Programme and Project Management (Defence) MSc MSc/PgCert/PgDip


The Cranfield Executive MSc in Programme and Project Management

The Cranfield three-year part-time MSc in Programme and Project Management will help you to extend your knowledge and skills in this field, enabling you to operate at a more strategic level, and giving you the confidence and enthusiasm to challenge traditional project management thinking.

Designed for business managers, civil servants and serving military officers, this course will develop reflective professionals who look at programme and project management from a 21st century perspective. 

Graduates of our programme are able to come up with creative solutions to previously unsolved problems, and recognise that cross-functional knowledge and strategic vision are vital to success.

Course overview

The MSc in Programme and Project Management is a three-year part-time programme that begins in January each year. The first two years are built around a series of nine intensive residential modules that are delivered over a series of three-day residential periods. You will also work on a group action consultancy project, spending three days working as a team, investigating current programmes within a modern organisation. The final year will be focused on your thesis.

Group project

The group action project gives you the chance to apply the knowledge and skills you have learnt to a specific business issue. You will spend three days, working as a team, investigating current programmes within a modern organisation. You will collect data, conduct analysis and report on the findings, and you will produce recommendations how the organisation can improve its core capabilities in programme and project management.

Individual Project

The thesis is an opportunity for you to carry out rigorous research in programme and project management that is of particular interest to you and your organisation. Integrating the skills and knowledge you have acquired with new research, you can apply them to particular challenges your organisation is facing. You will work closely with a supervisor who will provide expert guidance, insights and support throughout the project, from the planning stage through to delivery.


The course is delivered in nine core modules with remote study in between, and includes a group action project and an individual thesis.


  • Business Case and Financial Management
    Module LeaderDr Arnoud Franken - Lecturer in Information Systems

    The module covers:

    • Benefits management approach to project and programme management in relation to strategic goals and portfolios.
    • Identifying the objectives, benefits and changes required, including their scope, to implement a project or change programme successfully within time and resource constraints.
    • Developing a benefits dependency network that links the technology and facility enablers through process and organisational changes to deliver the required benefits and objectives.
    • Defining a robust and comprehensive business case for achieving approval of the investment and organisational commitment to its implementation.
    • The role of reviews and governance across the project/ programme lifecycle for delivering value from change initiatives.
    • Governance principles, processes, roles and structures.
    • Approaches to stakeholder analysis that enable organisational risks to be assessed and addressed.
    • Financial analysis techniques for assessing and evaluating project and programme investments.
    Intended learning outcomes

    As a result of this module, you will be able to:

    • Understand how project and programme objectives and benefits can be aligned to organisational objectives and strategies.
    • Acquire a comprehensive set of tools and techniques that enable you to develop robust and comprehensive business cases.
    • Learn techniques for ensuring that changes needed to deliver investment benefits are built into a benefit delivery plan for the project or programme.
    • Understand how to use those techniques and tools in working with your colleagues and project stakeholders.
    • Appreciate how developing the business case is an integral aspect of project and programme implementation strategies, not merely a means of achieving funding.
    • Understand the role of governance in delivering projects successfully.
  • Foundations of Programme and Project Management
    Module LeaderDr Bill Egginton - Senior Lecturer

    The module covers:

    • Project, programme and portfolio management concepts.
    • Bodies of knowledge and methodologies (APM, PRINCE2, P2M, PMI, MSP, MoP).
    • Life cycle, principles and processes.
    • Business case and investment appraisal.
    • Scheduling.
    • Budgeting and cash flow.
    • Earned value management.
    • Project and programme organisation structures and roles.
    • Estimating and risk management.
    • Multi-cultural management.
    • Role of the project / programme support office.
    Intended learning outcomes

    As a result of this module, you will be able to:

    • Understand the basic theoretical concepts that underpin effective project management and its links to programme management.
    • Describe published bodies of knowledge and distinguish between BoKs (APM, PMI) and a method (PRINCE2).
    • Explain the life cycle approach, its principles, application and benefits.
    • Understand the relationship between business strategies, portfolios, programmes and projects.
    • Critique project management tools and techniques, and be aware of their intelligent application and limitations.
    • Assess appropriate use of a range of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills to a variety of project scenarios.
    • Recognise what is meant by appropriate governance in project and programme management and be able to define the responsibilities of key players.
  • Group Action Project
    Module LeaderDr Liz Lee-Kelley - Senior Lecturer, Programme and Project Management

    The module covers:

    • Integration of understanding from course learning.
    • Value-management model; maturity model.
    • Introduction to the research process - action research.
    Intended learning outcomes

    As a result of this module, you will be able to:

    • Review the extent of application of project and programme management concepts, models, tools and techniques covered in the course.
    • Understand their utility and limitations for different project and programme contexts.
    • Understand the implications of choosing any particular approach or methodology.
    • Appreciate collecting and analysing data and reporting research findings.
    • Work as a group analysing an independent organisational undertaking or problem.
  • Organisational Learning and Leading Transformational Change
    Module LeaderDr Neil Turner - Senior Lecturer

    The module covers:

    • The idea of the learning organisation.
    • Models of learning.
    • Forms of knowledge and the ideas of intellectual capital.
    • Learning from previous experience and data.
    • The context of change and the role of organisational culture.
    • Theories of change.
    • Leadership theories informing multiple perspectives on leading change.
    • Emotional balancing and organisation change.
    Intended learning outcomes

    As a result of this module, you will be able to:

    • Use tools and frameworks to make sense of the various forms of organisational knowledge.
    • Describe, evaluate and apply the theories that underpin various learning concepts (including single and double loop learning, exploitation and exploration, and SECI).
    • Critically assess your organisation’s ability to learn from previous projects and programmes and why this may or may not be successful.
    • Appreciate leadership theories and different perspectives on change.
    • Understand political leadership in transformational change.
    • Understand the emotions of change and the role of leading change from the middle (below executive board).
    • Manage people through transitions.
    • Utilise influencing skills for transformational change.
    • Utilise critical analysis and decision making skills whether working alone or within a group.
  • Planning, Control, and Performance Measurement
    Module LeaderDr Liz Lee-Kelley - Senior Lecturer, Programme and Project Management

    The module covers:

    • Back to basics: project planning, resource levelling, criticality and project finance.
    • Resource management in programmes: case study.
    • Quality management
    • Earned value: a critique.
    • Control: a contested construct in programmes and projects.
    • Last planner and other task-level controls.
    • Agile planning and scheduling.
    • The Critical Chain Approach: towards lean project and programme management.
    Intended learning outcomes

    As a result of the module you will be able to:

    • Demonstrate extensive knowledge of programme planning and control approaches, and their limitations.
    • Recognise the impact of behaviour under pressure and its impact on effective planning and control.
    • Demonstrate the impact of quality costs on projects and programmes, and methods for their measurement and control.
    • Understand the principles of the theory of constraints and its application to projects and programmes.
    • Construct plans that are visible and comprehensible for analysis and decision-making, including resource requirements.
    • Recommend and interrogate control measures on tasks, projects and programmes.
    • Plan using an advanced or lean approach to planning and scheduling.
  • Research Methods
    Module LeaderDr Liz Lee-Kelley - Senior Lecturer, Programme and Project Management

    The module covers:

    • Practice of research: reading and reflection culminating in preparation for the submission of a thesis proposal and plan. 
    • A research-based framework of 17 key attributes of programme management work at four conceptual levels.
    • A research based framework of structural vs. dynamic complexity on projects and programmes.
    • Career profiling and management.
    Intended learning outcomes

    As a result of this module, you will be able to:

    • Understand what makes a successful research project and what must be in place before starting to collect data.
    • Appreciate the role of theory in underpinning and enhancing the quality of your research project.
    • Understand the range of research approaches that can be applied to organisational research.
    • Use your knowledge to develop a well-argued thesis proposal.
    • Develop an appropriate research strategy, design and method for your thesis.
    • Understand different conceptual models in terms of the performance of programme management in high structural/dynamic environments.
    • Map current conceptions of programme management work onto the frameworks/models.
    • Identify how you might use your knowledge of higher conceptual levels to manage their self-development as a programme manager.
    • Understand the utility and limitations of project and programme management theories and models in practice and at extreme boundary conditions.
    • Integrate understanding of course learning through a real time crisis simulation.
    • Appreciate career profiling and management.
  • Risk and Opportunities
    Module LeaderDr Elmar Kutsch - Senior Lecturer in Risk Management

    The module covers:

    • Risk, opportunity and organisational/national policy.
    • People and uncertainty.
    • Definition, history and importance of risk and opportunities management.
    • Methodologies for managing risks and opportunities (e.g. PRAM, RAMP, MOR), their purpose and value.
    • Ambiguity, denial, expected utility and the effectiveness of traditional approaches.
    • Behavioural approaches to managing uncertainty.
    Intended learning outcomes

    As a result of this module, you will be able to:

    • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of managing risks and opportunities in projects.
    • Understand the relationship between strategic, programme and project risks and opportunities.
    • Understand the importance of human factors in managing risks and opportunities.
    • Carry out risk assessments and make judgements in the light of the perceived risks and opportunities.
    • Use a standard method to carry out a risk assessment and to plan responses.
    • Build a risk model using Pertmaster software (Monte Carlo simulation).
    • Research and make sense of complex stakeholder interactions, and provide options for management.
    • Critically review the value of methodologies for risk and opportunity management (e.g. RAMP, PRAM).
    • Carry out limited quantitative analysis of risks and opportunities.
  • Strategic Management and Supply Chain Management

    The module covers:

    • Supply chain concepts and elements.
    • Smartville: supply chain integration.
    • Sourcing and re-sourcing: the Smiths case.
    • Process mapping and supply chain improvement.
    • From product delivery to servitisation.
    • Supply chain management in complex industries.
    • Decision-making and scenario analysis.
    • The firm, processes, and the competitive environment.
    • The schools of strategy.
    • Hyper-competition and resilience.
    • The relationship between strategy and programme and project management.
    Intended learning outcomes

    As a result of this module, you will be able to:

    • Understand supply chain concepts in the context of your own organisation.
    • Develop awareness of service-oriented strategies for complex industries.
    • Develop a critical awareness of the role of the supply chain in organisational performance and understand how supply chain performance can be improved.
    • Understand and be able to describe the strategies and the strategic context in which firms operate; the competitive environment, organisational processes and strategic leadership.
    • Describe and apply the major perspectives which are used to analyse business and corporate strategy (including TCE, IO, RBV, KBV/DC).
    • Recognise the implications for programme and project management of strategy and the relationship between strategy and PPM.
    • Critically analyse and make decisions whether working alone or within a group.
  • The Reflective Manager
    Module LeaderMr Jeremy Hilton - Principal Research Fellow (Complex Systems)

    The module covers:

    • The evolution of project management and general management: current debates and emerging developments.
    • The reflective practitioner.
    • Systems thinking.
    • Images of projects.
    • System dynamics.
    • Complexity in projects and programmes.
    • Complex responsive processes of relating.
    • Situated learning.
    Intended learning outcomes

    As a result of this module, you will be able to:

    • Demonstrate knowledge of systems thinking, and its possible application to managing projects and programmes.
    • Apply a framework of perspectives for understanding the complexity of projects and for developing appropriate action strategies.
    • Recognise, through the principles of systems dynamics, how the interplay between different components of organisations and management systems leads to unintended consequences that influence the results delivered by a project or programme.
    • Understand the paradigm emerging from complexity theory and demonstrate knowledge of how its components enhance the understanding about the management of projects and programmes.
    • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of alternative ways of thinking about the relationship between individuals and organisations and the impact on managing projects and programmes.
    • Construct rich pictures of projects or programmes in your environment so as to provide insight into the issues faced by individuals in their organisational contexts, and suggest possible remedial interventions.
    • Learn how to approach problematical situations through the use of systems thinking and multiple perspectives.
    • Identify both balancing and reinforcing loops in the observed activity of project and programme teams, and suggest causes of systemic problems.
    • Diagnose behavioural and dynamical systems complexity in a project or programme, and design suitable modifications to the management system to take account of these.


Each module will be assessed through assignments, exams or both. The residential modules will help to prepare you for the assessments but you will be expected to conduct private study in order to complete the assessments.

Start date, duration and location

Start date: January

Duration: Part-time MSc - up to three years, Part-time PgCert - two years, Part-time PgDip - two years

(For MOD status students the duration may vary, subject to annual review.)

Teaching location: Shrivenham


The Cranfield Executive MSc in Programme and Project Management is distinctive as it spans both programme and project management.

This three-year part-time course is delivered over a series of three-day residential modules and is designed for:

  • Experienced project and programme managers who want a "real-world" education delivered by faculty who are actively engaged with business.
  • Ambitious professionals who are keen to develop themselves, enhance their skills, knowledge and abilities, and take their career to the next level.
  • Rounded individuals who want to combine their knowledge of processes, tools and techniques with an understanding of strategy and an ability to make projects work in practice.

Accreditation and partnerships

Cranfield's MSc in Programme and Project Management is accredited by the Association for Project Management (APM). Cranfield is also a member of the Major Projects Association (MPA) and the Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards (GAPPS).

Entry Requirements

You will need:

  • a UK first or second class Honours degree in a relevant subject area or
  • an equivalent international qualification (find out whether your qualification meets our requirements by visiting our International Student page) or
  • relevant work experience in combination with a degree below second class Honours.

If you do not meet our formal entry requirements, but still feel you can demonstrate the ability to complete the course successfully, you may still be accepted onto a course. Each application will be considered on its merits.

*Having taken your application into consideration, the course director may also require you to take the Graduate Management Admissions Test GMAT (minimum score 600) or GRE (75th percentile in both the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections). The GMAT course code for the Executive MSc in Programme and Project Management is K2H-N3-42. Visit for information.


English Language

If you are an international student you will need to provide evidence that you have achieved a satisfactory test result in an English qualification. The minimum standard expected from a number of accepted courses are as follows:

IELTS - 6.5 overall and 6.5 in the writing component

TOEFL - 92 and a writing score 21 

Pearson PTE Academic  - 65

Cambridge English Scale - 180

Cambridge English: Advanced - C

Cambridge English: Proficiency - C

In addition to these minimum scores you are also expected to achieve a balanced score across all elements of the test. We reserve the right to reject any test score if any one element of the test score is too low.

We can only accept tests taken within two years of your registration date (with the exception of Cambridge English tests which have no expiry date).

Students requiring a Tier 4 (General) visa must ensure they can meet the English language requirements set out by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and we recommend booking a IELTS for UKVI test.


Home EU Student Fees

MSc Part-time - £20,000 *

PgDip Part-time - £16,000 *

PgCert Part-time - £8,000 *

Overseas Fees

MSc Part-time - £20,000 *

PgDip Part-time - £16,000 *

PgCert Part-time - £8,000 *


Students will be offered the option of paying the full fee up front, or to pay in four equal instalments at six month intervals (i.e. the full fee to be paid over the first two years of their registration). 

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2017.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A deposit may be payable, depending on your course.
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged and can be found below.
  • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) pay Overseas fees.


Cranfield School of Management Executive MSc Colleague Bursary

For organisations wishing to sponsor their talent to study on one of our specialist masters programmes, there is a Colleague Bursary available from the Cranfield School of Management.


Application Process

Career opportunities

The programme is designed for experienced professionals working in programme and project management. It will help you to progress your career in the field by:

  • Teaching you how best to provide effective leadership throughout project or programme lifecycle.
  • Encouraging you to take a holistic approach to managing projects by exploring behavioural and strategic aspects.
  • Ensuring you feel confident to take on more senior roles and more challenging projects.
  • Giving you the opportunity to carry out a project of real value to your organisation.

This programme will enhance your prospects when applying for senior positions within management as the in-depth academic and practical knowledge gained will be evident to your prospective employer.

It also opens up opportunities outside your chosen programme of study as it demonstrates both your ability to learn and your intellectual capacity.

To support your career goals Cranfield provides opportunities for you to network with fellow professionals, leading figures from industry and academic experts. Find out more about the Cranfield Network and the services we provide whilst you're here and for the rest of your career.