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 four days long, beginning on a Tuesday and concluding on a Friday afternoon. The first module starts with an additional two-day induction, and the final module concludes with a one-day capstone event.

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.

Major Programme Managers have a really difficult job. There are lots of methodologies, knowledge and skills that you need to do the job well, or better than it is done currently, and this is what we deliver on this programme. This programme is unique and you will not be able to find anything at any other university like we offer here at Oxford.

Bent Flyvbjerg

Academic Director


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Designing and managing successful programmes

6 - 11 September 2021

Eamonn Molloy

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

16 - 19 November 2021

Bent Flyvbjerg

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

8 - 11 February 2022

Janet Smart

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

10 - 13 May 2022

Paolo Quattrone and Witold Henisz

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

19 -22 July 2022

Howard W Ashcraft 

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

6 - 9 September 2022

Kate Blackmon

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

29 November - 2 December 2022

Sue Dopson 

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

27 February - 3 March 2023

Atif Ansar

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

Note pad and pen

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 (3,000 words) and a dissertation (10,000 words), and writing formative assignments.