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Postgraduate Diploma in Systems Thinking in Practice

This diploma course develops your ability to approach and tackle complex, messy problem situations, providing practical tools that will help bring new perspectives and approaches to problem solving. It may well change how you think about a task and situation. You will consider the roles other people play, reflect on your own and others’ practice and assess how the different components within a situation are related. You will develop the skills to think more holistically and to work more collaboratively with others, in order to move towards effective solutions and avoid systemic failures. 

Key features of the course

  • Encourages fresh ways of thinking about and approaching complex tasks and situations
  • Develops the tools and skills needed to tackle problem situation holistically, effectively and ethically.
  • The opportunity to top up to our MSc in Systems Thinking in Practice in just one more year.

Diploma

Course code
E28
Credits

Credits

  • 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.
120
How long it takes
Minimum – 2 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details

Modules

To gain this qualification, you need 120 credits as follows:

60 credits of compulsory modules:

Compulsory modules Credits Next start
Thinking strategically: systems tools for managing change (TU811)

Improve your management skills by exploring different approaches to engaging with complex situations and by developing your understanding of how cognitive processing shapes practice.

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30 01 May 2019 FINAL
Managing systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction (TU812)

Develop your understanding of systemic inquiry, systemic action research and social learning in order to extend your skills of project, programme and change management.

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Register
30 01 Nov 2018

Plus 60 credits from this list

Please see the module descriptions for any specific entry requirements before making your choice.

Optional modules Credits Next start
Advanced routing - CCNP 1  (T824)

This module provides the knowledge, understanding and skills to deploy and manage internal and external routing protocols for large scale inter-networks using Cisco equipment.

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30 01 May 2019 FINAL
Capacities for managing development (T878)

This module builds the competence and confidence to manage development, local and global, more effectively, and bring about greater social equality and justice. 

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30 01 Nov 2018
Conflict and development (T879)

Combining theoretical concepts with practical tools, this module explores the causes of conflict, the impact conflicts have on development, and actions that can help mitigate conflicts.

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30 01 Nov 2018
Continuing professional development in practice (U810)

This module allows you to evaluate and assess 150 hours prior learning and identify and progress appropriate development opportunities for future continuing professional development. 

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30 03 Nov 2018
Data management (M816)

Discover the data management principles, practices and technologies required to develop policies, procedures and systems that control, protect, deliver and enhance the value of an organisation’s data asset.

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30 01 Nov 2018
Development: context and practice (T877)

This module provides a conceptual framework for analysing the complex, contested contexts in which development takes place, and a critical analysis of development management practice.

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30 01 Nov 2018
Digital forensics (M812)

This module will help you understand how to conduct investigations to correctly gather, analyse and present digital evidence to both business and legal audiences.

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30 01 May 2019 FINAL
Earth science: a systems approach (S808)

Introduces a systems approach to Earth science and explores several important Earth system interactions using a variety of methods and models.

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60 26 Jan 2019 FINAL
Entrepreneurship: experience and perspective (BB846)

This module looks at the challenges of creating and developing entrepreneurial ventures and helps you develop your own venture or engage with other entrepreneurial organisations.

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15 03 Nov 2018
Information security (M811)

Explore the professional and technical skills necessary to understand, document, manage and implement strategic and operational aspects of your organisation's information security.

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30 01 Nov 2018
Institutional development: conflicts, values and meanings (TU872)

This module analyses institutions, identifies their significance for development, examines how to build inter-organisational relationships, and explores the skills of mapping, modelling, negotiation and brokering.

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30 01 Nov 2018
Leadership and management in intercultural contexts (BB848)

This module examines the conceptions of leadership and management in different cultures and the expectations these raise in different cultural settings.

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15 03 Nov 2018
Leading healthcare improvements (K827)

This module will help you develop leadership skills in relation to healthcare improvements, innovation and policy.

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60 06 Oct 2018 FINAL
MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (B716)

This MBA module will enable you make a real difference within your management practice and provide a good grounding in the core disciplines of management.

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60 03 Nov 2018
MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (fast-track)* (BXFT716)

This MBA module will enable you make a real difference within your management practice and provide a good grounding in the core disciplines of management.

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60 06 Oct 2018
Making environmental decisions (T891)

Defining environment to include biophysical, social, political, economic factors, this module uses a systems framework to integrate environment with other elements in environmental decision-making situations.

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30 01 Nov 2018
Management beyond the mainstream (BB847)

This module looks at some important limitations of mainstream management thinking and explores a variety of alternatives to it – some longstanding, some recently developed.

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15 03 Nov 2018
Managing for sustainability (T867)

This module will increase your understanding of delivering and supporting sustainability management in your workplace or support your personal interest in this subject.

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30 01 Nov 2018
Managing technological innovation (T848)

This module explores the processes that underpin technological innovation an understanding of which is crucial whether you are a user or producer of technological innovation.

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30 01 Nov 2018
Manufacture materials design (T805)

Introducing materials processing from the perspective of a design engineer, this module explores how to make components, focusing on the interactions between manufacturing, materials and design.

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30 01 May 2019
Marketing in the 21st century (BB844)

This module explores the issues that emerge from marketing planning and uses current theories and examples to show how organisations deal with environmental challenges.

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15 03 Nov 2018
Multi-layer switching - CCNP 3 (T826)

This module will give you with the knowledge, understanding and skills to deploy reliable, scalable and secure multilayer-switched campus LANs using Cisco equipment.

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30 01 May 2019
Network security (T828)

This module will give you the knowledge, understanding and practical experience of managing a secure communication across a large-scale inter-network using Cisco equipment.

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30 01 Nov 2018
Optimising networks - CCNP 4  (T827)

This module will give you the knowledge, understanding and skills to optimise communication on large-scale data networks using Cisco equipment.

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30 01 Nov 2018
Project management (M815)

In this online module you’ll explore the whole life cycle of projects, from initiation, through to planning, scheduling, execution, handover and review.

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30 01 May 2019
Software development (M813)

Gain the fundamental knowledge and understanding, and analysis and synthesis skills that you will need to develop software artefacts fit for a real-world organisational context.

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30 01 May 2019
Software engineering (M814)

Explore the advanced concepts and techniques used throughout the software life cycle, for the effective production and management of large, complex, and long-lived software systems.

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30 01 Nov 2018
Strategic capabilities for technological innovation (T849)  

This module draws on a range of theoretical perspectives from both strategic and innovation management to produce a multi-layered, practical, approach to strategic management of technological innovation.

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30 01 Nov 2018
Strategic human resource management (BB845)  

This module explores the different aspects of human resource management and helps you understand and influence decisions regarding the management of human resources within organisations.

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15 03 Nov 2018
Sustainable creative management (BB842)  

This module explores creative, innovative and sustainable ways of developing and managing organisations and offers practical approaches for developing yourself, your team and your organisation.

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15 03 Nov 2018

*This version is for accelerated study and requires you to devote 20-25 hours a week to your studies.

Subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules B820, B821, B822, B823, B825, B856, B857, BZX820, BZX821, BZX822, BZX823, BZX825, H807, T835, T837, T839, T840, T846, T850, T851, T852, T853, T860, T861, T862, T863, T882, T883, T889, T890, T894, TD866, TM893, TU870, TU871, TU875, TUXX870, TUXX871, TUXX872, TUXX875, TXX863*This version is for accelerated study and requires you to devote 20-25 hours a week to your studies.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 40 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.


We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 8th June 2018.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.

Credit transfer

If you have already completed some successful study at postgraduate level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this Open University qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible as it may affect your choice of OU modules. If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete your qualification with us.

Visit our Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.


On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Systems Thinking in Practice entitling you to use the letters PG Dip SysPrac (Open) after your name.

You may continue your studies and add a further 60 credits to your postgraduate diploma to gain an MSc in Systems Thinking in Practice (F47).

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

Entry requirements

To start this programme, you should normally hold a UK bachelors degree, or equivalent. It may be possible to demonstrate your ability to study at postgraduate level by successfully completing a module and linking your studies to the programme at a later date.

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum overall score of 6 and minimum score of 5.5 in each of the four components: reading, writing, speaking and listening under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the IELTS website for details.

Our badged open course, Succeeding in postgraduate study, will introduce you to the nature of Master's level study. It offers essential preparation for pursuing your learning at this level – and is free.

How long it takes

Most students study this qualification over two to three years. The minimum time to complete is two years. Because of the demands of study that the diploma will make on you, we recommend that you study no more than 60 credits in any 12-month period. There is no maximum time to complete but we cannot guarantee that the same selection of modules will continue to be available. Modules can count towards the diploma for a maximum of eight years after we have stopped presenting them.

Career relevance

The knowledge, skills and understanding developed through this postgraduate diploma can be applied in many different situations. They are particularly relevant to managing and innovation in areas of practice that range from business and consultancy to health and social care, environment and development to engineering, technology and information systems. The flexibility in choice of modules allows managers and other professionals from a range of industries covering the private and public sectors to choose complementary modules that will enable them to tailor their learning. Relevance can be found in most organisations where an understanding of complex situations is required. This qualification can be useful for those who wish to demonstrate their capacity to manage more complex situations and problems or by those already working in systems and processes who may need to update their skills. If you are self-employed you may also find the knowledge developed by studying this combination of modules provides the opportunity to take a more objective and innovative view of the systems you have already created and how to change these for the future.

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.