Business Administration (BSc)


Gain a respected BSc Business Administration degree by distance learning

This degree is for you if you want to: 

  • gain a systematic understanding of management-related problems, and conceptual tools for analyzing and evaluating management issues.
  • develop an understanding of the discipline of management with an emphasis on the historical, political, cultural and institutional forces shaping modern business
  • engage with case material in a stimulating learning environment
  • gain the skills and competencies necessary for the development of your creative and decision-making capabilities.
Key dates  
Application deadline 1 October
Registration deadline 30 November
Start studying Study materials are usually available from mid-August
Examinations take place May

Programme structure

The degree consists of 12 courses. You can choose from one of four study routes: a general pathway and three specialist pathways in Human Resource Management, International Business, and Marketing.

Prestige and career progression

Royal Holloway, University of London, provides academic direction for this programme. Royal Holloway ranked 13th overall in the UK in the 2010-11 Times Higher Education World University Rankings published in September 2010. The degree covers the major areas of business administration: accounting, finance, human resources, marketing, information systems and international business. It will prepare you for a career in business and management, as well as to more advanced academic study.

Excellent support

Comprehensive study support is offered providing you with paper-based and/or online materials. Via the online learning environment you communicate with tutors and fellow students, take part in online seminars and, for some courses, undertake team tasks. Support for your studies is available from independent teaching institutions in India, Malta, Nigeria, Pakistan, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Arab Emirates.

Flexible study at reasonable cost

The total cost of the BSc in Business Administration in terms of fees payable to the University is £4,652. This figure, calculated using the 2014-15 fees, does not reflect any annual fee increase and assumes completion in the three year minimum study period. We estimate that to complete in the minimum study period you should be prepared to devote 25 hours per week during the academic year.


The degree consists of 12 courses. You can choose from one of four study routes: a general pathway and three specialist pathways in Human Resource Management, International Business, or Marketing.

BSc Business Administration

Foundation level

Two compulsory full courses
Management and the modern corporation

This course serves as an introduction to Management. In order to gain an appreciation of the subject and its dimensions, students are introduced to a broad range of topics. There are three major objectives: to explore the practice of management in today’s context; to examine the logic and workings of organisations and firms; and, finally, to investigate how firms develop and maintain competitive advantage within a changing business environment influenced by economic, political, social, and cultural factors.

Accounting for management

The course offers a foundation in financial and managerial accounting. It will explain the accounting function, and the means of communicating information to decision makers, both within and outside the organisation. In doing so it examines the relationship between theory and practice and considers the methods of using accounting information for decision-making purposes.

Foundation level

Plus four compulsory half courses
Business analysis and decision making

An understanding of key economic concepts is essential for those who manage business enterprise. This course analyses the real-life problems facing actual businesses, and evaluates the effectiveness and limitations of different management attempts to solve them.

Business statistics

Statistics is the craft of extracting information from the numerical data. Examples are taken from business situations – numbers appear in all aspects of business. The emphasis is on understanding the principles and on assessing the results of the statistical calculations which in most cases are carried out using a computer package.



Business study skills and methods

The course offers a foundation in the study skills required to excel on a university degree course. It explains the aspects of on-line tutorials, note taking and essay writing you will need to master in order to complete the programme. Additionally the course will introduce you to the various research methods used by business academics, guide you in managing your time more effectively and aid you in your revision of topics covered.

Management and communication skills

This course is concerned will the theory and practice of effective communication within organisations. The main purpose is to improve the communication of potential managers through a variety of practical activities. Tutorial sessions are devoted to such issues as report writing, meetings, interviewing, negotiating and making a presentation, and the development of leadership, team and interpersonal skills.

Advanced level

One compulsory full course
Strategic management

Strategic management is concerned with the processes by which management plans and co-ordinates the use of business resources with the general objective of securing or maintaining competitive advantage. This course provides the student with a general insight into the historical development of management practices and international business policy. In particular this course reviews the developments and literature on corporate strategy and critically reviews the possibilities and limitations of management action in highly contested international markets.

Advanced level

Plus three full courses from
Marketing management

This course takes account of recent developments in the area of marketing and emphasises the importance of the marketing orientation in the present competitive environment. The relationships between marketing and business development and strategy will be stressed. Becoming familiar with the ways in which a marketing plan should be approached is an important objective of the course.

Human resource management

This course is concerned with the policies and procedures which affect the recruitment, development and deployment of the human resources of firms. The course will address the significant changes which have taken place in this area of management in response to economic and political pressure and will consider policies and practices in other countries.

Production and operations management

Production and operations management is concerned with the design, planning and control of operating systems for the provision of goods and services. This course provides students with knowledge and understanding of the nature and characteristics of operating systems in both the manufacturing and service sectors. This will enable students to identify the key issues involved in the management of operating systems and the relationship between strategic objectives and operational objectives. The course also highlights the interaction between operations management and the finance, marketing and manpower functions.

Management information systems

This course is concerned with one of the most rapidly developing fields of management. The management and development of information systems has emerged as one of the most important functional specialisms in the modern business world. This course introduces students to strategic issues in information systems; the techniques, tools and methodologies of the analysis and design process; and the broad field of information resource management.

Management accounting

The course regards managerial accounting as part of the overall information and decision support system of the organisation. It adopts the view that managers, in their decision making, must understand when managerial accounting information is needed, what techniques are available to provide that information and which benefits will accrue. It views managerial accounting as a context for dialogue among the functional areas of business accounting, marketing and operations.

Specialist level

One compulsory full course
Modern business in comparative perspective

Through the explicit use of comparative techniques, this course explores the origins of national economic success and failure. It looks, therefore, at the competitiveness and organizational capabilities of each comparator country’s companies and asks which national factors encourage commercial success. Particular attention is paid to the G7 countries and East Asia. The meaning and impact of economic growth and the global economy are key themes, as is the influence of governments and national cultures on business performance studies.

Prerequisite: a pass in 'Strategic management'.

Specialist level

Plus the equivalent of three full courses from
Advertising and promotion in brand marketing (full course)

This course gives students a critical understanding of the marketing media industry and its structure. The course articulates the changing nature of the relationship the media industry has with its clients in profit and non-profit sector(s). The Marketing Industry and Modern Society will allow students to analyse the strategic motivations of profit and non-profit organisations and how marketing media support these strategic objectives. The course aids students in analysing, explaining and communicating effectively how the connections between the various actors in the industry can be used to understand the variable and changing relationship between marketing media, client relations and the products and services provided to consumers and households.

Prerequisite: a pass in 'Strategic management'.



International human resource management

This course introduces students to the key concepts and policies underlying international human resource management (HRM) in organisations. With the growth of ‘knowledge work’ and what some see as a ‘knowledge economy’, human resources have increased in importance for the firm, and therefore appropriate strategies for managing these resources have become critical to competition between companies.As firms internationalise and integrate their production and services across national borders, they find that they need to coordinate workforces that are accustomed to contrasting management styles, and with skills and competences that have been differently constructed.

The course examines knowledge work and more mobility within labour markets as firms internationalise and globalise their operations. This course will also examine the impact of labour markets and other factors on the changing nature of human resource management over recent years, focussing on the core HR issues that firms have to deal with in a globalising economy. Furthermore, the course explores HRM in multinational corporations and discusses the issue of ‘transfer’ of HRM practices from one country setting to another.

Prerequisite: a pass in 'Human resource management'.

Accounting for strategy (full course)

This course provides students with a critical understanding of the variable relation between product markets, internal organisation cost structures and capital market expectations and their impact on strategy formulation. Students will be able to deconstruct the return on capital employed and gain an appreciation of how accounting numbers reflect complex market, organisational and institutional relations. The course also seeks to demonstrate that the outcomes of strategy, whilst shaped by accounting calculation, are often subject to vagaries that limit management control. After following this course students will be able to apply interpretive and analytical skills to explain the performance of companies and will be able to employ analysis and numbers to construct well-argued presentations and reports.

Prerequisites: passes in 'Accounting for management' and 'Strategic management'.



Innovation management (full course)

This course utilises a multidisciplinary approach and draws on insights from three main subject areas: economics, production operations and strategic management. The student will consider the environmental context of technological change. Students analyse the development, introduction and exploitation of new products and processes at the firm level and consider mechanisms for the management of change. Students will improve cognitive skills and consider the need for effective problem solving, effective communication, numerical and quantitative skills. Students learn effective use of CIT, effective self-management, learning to learn, and self-awareness and research skills.

Prerequisite: a pass in 'Strategic management'.



Marketing research (half course)

Marketing research provides students with the concepts and analytical skills to critically evaluate differing research approaches in the context of academic or practitioner research scenarios. Topics include the role and evolution of research in marketing management theory; the marketing research process; research design; qualitative and quantitative data gathering approaches; issues in data analysis; and ‘new model’ cultural marketing research.

Prerequisite: a pass in 'Marketing management'.

Consumer behaviour (half course)

This course introduces students to the increasingly important area of consumer behaviour. It deals with the decision making process that results in the choice and the purchase of goods and services and therefore has a large influence on the strategy of firms and on the economy and the culture of countries. The course builds naturally on the second year elective in marketing management and will complement the study of core courses.

Prerequisite: a pass in 'Marketing management'.



Managing organisational change (half course)

Managing organisational change is one of the core challenges facing modern managers. This course develops conceptual and theoretical frameworks for understanding the process of organisational change. Students evaluate, critically, research in and theories of organisational change and change management with a view to exploring and evaluating different theories and practices of managing the change process. Students develop diagnostic and analytical skills with which to explain complex organisational situations.

Prerequisite: a pass in 'Strategic management'.

The individual at work (half course)

This course develops conceptual and theoretical frameworks for understanding the behaviour of individuals and groups within work organisations. We explore and critically evaluate research in and theories of individual and group behaviour at work, to develop diagnostic and analytical skills for dealing with various kinds of individual and group problems within the work setting, and present a reflective understanding of this body of knowledge in written and spoken forms.

Prerequisite: a pass in 'Strategic management'.



European business (half course)

This course examines the management and organisation of business enterprise in Europe. It is concerned with the competitiveness, and with the contextual elements which enhance European competitiveness and those which might impede it. Its primary focus is the European Union (EU), but consideration is also given to the EU’s relationships with other nations, and in particular the emergent market economies of Eastern Europe.

Prerequisite: a pass in 'Strategic management'.



Multinational enterprise (half course)

According to United Nations figures, international investments by multinational enterprises (MNEs) have now displaced trade as the most important mechanism for global economic integration. This course provides an overview of the development and contemporary vicissitudes of these key players on the international economic stage: their geographical dispersal, organisation, management and relations with governments and inter-governmental agencies.

Prerequisite: a pass in 'Strategic management'.



International finance and accounting (half course)

This course develops the student’s understanding of the key issues that arise in international accounting. It develops an ability to understand and evaluate the basis on which a set of financial statements for a multinational enterprise is prepared. Students following this course will also develop analytical skills for situations of complex financial reporting. The course will improve cognitive skills, effective problem solving, effective communication, and numerical and quantitative skills. Students will be able to detail and evaluate the moves to harmonise financial reporting across the world, with particular reference to the IASB and the EU. Evaluate the issues that arise with the application of particular IAS e.g. group accounting and segmental reporting within an international context.

Prerequisite: a pass in 'Management accounting'.

Japanese business in Europe (half course)

Students following this course will be able to evaluate the factors that led to the internationalization of Japanese businesses and their objectives in the European economy. The course will also enhance understanding of a number of industries, their product markets, and competitive characteristics in Europe. Students will compare the operations of numerous Japanese multinationals and their competitors in Europe, and describe the development of a number of key Japanese businesses in Europe. They will also critically evaluate the relevant literature and case study evidence and gain the skills to discover information on multinational business in Europe.

Prerequisite: a pass in 'Strategic management'.


Study materials

How you study

The BSc Business Administration is offered through distance and flexible learning.

The study materials are produced by academics who are not only experts in their specialist field, but also committed to meeting the specific needs of International Programmes students.

The programme is designed specifically for self-study, although in some countries, you can also choose to pay for additional educational support at a local teaching institution to benefit from face-to-face tutorial support.

Study resources

When you first register we will provide you with:

  • access to the virtual learning environment (VLE) 
  • comprehensive paper-based study guides
  • core textbooks - we will send you the most recent editions
  • a Resource Kit CD-ROM that contains comprehensive instructions and guidelines to help you use the study material
  • a Student Guide to the International Programmes and Programme handbook
  • past examination papers and Examiners' reports
  • regulations.
Through the VLE you will be able to:
  • access your course materials take part in discussions with your tutor and other students
  • complete automated self-test exercises and submit assignments receive notices, seminar dates, project support and other programme-related information
  • ask questions regarding the administration of the programme.

We will also provide you with a student registration card.

Academic and online support

Although the programme is designed specifically for selfstudy, we provide individual guidance in many areas:

Tutor-marked assignments  

These assignments are completed on a voluntary basis. Although they do not contribute to formal assessment, they provide an excellent opportunity for you to obtain tutorial feedback on your understanding and interpretation of the subject matter.

Seminars and discussion

The following learning-related activity takes place on the VLE:

Online seminars

These are regular, formal discussions that are moderated by your tutor. Again, participation in the online seminars is not
compulsory, although we strongly recommend that you do take part. In addition to testing your knowledge, they may also help you to prepare for an assignment or exam question.

Online discussion forums

These are academic, topicrelated discussions, monitored by a member of Royal Holloway’s staff to ensure that the correct protocols are being observed. The discussion forums are especially useful for exploring complex ideas with your peers. 

Student café

This is an area within the WWLC where you can socialise with your peers. It is important for you to build friendships with your fellow distance learners. Using this area will help you to feel less isolated as you will be able to discuss any challenges you  may be experiencing. Your fellow students might be able to provide useful advice.

University of London Online Library
Our extensive Online Library offers access to a range of learning and information resources, including ‘Business
Source Premier’ and ‘Academic Search Premier’.

Sample study materials

Below are examples of examination questions, Examiners' reports and the first chapter of the study guide for the six foundation courses, all available in PDF format:

Management and the modern corporation [BA1010]

Accounting for management [BA1020]

Business analysis and decision making [BA1030]

Business statistics [BA1040]

Business study skills and methods [BA1050]

Management and communication skills [BA1060]



The fees below relate to the 2014-2015 session and are subject to annual review.

BSc Business Administration 2014-2015
Application handling fee£ 76
Initial registration fee£ 1,108
Examination fee per course £ 224
Examination fee per half course £ 112
Continuing registration fee£ 390
Total BSc degree£ 4,652
ConvertGBP x 1

Disclaimer: the currency conversion tool is provided to you for convenience only and does not constitute an endorsement or approval by the University of London; the exchange rates are provided dynamically via a third-party source, consequently, the University of London International Programmes is not responsible for their accuracy.

The total provided above is an example of the total amount of fees payable to the University for the whole programme of study. This example use the current fees, does not reflect any annual change to fees and assumes completion in the minimum time permitted. 

When to pay

The application handling fee is payable when you make your application. The closing date for applications is 1 October. If you meet the entrance requirements you will be invited to register.

The initial registration fee is payable when you register with the University. The closing date for registrations is 30 November.

The examination fee is payable when you choose to enter an examination. Examinations take place in May or June each year and examination entries are accepted between 30 November and the examination entry closing date, 1 February.

The continuing registration fee is payable in the second and subsequent years of registration at the time when you confirm the courses that you will be registered for during that year. The continuing registration fee is effective between 1 March and 1 November.

How to pay

All University fees must be paid in pounds sterling (GBP). The University accepts:

  • Western Union - Quick Pay.
  • Credit/debit card (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Electron, JCB).
  • Sterling banker's draft/cheque.
  • International money/postal order.

Further details are given in payment methods.

Other costs

In addition to the fees payable to the University, you should also budget for:

  • textbooks (this may well be in the region of £300 per year if you are taking four units in one year)
  • tuition costs (if studying at a teaching institution)
  • the fee charged by your local examination centre to cover its costs; this fee will vary.


Fees are subject to annual review and the University reserves the right to amend previously announced fees, if necessary. For a full list fees that may be applicable, please see the fee schedule.





Each full course is formally assessed by one three-hour  written examination, and each half course by one two-hour written examination. These examinations are held once a year, usually in May. 

You do not have to come to London to take your examinations as we have examination centres around the world, as well as in London. Examinations are arranged mainly through Ministries of Education or the British Council. In addition to the examination fee that you pay the University to enter examinations, your local examination centre will also charge you a fee to cover its costs. This fee will vary from centre to centre. For further information please see the Assessment and Examinations of our website.

As well as the formal assessment outlined above, you are strongly encouraged to submit assignments to be marked by tutors. These Tutor Marked Assignments, or TMAs, give you the chance to complete assignments for informal assessment. The assignments are completed on a voluntary basis and do not contribute to your final mark, but do provide an excellent opportunity to obtain tutorial feedback on your understanding and interpretation of the subject matter.



Academic Requirements

To be eligible for the BSc in Business Administration you must normally* be aged 17 or above by the 30 November in the year of registration and satisfy the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

*Applications will be considered from applicants who do not meet the normal minimum age requirement for admission. Each application will be considered on an individual basis, and the decision taken at the discretion of the University of London.

If you are not automatically eligible then you will be individually considered by the University of London’s Special Admissions Panel. The Special Admissions Panel will consider qualifications which are not published under the Qualifications for Entrance Schedule, incomplete qualifications (e.g. diplomas / degrees) and substantial relevant work experience. If we cannot accept you with your current qualifications and experience, we will advise you what qualifications you could take in order to become eligible in the future.

English language requirement

The language of instruction, reading and assessment is English. To succeed on our programmes you need a good level of competence in English. If you doubt your ability in written or spoken English we advise you take a course and test in English language before enrolling on the programme.

Required standard of English

You will usually meet the English language requirement for undergraduate programmes if you:

  • hold a UK GCSE / GCE O level in English at grade C or above
  • have five years secondary schooling taught solely in English or have passed GCE A levels or IB in essay-based subjects
  • have passed an International Foundation programme that permits entry onto a recognised UK bachelor degree
  • hold a full Postgraduate award, or a full first degree or Associate degree taught and examined in English from an institute that is acceptable to the University
  • have passed, within the past three years, an Associate degree, Diploma or Higher Diploma awarded by an acceptable institute / polytechnic / university in Hong Kong, Malaysia or Singapore, or
  • have passed, within the past three years, a test of proficiency in English language from an organisation acceptable to the University.

Where an applicant does not meet the required English language level but believes they can demonstrate the required level for admission the University may, at its discretion, consider the application.

Please note if an applicant satisfies one of the above conditions yet provides evidence of a test of proficiency in English language, awarded within the past three years, which is below the University’s minimum requirements then they will be required to retake such a test before being offered admission.

Accreditation of prior learning

If you have studied a syllabus as part of a previous qualification which is comparable in level, content and standard, you might not have to take a particular course as part of your University of London International Programmes degree if we believe that the subject has been covered to the same breadth and depth. This is called Accreditation of prior learning or APL. It is also sometimes known as Credit Transfer or Exemption.

APL may be awarded for up to four full courses at Level 1 of the degree. For more information about APL please see the APL section of the website.

Computer Requirements

All students must have regular access to a computer and the internet. This may be for accessing the Student Portal, downloading course materials from the virtual learning environment or accessing resources from the Online Library. You will also need suitable hardware capacity on your computer for document storage as well as basic software such as a PDF reader.

We recommend that you use the latest version of Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome and that your screen resolution is 1024 x 768 or greater. JavaScript and cookies must be enabled to access particular online services such as the Student Portal.

Some programmes have courses or modules that use additional software. Where this is the case, information is given with the relevant course descriptions.


Royal Holloway

Royal Holloway is ranked among the top, research-led universities in the UK. It is an innovative and forward-looking institution, acknowledged worldwide for cutting-edge research and excellent teaching. Originally founded in 1886, Royal Holloway is today the third largest multidisciplinary College of the University of London.

The School of Management

The School of Management was founded in 1990 and has grown quickly to become Royal Holloway’s largest department. The School has 85 academic staff researching and teaching in a broad range of management subjects within international and national contexts.

Since 2005 the School has been accredited (and successfully reaccredited in 2010) by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) which is an indication and of its high standards in teaching, curriculum design and student interaction.

Academic leaders

Dr Sameer Hosany

From the Programme Director

Successful managers have to think critically and creatively in a constantly changing business environment. To be ready for these challenges, you will require an intellectual understanding that will help you analyse and make a decisive contribution to solving these issues. The BSc Business Administration degree helps give you these perspectives.

Studying for the BSc Business Administration degree is a rewarding and demanding experience. We will support you throughout your studies with seminars and tutor-marked assignments. Our study options give you the chance to study where you want and when you want. We give you a variety of study materials including case studies with online and hard copy options and an online environment that allows you to work and learn from fellow students across the world.

Please take the time to read our prospectus and to get in touch with any questions that you have. We wish you well in your future studies with us and look forward to welcoming you to the programme and eventually to the graduation ceremony which is held in London every year.

Apply online

Inspiration Session - BSc Business Administration

Dr Bill Ryan, provides this inspiration session for the BSc Business Administration. He discusses whether we need a different model of company governance to reduce future global financial volatility

Alumni Inspiration: BSc Business Administration with International Business

Danielle Phillip; BSc Business Administration with International Business graduate - Trinidad, speaks about why she chose this course and how it has helped her professionally.