Teaching & Learning


Launch of UCL MBA marks acceleration of online learning

17 June 2019

Harnessing the latest pedagogic technology to offer an outstanding student experience online.

computer screen showing online learners

The launch of UCL’s new MBA signals an enhanced examination of the potential of online learning. The programme, which will be offered by the School of Management in the Faculty of Engineering, is designed for professionals looking for a high quality programme that they are able to study around their existing work and personal commitments.  The MBA is the first output of a partnership with online programmes management company, 2U, and will be hosted on 2U’s specially designed Learning Management System.

Strategic focus for UCL’s online provision

The partnership with 2U strengthens our capacity and capability in online learning.  This phase of development of UCL’s online provision concentrates on postgraduate taught courses and short courses targeted at professionals. The university as a whole is developing more capacity to support online learning and a number of departments across UCL are exploring its potential.  We are building our capacity to offer online programmes through changes to regulations, systems and development of expertise, which will benefit existing online programmes as well as those under development.

UCL has been developing its portfolio of online provision for several years. There are a number of online degree programmes already well-established at UCL, including the MSc Perioperative Medicine and both taught and research programmes from the Institute of Education. UCLeXtend is the institution’s public-facing learning platform and supports delivery of non-credit bearing short courses in a blended and online capacity for CPD, executive education, and taster purposes. Additionally, UCL delivers massive open online courses, or MOOCs, and short courses in partnership with FutureLearn. These courses have attracted more than 150,000 learner sign ups in a total of 164 countries internationally and across disciplinary areas in which UCL demonstrates research excellence, including dementia, urban planning, education, and medicine.

Collaboration with 2U

To guarantee a high quality experience for students, UCL and 2U will work in close collaboration throughout the life of the MBA. As an example, 2U is supporting the School of Management’s academic team to develop the MBA content, with course developers and instructional designers making sure that the learning resources are optimised for online learning. As an additional benefit, these resources will be available for use in on-campus programmes, as UCL retains the intellectual property rights to all materials developed for the online programmes.

2U provides the learning platform used by students and staff, creating a bespoke environment for each programme.  2U also provides valuable services to ensure that the highest quality students are applying to the programme and that, once enrolled, they are fully supported throughout their learning journey.  2U takes responsibility for active marketing of the programme, working closely with UCL Student Recruitment and the School of Management to reach talented individuals around the world. Once on the programme, each student has a dedicated advisor, who works with them on an individual basis.  This role works alongside UCL colleagues from the academic departments and central services, to ensure all students have the best possible opportunity to successfully complete the programme.

What will the MBA look like?

The School of Management chose to make their new MBA entirely online to make it possible to engage talented students around the world. Modules will use a flipped method of delivery where students study in their own time, joining weekly live classroom-based sessions through an online digital interactive platform.

The MBA has a focus on data analytics, technology, managing innovation, and entrepreneurship. With four start dates each year and able to be completed in as few as 18 months, and as many as 60, it is designed to be extremely flexible for the student. The first cycle of modules is being developed by staff in the School of Management and as the programme develops there will be opportunities to bring in new staff, who might be research active or high profile practitioners, to broaden the expertise of the school. Additionally, the School of Management is developing a network of colleagues around the world who can deliver the seminars to meet the availability of students based in different time zones.

Expanding UCL’s online provision

The expansion of online provision is being led by Professor Norbert Pachler (Pro-Vice Provost for Digital Education), and supported by colleagues in the Online Programmes Office within the Office of the Vice Provost (Education and Student Affairs).

Professor Pachler said:

Our aim is to build UCL’s capacity to offer high quality, innovative online education that operates to the same standards and entry requirements as campus based learning. The MBA is an exciting step, and we are looking forward to further developments.



If you are interested in learning more about the work of the Online Programmes Office