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Research project

This will be the final module in your chosen MSc, building on your existing postgraduate diploma. You’ll design a research proposal by identifying and developing a research problem relevant to your MSc. Your research will involve a literature review, original data collection, data analysis and the drawing of conclusions. You will then communicate the outcome of your research by writing up and submitting your dissertation. The module is online and support is available to you at every stage from the online study materials, your supervisor and online forums. Early registration is recommended as you will need to complete preparatory work before the module starts.


T802 is a compulsory module in our:

T802 is an optional module in our:

This module can also count towards F05, which is no longer available to new students.

Postgraduate Loans

If you study this module as part of an eligible qualification, you may be eligible for a Postgraduate Loan. For more information, see Fees and funding.

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with an adviser before registering.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level

Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.

OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

The module provides an opportunity to pursue research in a topic of your choice based within the broad area of your MSc study. Undertaking the research will enable you to:

  • investigate in depth an issue or problem of professional relevance to yourself and which may also be of relevance to an organisation such as an employer, institution or public body
  • develop your knowledge of recent research in your chosen topic
  • become competent in research methods appropriate to your research topic
  • develop the capacity to plan, organise and carry out an extended independent study at masters level
  • develop skills in the written communication of research work at masters level.

During your study of this module you will learn how to:

  • develop a research proposal
  • carry out a literature search and write a critical state-of-art review
  • select suitable research methods and integrate them within a research methodology
  • carry out research processes
  • analyse results to form conclusions
  • write-up your research in the form of reports (assignments) and a dissertation.

Your research topic will depend very much on your own knowledge and experience and on the modules you took in your diploma, and must be in an appropriate area relating to the subject of your MSc. Note for the MSc in Computing there are specific requirements for the research topic that you choose; guidance on this is available on the module website after you register.

A supervisor will be appointed to help you develop a formal proposal appropriate for MSc-level work and advise you throughout the research phase.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will be assigned a supervisor with broad knowledge and skills relevant to your research topic. Your supervisor will advise you during the initial stage of developing a research proposal. You will submit an initial proposal three weeks after module start and then begin the process of refining this over the ensuing two months. You will be required to produce at least three iterations of the proposal prior to the deadline for final submission of proposals. This deadline is approximately three months after module start. Your supervisor will then continue to support you throughout the rest of your research.

You will also have access to our online forums. Communication with your supervisor will be mainly through email and telephone. You are encouraged to plan your communication with your supervisor to suit your research plan.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register


The assessment details can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper. The final dissertation (EMA) must also be submitted online.

Your research proposal has to be approved before you can continue to the research phase. In the research phase you will submit three assignments (TMAs) at intervals of approximately three months.

We expect you to submit your assignments online through the eTMA system. The submission date for the dissertation will be during the final month of the 12-month period of the module.

Course work includes

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Future availability

Research project (T802) starts twice a year – in February and October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018 and February 2019. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2020.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Essential Documents website.

    Entry requirements

    To study this module you need to have declared your intention to study one of the qualifications listed below and already hold a postgraduate diploma in the relevant programme of study:

    You can register for this module (T802) while you are completing the final module of your diploma or at any time after successful completion, taking account of any time limits for these qualifications. Please see the individual qualification descriptions for time limit details. Your module fee is fully refundable if you withdraw before the module start date.

    Before module start you will need to decide whether you wish to propose your own topic or select a topic from a list of suggested topics put forward by OU academic staff. Please note that the OU staff topics may not be available in every subject area. See Preparatory work below for further information about what to do before the module starts.

    Alternative route to completing your MSc

    There are two study routes – a final research project module (T802) or a professional project module (T847) – for the following masters degrees:

    • MSc in Advanced Networking
    • MSc in Computing
    • MSc in Environmental Management
    • MSc in Systems Thinking in Practice
    • MSc in Technology Management.

    Both project modules offer a rigorous approach to solving complex real world problems and enable you to gain essential skills for undertaking research in your own organisation or wider contexts.

    If you prefer a more business-oriented MSc, you should consider taking The MSc professional project (T847), a 30-credit module lasting six months. The study for T847 is of reduced scope in comparison with this module, with the necessary constraints this implies, but does offer the flexibility to complete your qualification with a further 30-credit module.

    This 12-month research project module (T802) allows more depth and develops your academic research skills further.

    If you are studying towards more than one masters degree, you will need to complete a separate project for each qualification.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    Preparatory work

    We recommend that you register early to allow time for completing the preparatory work required prior to the start of this module.

    After you register and before the module starts:

    • you will be asked to provide a synopsis of your research topic (at least seven weeks before the module start date) so that we can allocate you to an appropriate supervisor
    • you will have access to our Preparing for T802 website, which gives essential information, including advance copies of module materials, how to prepare and submit your synopsis, and submission deadlines (you can find a link to this website from your StudentHome page). 

    The T802 Future Studies forum on the Preparing for T802 website is the place for any questions about this module in general or any questions about your research ideas.

    It is important that you allow plenty of time to read the material on the Preparing for T802 website and for preparing your synopsis. It is not a large document but it does take some reading and thought before you can complete this. You may also need to talk to your employer or other organisations to determine whether you can access any data/people that you need for your proposed research.

    This preparation will also help you to make a good start on this research project module and to understand how it is different from the taught modules that you have already completed.


    Start End England fee Register
    01 Oct 2018 Oct 2019 £2720.00

    Registration closes 30/07/18 (places subject to availability)

    01 Feb 2019 Apr 2020 £2720.00

    Registration closes 29/11/18 (places subject to availability)

    This module is expected to start for the last time in February 2020.

    Future availability

    Research project (T802) starts twice a year – in February and October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018 and February 2019. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2020.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    Ways to pay

    We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

    That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options. To find out more see Fees and funding.

    Study materials

    What's included

    All the learning material provided is online. It is possible for you to print out material should you so wish. Online databases for literature searching will be accessible via the OU Library website. You will need to use online forums for the research proposal development stage.

    You will need

    Use of the internet for: access to the dedicated website, submission of your tutor-marked assignments (eTMAs) and your final dissertation (EMA), access to our online library services including bibliographical databases to help you identify academic sources in your chosen topic area and access to the online forums.

    There are no set books but you may need books relevant to the research methodology you use. Note that useful material can be obtained without cost from semi-permanent online sources.

    You may find that some of the topics/subject areas require you to have access to and run additional software packages. If you choose such a topic you may need a machine with a higher specification than indicated in the standard computer specification.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module.  Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • macOS 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students. 

    If you have a disability

    You need to consider if there are any constraints in obtaining the type of information you need for your research. Otherwise, there are no further constraints beyond those encountered in obtaining your diploma.

    The core teaching material for this module will be delivered online via the module website, so you will need to spend considerable amounts of time using a personal computer and the internet. If either your sight or manual dexterity is seriously impaired, you may find using the web challenging. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet and have concerns about accessing this type of material you are advised to contact us about support that can be given to meet your needs.

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.