Course at a glance


This Level 4 qualification builds upon prior knowledge derived from either formal academic qualifications, or via practical experience. It is an internationally recognised qualification that provides a strong foundation for working within the business sector and a basis for further study at degree level. A level 4 Diploma in Business Studies can provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to pursue a career in Business, Management or Retail.

Award: Level 4 Diploma in Business Studies

At the end of this course successful learners will receive an accredited certificate from the CIE GLOBAL and a Learner Unit Summary (which lists the details of all the units the learner has completed as part of the course).

The course has been accredited by CIE GLOBAL . This means that Oxford Learning College has undergone an external quality check to ensure that the organisation and the courses it offers, meet certain quality criteria. The completion of this course alone does not lead to an Ofqual regulated qualification but may be used as evidence of knowledge and skills towards regulated qualifications in the future.

The unit summary can be used as evidence towards Recognition of Prior Learning if you wish to progress your studies in this sector. To this end the learning outcomes of the course have been benchmarked at Level 4 against level descriptors published by Ofqual, to indicate the depth of study and level of demand/complexity involved in successful completion by the learner.

The course itself has been designed by Oxford Learning College to meet specific learners’ and/or employers’ requirements which cannot be satisfied through current regulated qualifications. The CIE GLOBAL certificates involves robust and rigorous quality audits by external auditors to ensure quality is continually met. A review of courses is carried out as part of the endorsement process.

Level 4 Accredited Business Studies Diploma Entry Requirements

Students must hold a Level 3 Diploma or A Level qualification to enrol into our Level 4 Accredited Business Studies Diploma.

Basic English reading and writing skills, as full tutor support is given.

All students must be 16 years of age or above.

Study Hours

Approximately 400 hours.

Level 4 Accredited Business Studies Diploma Course Duration

1 Year.


You can enrol on the course at any time.

Awarding Body

CIE Global

Assessment Method

Coursework only.

Level 4 Accredited Business Studies Diploma Course Content

Level 4 Accredited Business Studies Diploma Unit 1: Using information, communication and technology ICT in the study of Business

The first unit of this course aims to raise learner awareness of the different types of ICT skills, and provide the opportunity for them to develop these skills commensurate higher levels of study. The course is delivered via distance learning with no face to face contact between tutors and students, therefore understanding appropriate research techniques, portfolio skills and self-reflection is important in terms of independent study at this level as well as facilitating a positive learning experience

Students are encouraged to conduct independent research related to the Business Studies Applications using ICT skills, so that they can begin to compile their own resource list and also prepare themselves for further and more complex activities later in the course

1 Applications of ICT in Business Studies Applications

  • Information, communication and technology (ICT) comprises core skills for learning.
  • Utilisation of methods , tools and strategies of ICT to establish and maintain a sound working relationship with tutors and the college.
  • Development of ICT skills in order to communicate effectively and maximise study progression.

2 ePortfolio constructs

  • Setting up an ePortfolio for use during the lifetime of the course for storage of files including coursework, self-assessment activities, independent research notes and reflective journals.
  • The ePortfolio may be requested from time to time by tutors and moderators. Learners will be asked at various points in the course to upload files for this purpose.
  • A structured system of unique information but once completed can be used as a resource for continuing professional development (CPD), and a body of revision for future studies.

3 Independent web based research

  • Independent research to equip students with confidence to source and evaluate information relevant to the core course topics within Business Studies Applications
  • Develop tools and strategies with which to begin to undertake independent research and integrate this into coursework activities, for example suggesting ways to read research articles and assimilate types of information from these.

4 Principles of self-assessment and reflective writing

  • The development of knowledge and understanding through writing skills for communicating ideas and arguments to tutors and other readers of written work.
  • Reviews of writing skills
  • Reflective writing skills and practice
  • Promotion of pro-active implementation of skills enhancement through tutor feedback and self-assessment

Level 4 Accredited Business Studies Diploma Unit 2: Financial planning in business

The aim of this unit is to give learners an opportunity to study the principles and practices of financial planning within business application. Financial planning underpins business ethos and practice, therefore learners are encouraged to develop knowledge and understanding of the core processes presented in the unit and to engage in independent research in order to expand analytical skills

Unit content

1 Cost and profit

  • Output and input
  • Assessing and monitoring cost and profit
  • Fixed, variable and semi-variable cost and profit
  • Case study examples
  • Processes for increasing revenue

2 Break even analysis

  • Overview and formulae
  • Margins of safety
  • Concepts of contribution
  • Case study examples
  • Strengths and weaknesses of the analysis and application

3 Cash flow forecasting

  • Construction of cash flow forecasts
  • Examples
  • Opening balances, cash inflows and outflows, net cash flow
  • Closing balances
  • Using cash flow forecasting as a business planning tool
  • Case study examples

4 Budgeting

  • Definition and examples
  • Control of budgets
  • Delegating responsibility
  • How budgets are set and managed
  • Benefits: organisational, motivational
  • Advantages and disadvantages of budget setting
  • Assessing start up costs using SMART objectives
  • Case studies

Level 4 Accredited Business Studies Diploma Unit 3: Structure, risk and enterprise

The aim of this unit is to provide learners with the opportunity to study how business is structured, its hierarchy, chain of commands and how risk and enterprise are incorporated into productivity and performance. The unit also aims to provide learners with an opportunity to learn about different processes for maintaining organisational structure and thus efficacy of business applications

Unit content

1 Enterprise

  • Outline of enterprise concepts, processes and incorporation into business applications
  • Competitor behaviour
  • Nature of demands in business
  • Cash flow and unforeseen expenditure relevant to enterprise activities
  • Control and monitoring
  • Customer reliance and its impacts

2 Variance analysis

  • Definition and application with examples
  • Favourable and adverse variances
  • Example case studies

3 Trading processes

  • Overtrading
  • Fixed and stock assets
  • Improving cash flow related to risk
  • Changes in external environments and impacts on trading
  • Measuring profits related to margins, gains and returns

4 Organisational structure

  • Hierarchy and chain of command
  • Responsibilities
  • Communication within organisations
  • Span of control
  • Delegation pathways
  • The workforces: performance, effectiveness and productivity levels

Level 4 Accredited Business Studies Diploma Unit 4: Job analysis and operational management

The aim of this unit is to provide learners with an opportunity to explore operational management processes, procedures and practices in business applications. This involves exploration of job analyses, methods of management process and application of operational systems. Recruitment has a specific unit, and although recruitment will be briefly discussed in the context of operational management it will not be covered in detail within this unit

Unit content

1 Job analysis

  • Job structures and process
  • Job descriptions and expectations
  • Relationship of job to operational process
  • Person specifications
  • Example case studies

2 Operational targets

  • Capacity utilisation
  • Formulae and equations
  • Unit costing and examples
  • Competitiveness

3 Quality measurements

  • Production demands and spare capacity
  • Market and pricing
  • Rationalisation strategies
  • Sub-contracting strategies
  • Non-standard orders
  • Stock control strategies
  • Working with suppliers
  • Using technology

4 Quality systems

  • Objectives
  • Quality control, quality inspection, quality assurance, quality standards
  • TQM
  • Continuous improvement
  • Kaizen
  • Customer service expectations, monitoring, improvement, market research
  • Advantages and disadvantages of quality assurance
  • Case studies

Level 4 Accredited Business Studies Diploma Unit 5: Marketing and the competitive environment

The aim of this unit is to provide learners with an opportunity to explore marketing processes, principles and practice associated with business applications, and also to consider competitive environments and their impact and influence on business practices

Unit content

1 Principles of marketing

  • Focus of marketing
  • Aims and objectives
  • Business to business marketing
  • The Marketing Mix (4 ‘P’s)
  • Mass marketing
  • Niche marketing
  • Product development and the product lifecycle
  • Extension strategies and development
  • Product portfolio analysis and the Boston Matrix

2 Promotion

  • Sales promotion aims and objectives, processes and applications
  • Direct selling
  • Merchandising and branding
  • Public relations
  • Advertising strategies
  • Price: survival pricing penetration, price skimming, price leaders, price takers, price tactics, pricing decisions, PED formulae

3 Product placement

  • Disribution
  • Retail and mail order
  • Internet and e-commerce
  • Cost and target markets
  • Control strategies
  • Sales volume

4 Competitive processes

  • Research and development
  • Innovation, location, protectionism, free trade, globalisation and multi-site locations
  • Critical path analysis jargon, formulae and evaluation
  • Categorisation of markets and market conditions
  • Objectives and strategies related to corporate practice, functionality, stakeholder input and SMART process
  • Case study evaluation

Level 4 Accredited Business Studies Diploma Unit 6: The economy and business

The aim of this unit is to provide learners with the opportunity to study economic practices and processes related to business applications. Learners will be encouraged to engage in independent research of current fiscal policies and European and global influences on business practice and applications related to growth and development

Unit content

1 Principles of economic growth

  • GDP and GNP
  • The business cycle: peak or boom, recession, the multiplier effect, slump or trough, recovery and expansion
  • Economic variables: interest rates, exchange rates, effects of changes
  • Corporate objectives
  • Unemployment influences and impacts: frictional, seasonal, structural, cyclical
  • Inflation: demand pull and cost push

2 The role of government

  • Injections and withdrawals of financial support
  • Public sector goods and services
  • Fiscal policy
  • Monetary policy
  • Supply side policies
  • Disregulation
  • Privatisation

3 Technical developments

  • Advances and change
  • Network management
  • Production processes
  • Improvements in communication and collaborative processes in business applications
  • Intellectual property
  • Understanding the markets

4 The role of competition

  • Internal and external growth through mergers and takeovers
  • Vertical integration, forward integration, backward and vertical integration, horizontal integration
  • Creation of a conglomerate – historical perspectives and case study evaluation
  • The role of the Competition Commission
  • Managing change: strategic decisions, tactical decisions, Porters Five Competitive forces
  • Corporate planning
  • Contingency planning
  • Crisis management

Level 4 Accredited Business Studies Diploma Unit 7: Understanding the layers in business administration

The aim of this unit is to provide learners with an opportunity to explore the different layers with business administration and relate practice to application, objectives and organisational structure

Unit content

1 Business personnel

  • Overview of a range of business personnel, their placement within the layers of business administration and their roles and responsibilities including: PA, office managers, human resources, general administrators and office workers

2 Skills requirements

  • Overview of each role and the skills requirement to discharge role and responsibility. Discussion relating to ability and qualification related to experience

3 Leadership

  • Origins of leadership within business administration, and within each layer
  • Direction and alignment
  • Relationships and qualities
  • Empowerment and vision
  • Mastery
  • Empathy and values

4 Future roles and responsibilities

  • Evaluation of key historical leaders and their contributions
  • Consideration of the future of business administration: attributes, aims and objectives, motivation, global influence, technological advancement, opportunity and personal perceptions and expectations

Level 4 Accredited Business Studies Diploma Unit 8: Leadership: developing visionary concepts

The aim of this unit is to provide learners with the opportunity to examine visionary leadership practice related to theoretical concepts and models. This unit follows on from leadership discussions from unit 7 relating to business administration practices and expands the concepts and discussions to explore analytical perspectives and measurable performance strategies within visionary leadership

Unit content

1 Visionary leadership practice

  • Characteristics of innovators
  • Repetition, representation and assistance as visionary concepts
  • Effective decision making, strategic decision making, tactical decision making, operational decision making, multi criteria decision making
  • Group techniques
  • Steps in open-ended problem resolution
  • Self-directed techniques

2 Root cause analysis

  • Aims and objectives
  • Defining root cause analysis and its appropriate application
  • Steps in root cause analysis – causal factor checking, root cause identification, resolution strategies

3 Theories of leadership

  • Great Man Theory
  • Management leadership theories
  • Relationship theories
  • Process theories
  • Behavioural theories
  • Participative theories
  • Situational theories
  • Contingency theories

4 Models and approaches

  • Aims and objectives of approaches and models
  • Examples
  • Learning growth perspectives
  • Business process perspectives
  • Customer process perspectives
  • Financial process perspectives
  • Outsourcing perspectives
  • Appraisal and strategy development
  • Investment visions
  • Planning and control
  • Reporting and feedback


This Level 4 Accredited Business Studies Diploma can be used to gain entry to a Level 5 Diploma or Degree course in a related field.