Henley MA Board Practice and Directorship

Programme Overview

Programme aim:

To provide you with the knowledge and understanding to enhance your performance as a director and undertake applied research in governance. In addition, the programme aims to equip you with the skills necessary to complete a real-world, board-level business challenge.

Programme length:

  • Postgraduate Certificate (Stage 1): 8 months, part time
  • Postgraduate Diploma (Stages 1 and 2): 16 months, part time
  • Henley MA Board Practice and Directorship (Stages 1, 2 and 3): 24 months, part time

If you would like to register interest in this programme, please contact our programme advisors by email at exec@henley.ac.uk or by phone on +44 (0) 1491 418767.

We have partnered with ENVISIA to offer Stage 1 of this programme (the PGCert BPD) in Romania. Click here for more information.


The Henley MA Board Practice and Directorship (MA BPD) is a post-experience, practice-focused programme that aims to enhance your value as a board director.

Focusing on governance and strategic oversight as a board-level stewardship responsibility, the programme provides you with the knowledge and skills to support effective judgements in board-level decision-making and promote longer-term resilient governance.

Each board and the organisational context it faces is unique. As a result, the MA BPD considers what it takes to deliver highly effective boards, director behaviours and governance frameworks across different sectors and settings.

  • Stage 1 of the programme focuses on director development and understanding your board
  • Stage 2 focuses on board dynamics and offers mentoring for you as a director
  • Stage 3 offers more specialist sector expertise (private, public and third sectors), and involves applied research into a real-world board-level governance issue.

The programme is delivered by expert academic faculty, with insights from highly experienced board practitioners. It also draws extensively on the top-team governance research conducted at Henley Business School, which covers more than 19,000 boards across 37 countries.

A flexible programme

The Henley MA BPD is a part-time programme consisting of one- or two-day workshops combined with self-study. It is expected that participants will be currently employed.

You can choose to commit to the full MA or apply to complete one stage at a time. The registration period is 4 years.

Participants are able to exit after PGCert and PGDip or can take stage breaks and return to the next level at a later date (within 5 years).

What qualification can I earn?

Depending on which stages you complete, you will be awarded an internationally recognised qualification from a triple-accredited, global business school:

  • Postgraduate Certificate (Stage 1)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (Stages 1 and 2)
  • Henley MA Board Practice and Directorship (Stages 1, 2 and 3)

Who is the Henley MA Board Practice and Directorship for?

The programme is designed for experienced practising board members (chairs, chief executive officers (CEOs), senior independent directors (SIDs), chief financial officers (CFOs), non-executive directors (NEDs) and company secretaries) from across the private, public and third sectors. The programme may also suit senior managers with directorship potential, noting that at Stage 3 each participant needs access to a current real-world, board-level governance issue.

Programme structure and content

Stage 1 - Postgraduate Certificate


Stage 2 - Postgraduate Diploma


Stage 3 - MA


* You will select from one of three options for Module 7b, which is held off-site at a private, public or third sector-based location. This enables you to learn and network with practitioner panels from within a particular sector and gives you an opportunity for deeper study of relevant topics.

Credit for prior learning

No exemptions or credits for prior learning are permitted on this programme.


For participants

This programme develops your skills as a director, including your technical skills, soft skills and ability to handle risk. It also extends your understanding of the discretionary capability of board member roles. You will:

  • synthesise how to add value for highly effective board contributions
  • understand informed board decision-making for long-term competitive advantage
  • engage with leading academic experts and industry practitioners
  • apply rigorous research and frameworks to consider your own director skills and capabilities

For organisations

The MA BPD will enable participants to:

  • understand how to enhance board effectiveness for better organisational performance
  • engage with private, public and third-sector board members
  • apply rigorous research and frameworks to address board-level governance issues
  • critically evaluate decision-making and judgements at board level

Offers & Discounts

For more information please contact exec@henley.ac.uk.

Entry requirements

  • Good first or second class undergraduate degree (or equivalent)
  • Organisational leadership/board experience, or at least three years’ senior management experience with board-level access
  • Access to a live board-level governance challenge identified in your proposal
  • English language proficiency (IELTS 7.0, with no element below 6.0 – see note below)

Applicants who possess exceptional organisational experience but do not meet the standard academic requirements are welcome to apply and may be considered for entry on to the programme on a case-by-case basis.

Note: If English is not your first language, you may be required to take an IELTS test and achieve an overall score of 7.0 with no less than 6.0 in each element. The University also accepts a number of other tests instead of IELTS. A full list of equivalent tests and scores can be found at www.reading.ac.uk/ad-Englishtests. Alternatively, a completed declaration i.e. the English proficiency at work form (confirming that English is the main language of the business and that you are required to work in English to a high level on a daily basis) from a current employer may also be considered acceptable in lieu of one of the acceptable official tests.

For participants who may require top-up courses for entry on to the programme, there is the potential to run two modules (subject to demand):

  • Finance for Board Directors (two-day programme)
  • Basic Governance for Directors (two-day programme)

The Henley Experience

Helping you become exceptional is at the heart of everything we do. The Henley Experience is highly practical, collaborative and academically rigorous. We develop confident leaders and professionals who are able to take a fresh perspective and have the energy, capability and resilience to ensure that they and their organisations are successful.


  • Engagement
  • Awareness
  • Alignment
  • Rigour & relevance
  • Trust

The Henley Experience is much more than a set of principles. It is ingrained in our spirit and fundamental to our purpose and heritage, characterising the way we can help you to deliver exceptional performance.


We engage with you at the deepest level, fostering a shared spirit of curiosity, exploration, investigation and learning. We collaborate with you in order to challenge assumptions and mindsets, and get to the heart of the real business issues you face.


By creating a safe environment that promotes self-reflection, you are able to ask yourself those crucial questions that allow you to learn more about what informs your strategic business decisions and actions.


We work closely with you to diagnose your strategic individual and organisational aims. We then identify programmes that are best aligned to these goals, or we can co-evolve a learning design specifically aimed at achieving these strategic outcomes.


We draw on world-class research and originate leading-edge thinking – but theory remains theory unless it is applied to real-world business. All of our programmes are delivered by experienced faculty who integrate academic rigour with commercial application. What you learn translates into business results.


Our customers rely on our long history and global reputation for successful executive development. These strengths underlie our responsible and collaborative way of working with you to co-create the very best executive learning experiences and commercial outcomes.

At Henley we know we cannot just be exceptional – we are here to help you become exceptional.


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