Skip to content
You are viewing information for England.  Change country.

MSc in Information Systems


Please note that this qualification is only available until 31 December 2016.

In order to claim this qualification you must have completed the required 180 credits by this time (including 120 credits from the Postgraduate Diploma in Information Systems (E10), which is no longer available to new students).

If you have any questions about your eligibility for this qualification please contact the Centre for Qualifications and Ceremonies on +44 (0)1908 653003 or by email.

The MSc in Information Systems course builds on your postgraduate diploma studies. It gives you the opportunity to pursue research in an aspect of information systems that is of particular interest to you and perhaps also to your organisation. The research course enables you to develop your capability to plan, organise and carry out an extended independent study at masters level. As well as extending your knowledge of recent research in your chosen area it will also build your skills in the written communication of research work.

Information and communication technologies are rapidly changing the way organisations conduct their business. Creating information systems to support a networked economy challenges organisations to re-design their structures, skills and approaches, and information systems failures are not uncommon. Effective integration of business with technology is critically important and this MSc course helps you develop this perspective and implement it in practice.

The information systems (IS) programme offers a series of self-standing modules which enable you to operate effectively in this fast-changing world and can count towards a postgraduate certificate and diploma and lead to  this MSc in Information Systems.

The IS programme provides:

  • a curriculum to meet the needs of professionals working with and managing complex information and communication systems
  • an exploration of current thinking about the fundamentals of IS and related domains: data and information, the nature of information systems and the technology that underpins modern IS
  • a practical guide to tools and techniques for use in the analysis, design, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Information Systems and an understanding of a context (or contexts) against which to judge their value
  • an understanding of the nature of IS failure and its causes and a particular means of analysis that promotes learning from failure with a view to preventing failure in the design, implementation and operation of information systems
  • an examination of IS evolution, based on the premise that the majority of information systems are evolved from some existing structure, rather than developed from scratch
  • in-depth study of one (or study of a range) of contexts relevant to the field of IS
  • the ability to apply IS thinking across a wide range of situations.

The MSc course provides the opportunity to do research and a dissertation as a means of demonstrating synthesis of understanding, and allowing students to extend their understanding of the field.

Planning your studies

You must complete the Postgraduate Diploma in Information Systems (E10) before studying for MSc in Information Systems course.

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 score of 6 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the IELTS website for details.

Time limit:

  1. This qualification is only available until 31 December 2016 and you need to have completed the required 180 credits by this time.
  2. Modules will count towards this degree for a maximum of eight years after we have stopped presenting them. We cannot guarantee that the same selection of modules will continue to be available.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that the 60 credits from Research project (T802) must be unique to this qualification and not already counted towards any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

Career relevance and employability

Information systems are critical to the performance of all large organisations and it follows that effective information systems professionals are extremely valuable employees. Our information systems qualifications provide you with the knowledge and tools that can transform your performance in your information systems management role and make a huge contribution to the performance of your organisation. You will develop a range of job-related and transferable skills such as communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, and the adaptability to cope with rapid technological change. Employers are also impressed by the commitment and determination it takes to succeed with the OU while keeping up family and work commitments. These benefits, together with the opportunities to add value by applying your learning to the workplace as you study, make information systems programmes very attractive approaches to professional development.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.


For this 180-credit masters degree you require:

120 credits from the Postgraduate Diploma in Information Systems (E10) 

And 60 credits from the following compulsory module:

Postgraduate compulsory module Credits Next start
Research project (T802)

This research module enables you to gain an MSc by building on the postgraduate diploma that you already hold. You’ll develop and submit a dissertation.

See full description

60 Oct 2014

Learning outcomes

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, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.

Credit for previous study elsewhere

Credit transfer is not permitted for this MSc except for any awarded as part of the Postgraduate Diploma in Information Systems.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded an MSc in Information Systems, entitling you to use the letters MSc (IS) (Open) after your name.

If you obtain:

  • a distinction grade in the compulsory 60-credit project, in two of the four compulsory 15-credit modules and a merit or distinction grade in the other two 15-credit compulsory modules, you will be eligible to be awarded the degree with distinction
  • a merit grade in the compulsory 60-credit project, and a merit or distinction grade in all four of the compulsory 15-credit modules, you will be eligible to be awarded the degree with merit.

You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.

How to register

If you want to study for this qualification, read the description and check you meet any specific requirements (for example, some of our qualifications, require you to be working in a particular environment, or be sponsored by your employer). Then select the module you wish to study first and ensure it is suitable for you before following the registration procedure for that module. During the registration procedure you will be asked to declare which qualification you are studying towards.

See a full list of modules available for this qualification

About this Taught Masters
Code F37
Level Postgraduate
Made up of 180 credits

Get a prospectus

Download or