MSc in Business and Reward Management

Available to payroll, pensions and reward professionals who wish to further enhance their skills and knowledge in relation to work based business and management, the MSc in Business and Reward Management builds on your industry knowledge and skills to take your capabilities to a strategic leadership level.

The qualification is aimed at professionals who are in, or aspire to be in, a managerial position within their organisation and are responsible for strategic decisions and change which benefits the organisation as a whole. It will not focus on the legislation or technical skills associated with the industry as these are assumed, instead, it will cover work-based topics such as career development, leadership and strategic management of remuneration and reward.

The MSc in Business and Reward Management also helps towards meeting the criteria in order to apply for Chartered membership.

Who is this qualification aimed at?

This qualification has been designed for individuals who already hold professional qualifications, or experienced senior managers, wanting to further develop and enhance their strategic knowledge and value within their organisation.

Why should I invest in this qualification?

This qualification, via a range of topics, develops the skills required to command respect as a strategic leader within your organisation.

It will not focus on the technical skills associated with the industry, as these are assumed, but instead will cover work based topics such as career development, leadership and strategic management of remuneration and reward, which will positively impact you and your organisation.

Once qualified, students will be invited to be a Fellow member of the CIPP.


Stage 1 Certificate: Post Graduate Certificate in Business and Reward Management

Appreciating skills for career development and leadership

  • Employ reflective and personal development plan (PDP) processes to identify, review and record their own professional skills and career development needs
  • Critically evaluate the role of professional standards in their career development, recording and promotion of continuing professional development (CPD) and their importance in terms of working with others
  • Plan, deliver and evaluate self-directed learning and development activities that address identified areas of academic, professional and/or personal objectives

Strategic management of remuneration

  • Illustrate the use of appropriate methods and approaches to compare and contrast strategic management in dynamically complex environments, reviewing factors such as internal and external dynamics, the role of corporate strategy and resource allocation
  • Critically assess international change influences on business, including factors involving global business development, acquisition or disposal
  • Evaluate critical factors in the procurement and implementation of selected remuneration systems, (payroll or pension), including effective assessment and negotiation of third party supplier offerings
  • Recommend strategic solutions to dealing with a changed business situation, justifying the choices made and their link to business need

Leading a dynamic organisation and its workforce

  • Critically evaluate the theoretical perspectives on behavioural processes within organisations and between people management and leadership outcomes
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the wider implications of management decisions and behaviour on organisations, teams and individuals
  • Apply knowledge of organisational theory and assess their role as a professional/leader/manager with a view to adding value to their organisation

Stage 2 Diploma: Post Graduate Diploma in Business and Reward Management

Developing a strategic approach to reward management

  • Critically evaluate and benchmark their own organisation’s compensation and benefits packages, taking into account international or global dimensions to their business
  • Demonstrate critical awareness of the impact of changing legislation upon organisations and their employees; specifically in relation to their compensation and benefits package
  • Critique the changing focus on types of reward as a means of motivation and team integration
  • Apply learning to a strategic change context, justifying the recommendations made

Strategic business finance for non-accountancy professionals

  • Analyse the fundamental concepts that underpin organisational financial management at a strategic level, including an appreciation of the key tools and techniques that can be used
  • Critically analyse the financially related information and performance metrics of an organisation and make suggestions for improvement

Research methodologies

  • Formulate appropriate research aims and objectives and devise a methodological approach relevant to undertaking research into a business issue
  • Understand and apply a range of research and analytical techniques to devise a project proposal that meets the University’s ethical guidelines and approvals, through which the independent study can be implemented

Stage 3 Masters: MSc in Business and Reward Management

Managing international or global remuneration practice

  • Appraise the cultural impacts of developing and implementing global remuneration systems
  • Critically review a strategic approach to integrated reporting and processes, reflecting on the implications for performance management and financial control
  • Design and create an implementation plan for a remuneration process for overseas employees, critically evaluating the strategic and operational opportunities and risks

Independent study (dissertation)

  • Utilise appropriate research methodology to investigate the problem or issue identified in their project proposal, reviewing pertinent literature and demonstrating strategic awareness of the issues related to the context and work based environment
  • Critically review the impact of the study against defined measures and provide conclusions and recommendations at a strategic level
  • Reflect on the personal learning gained from the process of undertaking a significant piece of independent research using the ideas and concepts from the course, identifying and planning for future personal development


Completed over three academic years, the MSc in Business and Reward Management is the highest level payroll qualification in the UK, run by the CIPP in collaboration with the University of Derby. The majority of material will be studied at home and supplied through the student website. However, students will be required to attend tutorials at the University of Derby where they will have opportunities to apply the learning to work based scenarios during the periods of study.

How much does this cost?

Full price: £3799 + VAT per year (3 years)

These prices are for the duration of the course of study. 

What do my fees include?

  • Access to the University of Derby student website which provides:
    • Discussion forums so that students can support each other through online networking and tutors can respond to any questions that students may have
    • All core study material
  • A module tutor to provide you with support through each subject during your studies
  • All tuition and study materials
  • Dinner on the first night only
  • Lunch at tutorials
  • University registration and University of Derby student card


Recognition of prior learning (APEL)

MSc in Business and Reward Management – allowing students who do not hold one of the desired entry level payroll qualifications direct access to the qualification based on other qualifications that they hold, and/or their previous payroll experience.

As advised by the University of Derby, APEL can be:

  • Certified – to give recognition of learning which has been formally assessed and for which a certificate has been awarded
  • Experiential – to recognise that knowledge and skills can be developed through many types of experience, such as work and voluntary activities

Enquirers must hold at least three years’ experience within a business, payroll, pensions and reward environment. In addition your experience should include strategic aspects such as career development, leadership and strategic management of remuneration and reward. This is subject to final assessment by the University of Derby/CIPP.

If you are unsure about which qualification route is the right one for you click here for payroll or pensions, call 0121 712 1023 or email us.

Key information

Enrolment details for the Autumm 2018 intake will be added here in due course. Please register your interest on this qualification if you are interested on enrolling onto the Autumn 2018 intake.

Use the CIPP's business case template to gain approval for CIPP qualification:

MSc In Business and Reward Management - Business case letter


For more information please email

Please note that the MSc course start is subject to meeting minimum student numbers, if the minimum requirement is not achieved your enrolment will be processed for the next available intake.


Case study

Ros Hendren MSc FCIPP, Consultant

Why did you decide to study the MSc?

I had just received my Diploma in Payroll Management (as it used to be back in 1997), when the institute was advertising the MSc in Business and Payroll Management for the first time ever. Having enjoyed being able to expand my knowledge and skills over the previous 2 years, and therefore really add value to my organisation, I was keen to continue my studies. I remember thinking that choosing to study for the MSc would potentially change my life, as the strategic challenge of the additional learning I wanted to embark on, would push me completely out of my comfort zone.

What have you gained from studying the qualification?

Having had chance over the last fifteen years to reflect on achieving the MSc, I think it is fair to say that my personal gains have been numerous; promotion, recognition, confidence, engagement, motivation and satisfaction among others. Having achieved the MSc makes a really bold statement to your stakeholders about your commitment to the profession, and your drive and motivation to make a difference. Essentially it sets you apart as an industry leader.

From a more technical perspective, the MSc prepared me for strategic management, by building the skills and capabilities to be able to take a more holistic and commercial view of organisational operations, and the impact that legislation and best practise has on that function. As such it gave me the potential to become recognised as an industry expert, by taking what I had learned, applying it in context to my profession, and sharing my findings with others in my industry through public speaking, trade press articles, student tutoring, writing study material for higher education formal learning, and participation in industry and government forums. I see this as the leap from operational to strategic.

How is it helping in your career and how you manage payroll?

Being able to take that leap from operational to strategic means that you acquire the ability to be able to take a different view of the payroll function and how it is managed. Rather than it just being about legislation and compliance, you are able to satisfy your stakeholders through the ability to consider the bigger picture in terms of supporting your organisation’s objectives. Cost effectiveness, efficiency, best practise, and forward strategic thinking are all activities that the MSc in Business and Reward Management prepares you for. This means that you potentially create the atmosphere to not only deliver a world class service to your organisation, but that you inspire others around you to lift their game also, through showing them what’s possible.

For someone who is thinking about studying for a CIPP qualification what would your advice be to them?

Achieving industry qualifications is about providing evidence that you are committed to your profession through the acceptance of CPD and lifelong learning, and that you have acquired the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to be able to ensure your organisation is compliant, and operating as efficient and effectively as possible through adoption of best practice.

As a manager, I always request CIPP qualifications when shortlisting candidates for interview, as this provides a suitable benchmark, of a candidate’s skill set and self-motivation. Being a tutor for CIPP, I am confident that anyone who has achieved a CIPP qualification has proved their commitment, knowledge and abilities.

Studying a qualification alongside a full time job is no easy feat. How do you cope with the pressure as, like a qualification, payroll is very deadline driven?

I can’t deny that this is the hardest part of higher education vocational study through distance learning. There were times when my friends and family were all out enjoying themselves, trying to persuade me to join them and drop my studies, and I was very sorely tempted. However, if you want something badly enough you find the strength from somewhere, to carry on and achieve your goal. I really wanted to have a career rather than a job, and so I focussed on what that would look like; how I would feel having my career and what type of opportunities would present themselves to me. What I can tell you is that never in my wildest dreams did I envisage the scope of opportunity that has opened itself up to me since achieving my qualifications!

How important would you rate qualifications to the payroll profession?

Payroll is a very complex industry as best practice and particularly legislation, change continually. The skills and abilities acquired through the CIPP qualifications equip industry professionals with the tools to be able to keep up with that continual change, and in some cases even perhaps forecast it. Through the act of maintaining our CPD, logging and reflecting on it, we are able to continue to provide the world class service I spoke about earlier, not only to our industry, but also to our organisations and their employees. Remember, by ensuring we pay ‘accurately and on time’, we help maintain the motivation of our workforce to come to work and do their job; no mean feat!