meetings with the University’s Careers Service.

Additional activities including networking events, master classes, workshops, guest lectures and other events will also support career development and employability.

By the end of the course students will have developed knowledge and transferable skills that will enhance their employability internationally. Engagement with the alumni network and events that enable students to meet with employers will support their capacity to progress their careers.

The Careers and Employability Service is a university-wide resource made available to students which provides information about labour market opportunities and career development. The University’s Careers and Employability Service disseminates information on Employer Panel events, Recruitment events, Internships, Employability events organised by professional bodies and Career fairs; see for example https://blogs.londonmet.ac.uk/careersandemployability/

Students are also reminded that they have access to our Careers and Employability service for careers and employability related advice guidance for three years after graduation.

Career opportunities

By the end of the degree, you'll have an understanding of the complex area of CSR, allowing you to become a fully-informed sustainability professional and keep abreast of current developments to critically analyse and evaluate the issues surrounding the implications of CSR.

Entry requirements

You will be required to have:

  • a good bachelor’s degree (2.2) in any subject

Exceptionally, candidates with significant CSR experience at a senior level may be considered. Interviews are generally required for non-standard entry.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2017/18 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 31 May 2017 Last validation date 31 May 2017  
Sources of funding HE FUNDING COUNCIL FOR ENGLAND
JACS codes 100089 (management studies): 100%
Route code COSORE

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 07 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AC7070 Fundamentals of CSR and Sustainability Core 20 NORTH AUT WED PM
FE7057 Practical Sustainability Core 20 NORTH SPR WED PM
FE7060 Environmental Economics and Investment Core 20 NORTH AUT TUE EV
FE7066 Data Analysis for Global Business Core 20 NORTH SPR TUE EV
FE7P64 Dissertation Alt Core 60 NORTH AUT FRI EV
          NORTH SPR WED EV
          NORTH SUM WED EV
MC7P77 Business Consultancy Project-portfolio assessment Alt Core 60 NORTH AUT TUE PM
          NORTH AUT FRI AM
          NORTH SPR FRI AM
          NORTH SPR TUE PM
          NORTH SUM FRI AM
MN7W01 Professional Development and Work Placement Alt Core 60 NORTH SUM NA  
CA7013 Sustainability in Global Companies Option 20 NORTH AUT MON AM
          NORTH AUT TUE PM
          NORTH AUT MON PM
          NORTH AUT TUE AM
FE7052 International Corporate Finance Option 20 NORTH AUT WED EV
FE7055 Growth, Trade and Development Option 20 NORTH AUT MON EV
FE7061 International Logistics Option 20 NORTH SPR TUE PM
FE7063 Financial Regulation and Compliance Option 20 NORTH SPR THU EV
MN7000 Leading and Developing People Option 20 NORTH SPR TUE AM
          NORTH SPR TUE PM
MN7W89 Business Work Placement Project Option 20        

Stage 1 Level 07 January start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AC7070 Fundamentals of CSR and Sustainability Core 20        
FE7057 Practical Sustainability Core 20 NORTH SPR WED PM
FE7060 Environmental Economics and Investment Core 20        
FE7066 Data Analysis for Global Business Core 20 NORTH SPR TUE EV
FE7P64 Dissertation Alt Core 60 NORTH SPR WED EV
          NORTH SUM WED EV
MC7P77 Business Consultancy Project-portfolio assessment Alt Core 60 NORTH SPR FRI AM
          NORTH SUM FRI AM
          NORTH SPR TUE PM
MN7W01 Professional Development and Work Placement Alt Core 60 NORTH SUM NA  
CA7013 Sustainability in Global Companies Option 20        
FE7052 International Corporate Finance Option 20        
FE7055 Growth, Trade and Development Option 20        
FE7061 International Logistics Option 20 NORTH SPR TUE PM
FE7063 Financial Regulation and Compliance Option 20 NORTH SPR THU EV
MN7000 Leading and Developing People Option 20 NORTH SPR TUE AM
          NORTH SPR TUE PM
MN7W89 Business Work Placement Project Option 20