Programme outline



Informed by cutting-edge research and grounded in the best of international practice.

The programme addresses the interdisciplinary approach that lies at the heart of many major programmes. The programme is structured around eight core modules and three fundamental themes: programmes as organisations, stakeholder engagement and risk management.

Modules are five days long, beginning on a Monday and concluding on a Friday afternoon. As part of our continuous review process, module dates are subject to change.

This modular format allows you to combine work and study. Participants tend to remain in their full-time professional roles, travelling to Oxford and back for each of the eight modules. All modules must be attended in full.

The programme uses a range of teaching methods including interactive lectures, small group workshops and real-world case studies.

As part of our continuous review process, elements of this programme are subject to change for the 2023 intake. Any modifications to the content will be communicated at the earliest opportunity.


Designing and managing successful programmes

11-15 September 2023

Develop your understanding of major programmes as a governance structure and distinctive organisational form. In the context of programme performance, consider and reflect on organisational theory and design.

Topics covered:

  • Programmes as organisations
  • Organisation design
  • Theoretical perspectives
  • Practical challenges
  • Recurrent themes

Major programme risk

27 November-1 December 2023

You will explore how risk manifests across a range of programme sectors, and develop a sound understanding of the role of policy, planning, and management in pre-empting risk.

Topics covered:

  • How risk fools you
  • Risk in context
  • The planning fallacy
  • Strategic misrepresentation
  • The outside view
  • De-risking

Systems thinking

19-23 February 2024

This module introduces participants, from technical and non-technical backgrounds, to the central concepts and assumptions of systems engineering. You will explore real-world issues affecting systems engineering, with a particular emphasis on the effects of complexity.

Topics covered:

  • System design
  • Coping with change
  • Choosing metrics
  • Coping with complexity
  • Factors for success

Governance and Stakeholder Management

6-10 May 2024

Develop a deep understanding of the financial performance of your programmes. Explore the role of financial metrics throughout the programme lifecycle, providing the necessary technical knowledge for those without a financial background, while contextualising the understanding of experienced financial managers.

Topics covered:

  • Assessing viability and evaluation methods
  • Performance measurements and financial metrics
  • Risk perception
  • Organisational, political and social context of large project financial management
  • Communication and stakeholder management

Commercial leadership

22-26 July 2024

This module addresses the crucial role of contractual documentation in the creation and management of a major project. Using practical, business-focussed activities, you will build effective contract management skills.

Topics covered:

  • Identifying legal risk
  • Strategic alliances and cooperative ventures
  • Dispute resolution
  • Intellectual property
  • Due diligence and contractual protection

Research methods

23-27 September 2024

An essential introduction to the business and management research methods appropriate for researching major programme management, including both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The module will prepare you for planning, executing, and writing your dissertations for both managerial and academic stakeholders.

Topics covered:

  • Research design and general approaches
  • Literature search
  • Data collection
  • Data analysis
  • Writing up research proposals and results
  • Research ethics

Managing performance

25-29 November 2024

Working across individual, team, organisation and programme perspectives, you will examine your own leadership style and understand how your personal approach affects programme performance.

Topics covered:

  • Leadership models
  • Framing and reframing perspectives
  • The reflective practitioner
  • Developing personal insights
  • Leadership in a programme context

Globalisation and major programmes

17-21 March 2025

A differentiating characteristic of major programmes is the international context in which they operate. This module explores the international and transnational dimensions of major programmes and how they may be understood, anticipated and managed and consider the particular risks that may be associated with operating in emerging economies.

Topics covered:

  • Global strategy development
  • Navigating political environments
  • Stakeholder management
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Emerging economies


MMPM graduation

The programme is formally assessed by eight individual assignments each of 3,000 words, and a written dissertation of 10,000 words. The dissertation will be due approximately 7 months after the end of module 8, completing the full two-year study duration of the MSc.

Candidates undertake pre-reading and formative assignments, as well as forming virtual learning teams to support each other’s progress. 

Immediately after completing the MMPM at Oxford I was hired by a global company to run a major change program. The frameworks and conceptual landscape that was ingrained through the academic work that reflected on previous experiences helped me immensely to understand and communicate my vision for change, and also helped me organise, structure, and execute that vision.

Tobias O. Person

Senior Advisor - Technology and Innovation, Los Angeles World Airports

Study commitment

Women using computer

In the classroom, emphasis is placed on debate. You are encouraged to read outside of the reading lists and bring this, and your professional experience, to the discussions.

Outside of modules, you should allow for at least 10 hours per week of study including reading, writing assessed assignments, a dissertation and writing formative assignments. 

Please note that this course is paperless. This means that paper handouts will not be provided for most of your courses. All presentations will be uploaded to our virtual learning environment, this may be in advance of, just before or immediately after teaching sessions. Handouts will be provided for certain courses based on specific requirements, eg unreliable internet availability or where handouts operate more like a textbook than slides.