The University has developed an enviable reputation for delivering world-class business and management courses and for undertaking internationally recognised research. The Public Service Management MBA embraces the functional and generalist disciplines of conventional MBA courses but is distinguished by its public sector orientation. The course is designed to help public service managers reach corporate or senior managerial positions, its participants include managers from the health service, police force, prison and fire services, the civil service, the voluntary sector and local authorities.
Students are able to apply for accreditation for prior study for up to one module at the certificate and one module at the Diploma Levels.
As well as offering managers greater insight into functional and general disciplines such as managing people, finance and information, the MBA course provides you with a better understanding of the role of the public service and how it is affected by its political and economic environment. It helps you to develop a range of practical management skills and encourages you to learn from each other’s managerial experience. Contemporary key managerial and strategic issues are covered.
A degree or an equivalent qualification, together with managerial experience will usually be required. Non-graduates with appropriate qualifications and substantial relevant experience may be considered.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6 (minimum 5.5 in each skill), or TOEFL: Listening 21, Reading 22, Speaking 23, Writing 21.
This course is normally employer or self-funded.
Further information on possible sources of funding is available
Modes of study
MBA: minimum 30 months
Diploma: minimum two years
Certificate: minimum one year
Course start date
There will be no recruitment of students until September 2014.
Structure and content
You can complete either a Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma or Master’s in Public Service Management. Students study for the Postgraduate Certificate take the following modules:
- Introduction to Public Service Management: Provides students with an introduction to the main themes of public service management as well as the critical contexts surrounding the management and delivery of public services. The module covers the core functions of managers and the political context shaping the provision of services.
- Leadership and Managing People: Develops the skills required to enable managers in the public sector to lead and manage people more effectively.
- Public Service Economics and Finance: Examines the role of government, market failure and public expenditure, as well the skills and techniques required to interpret and manage financial information.
- Information and Decision-Making: Provides students with knowledge about the role of information in public services, including how it can be processed by information systems, and how it can be utilised for more effective decision-making.
Students who go on to study the Postgraduate Diploma take the following modules:
- Managing Performance and Service Quality: Provides students with an understanding of how performance and service quality are managed effectively in public services, including a critical assessment of the main methods used to measure performance and service quality.
- Strategy and Change Management: Examines the processes and techniques associated with managing strategies and change in complex public service environments.
- Managing Complexity: Explores the contemporary complex public service contexts that shape the delivery of public services, including the management of collaborative service arrangements, risk and consumer relations.
- Research Methods and Dissertation Planning: Introduces students to research methods for managers and how these methods are used in practice in public service contexts. The module covers essential qualitative and quantitative research techniques as well as issues associated with topic selection, access and data collection.
In addition to this, you will take three option modules chosen in consultation with the Course Director. Recent options include Risk Management, Managing Projects, the Management in Practice Case Study and Contemporary Issues in Public Policy and Management.
To complete the MBA you will submit a 15,000-word dissertation. This is usually a research-based investigation into a management problem or policy of direct relevance to you and to your employer.
View full module descriptions
Delivery and assessment
The course is taught on one afternoon and evening per week during semester, and considerable emphasis is placed on active and participative learning using seminars, case studies, role play simulations and workshops as well as formal lectures. Assessment is by coursework only.
To be advised on a module by module basis.
The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.
Classes are normally scheduled for one afternoon and one evening a week during semester time.
Dr William Webster
The reputation of our research staff was recognised in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), where 85 percent of our research activity was rated as being of ‘International Signiﬁcance’.
As a manager in a large organisation, I thought that an additional qualification would assist my career progression. I chose the MBA course at Stirling as it provided a comprehensive field of study with a mix of academic and practical content.
I still refer back to, and use, the techniques and knowledge gained from Stirling's MBA course. My study group was drawn from a variety of public and private sector organisations, which helped me to better understand other management perspectives and how, and why, employees and managers interact the way they do.
Les Goodfellow, Head of Environment Services, Stirling Council
The course helped me to put my efforts in the context of the public service at large - a pre requisite for modern joined-up government and the TeamScotland approach. I was able to use the assignments to demonstrate to my employers that I could think differently - to show that I had the ability to challenge the assumptions of 'business as usual' and introduce innovation/creativity into my work. This led to reassignment to the parts of SNH's business that was at the forefront of public service reform (e.g Best Value and Better Regulation).
The course led to a new role managing SNH's teams of Planning & Renewables advisors. My assignments and dissertation showed that I could apply management theories and new ideas to the practical issues that the organisation is facing.
Peter Hutchinson, Planning & Renewables Unit Manager, Scottish Natural Heritage