MBA (Armed Forces)

Postgraduate Degree

Invest in your future with our 100% online Chartered Management Institute accredited MBA.

  • Globally recognised prestigious management qualification accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).
  • Develop the knowledge and skills to advance your management career and achieve your ambitions.
  • Online learning gives you the flexibility to fit learning around other commitments.
  • Be part of the University of the Year (THE)

Image: © UK MOD Crown Copyright

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About your MBA (Armed Forces) course

Our CMI accredited online Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) is a prestigious management qualification designed to provide you with the skills and expertise to advance your management and leadership career aspirations.

With a strong entrepreneurial and innovative focus our MBA is ideal if you’re new to a management role, aspiring to work in management or looking to start your own business. You’ll study online, giving you the flexibility to achieve your career aspirations around the demands of life in the Armed Forces.

Designed for you

ARU recognises and gives credit for your military training and offers advanced entry routes for members of the Armed Forces. Depending on your rank, training and experience, you may qualify for Accredited Prior Learning (APL). APL can help you meet the course entry requirements, reduce the number of modules you need to study to complete the degree, and potentially reduce the cost of studying with us. Each application is considered on an individual basis so if you would like to know if you’re eligible for an advanced entry route please do not hesitate to contact us.

How you'll study

This course is studied 100% online
Course length

1-2 years depending on eligibility for an advanced entry route

Start dates

Start in January, May or September

Application deadlineOur next deadline is

30th April 2024

Fees: £3,900 - £11,700

Payment plans available

UK Quality Assured

Course overview

Our MBA will provide you with expert knowledge of management and business administrative practices, and develop the key skills required to understand, respond to and lead change. You’ll develop your awareness of organisational issues, and the ability to evaluate the potential outcomes of complicated or problematic situations in a variety of management contexts. You’ll reflect on the key issues in the 21st century business environment as well as the latest developments in management research to develop a solid understanding of management roles and responsibilities. You’ll also enhance your communication skills and have the opportunity to hone the personal attributes critical to leadership success.

Our MBA is broken down into six core modules and a major project or work placement option. The core modules cover specialist topics including finance, human resources, strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship, organisational psychology, and marketing. You then have the option to choose between a postgraduate major project (Entrepreneurial Action module) or a work-based project (Intrapreneurial Action module). The postgraduate major project gives you the opportunity to carry out your own significant piece of research or project based on either your company or a relevant case study. The work-based module gives you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in a business environment, undertake real-life research and analysis, and develop your understanding of how to develop solutions to industry dilemmas and management issues.

Our Armed Forces MBA is ideal if you’re new to management, looking to step up into a management role in the service, or looking to create and manage your own business in the future. This globally recognised management qualification will give you the knowledge, skills and confidence to achieve your career aspirations. You will be supported throughout your entire MBA experience by a dedicated academic and support team and a peer group of like-minded learners from around the world

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If you are eligible for an advanced entry route you may not need to complete all of the modules below. Please contact us for more information.


Principles of Marketing Management

You'll work through the main theories and principles of marketing for the marketing manager or business leader, understanding how those theories and principles can be applied in practice to a range of business contexts; from business-to-consumer, business-to-business, charities and arts, to tourism and service-based industries. You'll focus particularly on global business challenges; competition and defining value; a digitally based economy; and societal marketing (corporate social responsibility, sustainability, morals and ethics) whilst also understanding the legal framework that impacts upon marketers and marketing practice such as consumer and data protection laws. This module will challenge you to examine marketing problems that have faced brands and organisations to critically analyse their approach and suggest new alternatives. You'll gain a firm grasp of the scope of marketing in general business management and leadership roles as well as a clear understanding of the specialist areas of study and work as you plan your lifelong career in this very broad industry.

Organisational Psychology in a Social Context

Human Resource (HR) professionals and managers operate within increasingly complex and changing organisational and contextual circumstances in the public, private or third sectors. This is exacerbated by the variety of organisational types and size that contribute to national wealth creation in terms of the services and goods they provide and produce. This module provides you with understanding of market and business contexts in the operational, tactical, and strategic HR function, along with issues of the modern organisation. You'll examine the cultural, political, and social contexts that organisations operate within, both from an internal and external perspective. Further, you'll discover how economic forces affect and influence organisational practices, and their impact upon the HR function and its practices. You'll explore globalisation and how the changing demographics and social environments impact on organisational strategy and the HR function. Plus why ethical and democratic practices are needed to meet the changes of complex business and economic practices or the management of human resources in more dignified ways. Finally, you'll see how HR can contribute to and influence the strategic direction of organisational practice in the pursuit of welfare profit, as well as monetary profit.

Management and Strategy

Within this module you'll explore the fields of management and strategy, noting how strategic analysis and formulation contribute to an organisation’s performance. You'll explore practically relevant ideas and frameworks that facilitate strategy design and implementation, dealing with the craft of strategy, identifying, and choosing superior competitive position, how to analyse strategic situations and how to create the organisational context to make the chosen strategy work. Practical and problem-oriented, this module places emphasis on the application of concepts and exploration of frameworks to assist you in analysing and gaining insight into competitive situations and strategic dilemmas.

Principles of Economics

You'll end this module with a toolkit of knowledge around how economists define, evaluate, measure and compare firms’ profit max strategies given different market settings, building a foundation of knowledge around the factors affecting both firms and countries performance. You'll also be able to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of alternative explanations of economic growth and development. Firstly, you'll look at Microeconomics, examining the way in which decision-making units (individuals and firms) make their decisions. These fundamental concepts and approaches underpin much of modern microeconomics, and consider in detail firms’ input and output decisions based on profit maximisation and cost minimization in different market settings (perfect competition, monopoly, oligopoly, monopolistic competition). Basic economic models are used to introduce you to analytical methods of reasoning with applications and mathematical problems used to help you see clearly the interplay between key concepts. Consumer choice based on utility maximization is considered in detail and then applied to areas such as labour supply. It's then the turn of Macroeconomics, where we master the basic concepts, such as the determination of national income, the workings of the monetary system, causes and consequences of inflation and the reasons behind unemployment. We then introduce the tools of economic theory and develop your understanding of the factors affecting both economic growth and development. You'll examine how a country can increase the size of its national income, and also how increased growth can impact on a society by improving the development indicators. Upon completion you should understand how economists define, evaluate, measure and attempt to boost employment, economic growth and development and reduce inflation and public debt. You'll be encouraged throughout to debate current issues and challenges facing economics, enhancing your policy decision-making capacity by examining a wide range of decisions, alternatives and their implications. Given the scientific papers of leading scientists in the field the module aims to value critical openness to different perspectives, theories and methods, and encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

You'll critically review existing entrepreneurship and innovation models and concepts, including process models, and explore ‘patchwork’ and ‘opportunity’ based approaches to entrepreneurship and innovation. During the module you'll explore how ‘innovation’ comes from a variety of sources, examine the principles of ‘open’ innovation, and recognise the importance of exploiting available networks and of developing an innovative culture. You’ll improve your ability to analyse and critique ‘entrepreneurial’ business models, both existing and conceptual, through the utilisation of tools such as the Business Model Canvas. You'll think creatively by proposing innovative solutions to creating and capturing value through the medium of consultancy report and applying some of the theoretical underpinnings of the module. Finally, the principles of entrepreneurship and innovation are analysed in the context of entrepreneurs, start-ups, and family businesses from across the globe, in various commercial, public-sector and not- for-profit sectors, emphasising the importance and challenges of ‘social’ and ‘sustainability -led’ innovation.

Finance for Decision Making

Management decision making is a complex subject involving many variable factors. The primary objective of this module is to provide a conceptual and analytical framework for looking at organisations operating in capital, financial and operational markets. You'll explore the financial element contained in decisions and the techniques that may be used to assist informed management decisions. You’ll start by considering the availability of financial information that may be relevant to decision making and whether this fits with the information you need to make the decision. This is further developed to the type of decision and differing requirements, leading to a more bespoke deliverable information set that meets the context of the decision. You'll gain an appreciation of core themes prevalent throughout financial management. The module also explores the financial techniques developed by financial and management accountants and how they may be used and applied. Finally, consideration is given to the relevance and weighting of the financial element in the decision-making process and how qualitative issues may be incorporated in the overall decision.

Entrepreneurial Action (Major Project)

The Entrepreneurial Action module will allow you to undertake a project focused on understanding and supporting entrepreneurial action in practice. This is to be undertaken on an individual basis and could be an applied/engaged research project, an enterprise consultancy project which addresses an opportunity or challenge faced by an entrepreneurial organisation or researching and developing a new business proposition or idea.


You will be assessed as you progress throughout the course using a range of methods including reports, presentations, portfolios and individual assignments.

How you'll study

Our MBA (Armed Forces) is studied 100% online.

You’ll study through Canvas, our world-class online Learning Management System (LMS), which can be accessed from your phone, pc or tablet at home or on the move. Canvas provides instant access to study materials, forums, and support from tutors and classmates, as well as enabling easy submission of your assignments.

On successful completion of your studies, you’ll be invited to attend a graduation ceremony on campus. If attending the ceremony in person is not possible then we’ll arrange to have your certificate sent to you.

Supported distance learning

 We understand the need to be flexible when working within the armed forces with changes to location and non-standard working hours as well as your personal commitments and responsibilities. We also understand that distance learning is different to traditional campus study and if you’re new to online study you may have concerns or apprehensions about studying remotely, and that’s natural. 

To help put your mind at ease we have a dedicated Distance Learning Support Team to help and support you throughout your time at ARU, starting with your first online induction and staying with you right through to graduation. In addition, you’ll also be supported by specialist module tutors, well experienced in supporting distance learning students.

Once you start your course, we encourage the creation of online communities and many of our learners find these connections with others invaluable, helping them to stay motivated, share concerns or make new friendships.

Contact us to talk through any questions or concerns or visit our support page for more information about the support services available.

Our support services

Be part of the University of the Year

We're proud to be the Times Higher Education (THE) University of the Year 2023.

The prestigious THE awards honour ’exceptional performance during the 2021-22 academic year, and reflect ARU’s success in delivering high-impact projects during this period, despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The award recognises the difference we make in the region and our communities – while also acknowledging the broader impact of our world-leading research, and the contributions our students and graduates make to society.

THE 2023 Awards Logo


Chartered Management Institute LOGO

CMI Accredited

Our Master of Business Administration (Armed Forces) is accredited by The Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

CMI accreditation means you may opt to, at no extra cost, receive a second professional qualification upon successful completion of your programme. By adding this CMI qualification to your University qualification, you’re really on the road to success. Other benefits include:

  • Professional recognition and Chartered Management status
  • Free access to CMI online management and leadership resources during your ARU course and for a period of time after you complete your ARU course
  • Access to the CMI career development centre with resources to help with writing CVs, interview simulations and career management tools
  • CMI membership and opportunities for networking with other CMI members
  • Access to CMI events


What could an MBA do for my career?

An MBA can help progress your career both while you are serving in the armed forces and when the time comes for you to leave. Either way you'll be future-proofing your skills and employability.

With its emphasis on leadership and management, our MBA will prepare you for management roles in all types of organisations; or further develop and solidify your skills if you are currently supporting or in a junior management position making you a confident and competent manager.

Within your studies you will engage in high-level strategic analysis, cultivate the personal attributes critical for leadership success, and acquire the entrepreneurial mindset that you either bring into an existing organisation or your own enterprise.

What job roles can I consider with an MBA?

With an MBA, you can gain the transferable skills and knowledge to work in a variety of job roles and industry sectors. These are just some of the job roles that MBA graduates may consider:

  • Business Advisor
  • Business Analyst
  • Business Development Manager
  • Business Operations Manager
  • Entrepreneur
  • Finance Manager
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Management Consultant
  • Marketing Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Risk Manager

If you are looking for more information about these job profiles and potential salary earnings see It’s important to note that salaries can vary widely depending on the job role, employer, industry sector and location.

What can I study after an MBA?

Depending on your long-term goals and interests you may decide to explore a doctorate qualification. Having a master’s degree under your belt is a key entry requirement in opening doors to study at this level.

What skills will I get from an MBA to help my career?

Choosing to study an MBA will give you many transferable skills that will help your career.

  • Gain the technical and personal skills for future performance
  • Understand how to take advantage of social and professional networks, including teamwork, communication, and digital literacy
  • Understand diversity and respect for others, as well as cultural trends for business and enterprise.
  • Develop personal resilience, career adaptability and problem solving

Careers Advice Service

Once you become an ARU student you will be able to access our Employability service to help you whatever stage of your career, whether that’s landing your first dream job or the next progression step.

We offer:

  • Careers advice, including one-to-one online and telephone appointments with our experienced advisers
  • Help with your CV, job searches, applications and interview preparation
  • an online portal packed with useful careers resources
  • Our Employability Programme, which helps you hone the skills employers say they want in graduates.

Entry requirements

Our standard entry requirements for this course are detailed below. If you are eligible for an advanced entry route then your current rank, training and/or experience may satisfy the entry requirements. Please contact us for more information.

Standard entry requirements

You should have:

  • A degree from a UK university, normally at a minimum of lower second class honours; or equivalent from a non-UK university.

As a distance learner, you'll also need a suitable computer with internet connection, together with sufficient IT competence to make effective use our online learning management system (LMS) with high-speed internet and email.

Fees & funding


Our standard tuition fees for this course are detailed below. If you are eligible for an advanced entry route then your tuition fees are likely to be reduced.

Depending on your advanced entry route the full tuition fee will be between £3,900 and £11,700. The course is will take either 1 or 2 years to complete depending on your entry route.

Please contact us for more information.

Standard fees (for non-advanced entry routes)

The full tuition fee for this course is £11,700.

The tuition fees you pay each year will be £5,850. The course is studied over 2 years.

Accredited Prior Learning may reduce the tuition fees. This will be confirmed once your application has been submitted.


Your course can be fully funded by the Postgraduate Student Loans now available (subject to eligibility).

We offer payment by instalments, so you can spread the cost of studying with us.

You can use your ELCs towards this course. Anglia Ruskin University is a recognised ELCAS provider (number 1007). Please contact your Learning Centre for details of ELC, eligibility and how to apply.

For more information on how you fund your studies please see our funding page.

What our students say

Cat - ARU Distance Learning Student

I would advise any Military personnel to give distance learning a go. You will be surprised what you can achieve when you have the right support and access to great resources.

Read Cat's story
Sean - ARU Distance Learning Student

I spent the majority of my MBA deployed to Eastern Europe with NATO and the resources remained easy to use and my studies were unaffected.

Read Sean's story

Frequently Asked Questions

Next application deadline:

30th April 2024

Discover what you're made of.

Apply now before the application deadline.

Further reading

10 Reasons You Should Study an MBA With Us

10 Reasons You Should Study an MBA With Us

22nd April 2021

View Blog
Distance Learning Alumni Survey 2023

Distance Learning Alumni Survey 2023

13th March 2024

View Blog