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MSc in Professional Science


This masters degree course will allow you to pursue advanced training in science, while simultaneously developing workplace skills highly valued by employers. The qualification enables you to explore scientific topics at postgraduate level and consider how science relates to professional development in leadership, management, business or innovation. The qualification includes taught modules and a compulsory project module where you will undertake a substantial piece of independent research, linking science and professional skills. The degree is recognised by the international Professional Science Masters Programme.There are two main routes through this qualification, and we would recommend that you follow the one that is best suited to your current employment or career interests.

There are a range of different study routes through this masters degree.

If you work in life sciences or healthcare

We suggest that you study these modules in the following in order: Strategic management in life sciences and healthcare (S811), and either Contemporary issues in brain and behaviour (SD815) or Molecules in medicine (S807) followed by the masters project module (SXB810).This route would be appropriate if you work in life science industries, or in healthcare, biomedical and allied professions. It will allow you to extend your knowledge within your chosen field of science as well as learning about the strategic, business and operational aspects of the life science and healthcare industries.

If you have managerial responsibilities or work in a business environment

We suggest that you study these modules in the following order: MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (B716), a science module related to your educational speciality: Contemporary issues in brain and behaviour (SD815), or Molecules in medicine (S807), or Earth science: a systems approach (S808); followed by the masters project module (SXB810) 

This route would be appropriate if you are a science graduate working in a range of business settings. It would allow you to extend your knowledge of your field of science and learn, develop and consolidate your understanding of the principal management functions (managing people and organisations; accounting; marketing; operations; project and change management).

Planning your studies

To study for the MSc in Professional Science you must normally hold an honours degree (or equivalent qualification) in science, or a science-related subject. If you have other study or experience that you believe equips you to take this qualification you can still apply, but must supply evidence of that study or experience. Your case will be referred to our MSc in Science Admissions Panel. For further advice, email the Science Postgraduate Team.

You will also need good computing skills and a level of proficiency in the English language that is adequate for study at postgraduate level. The following should give you some indication of the basic IT and language skills we expect students to have before enrolling on our postgraduate qualifications in science. Please refer to individual module descriptions to ensure that you are adequately prepared before starting to study for this qualification.

Proficiency in the use of English: All of our taught modules are in English and your proficiency in the English language should be adequate for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend that you have achieved an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of at least 7. You can assess your English language skills in relation to your proposed studies by visiting  the IELTS website.

You must study both of the optional 60-credit taught modules before you undertake the project module. Due to the demands that study of the degree will make on you, we recommend that you take no more than one module a year, and you will need to complete the programme within seven years. 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 you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

Career relevance and employability

This degree is recognised by the international Professional Science Masters Programme.

Completing this qualification will equip you with key transferable skills which will be relevant to your career and the workplace as well as providing you with a base of postgraduate level science knowledge and understanding. You will learn to critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship in your field of study as well as evaluating research methodologies. You will learn to deal with complex issues and make sound judgements and decisions in complex situations.

You will also learn to communicate information and conclusions to specialist and non-specialist audiences including business audiences, demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level.

The qualification will develop your independent learning skills, enhance your skills in locating information and communicating with others in both professional and academic contexts.

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:

60 credits from the following optional modules

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Communicating science in the information age (SH804)

See full description

Contemporary issues in science learning (SEH806)

See full description

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.

See full description

60 May 2015
Strategic management in life sciences and healthcare (S811)

Introduces you to the business and operational aspects of the life science industry and helps you understand the challenges and conventional wisdom within this industry.

See full description

60 Oct 2015

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules B713 or BS811. 

And a further 60 credits from the following optional modules

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Contemporary issues in brain and behaviour (SD815)

You will draw on biological, psychological and social sciences to investigate psychosis and dementia, conditions that are of major global health concern and socio-economic impact.

See full description

60 Jan 2016
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.

See full description

60 Jan 2016
Imaging in medicine (S809)

See full description

Molecules in medicine (S807)

Examine the molecular basis of drug action in medicine, covering topics like infectious diseases (bacterial and viral), cancer, heart disease, inflammation and neuropharmacology.

See full description

60 Jan 2016

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules S819, SD805

And 60 credits from the following compulsory module

Postgraduate compulsory module Credits Next start
MSc project module for MSc in Professional Science (SXB810)

Plan and carry out an investigation of your own choice with this masters-level project module in science, and develop essential skills like report writing.

See full description

60 Nov 2015

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

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. Please note that credit transfer will not apply to the MSc project module (SXB810).

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 will be awarded a Master of Science in Professional Science entitling you to use the letters MSc PSM (Open) after your name. The degree will be classified as pass, merit or distinction. 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 F60
Level Postgraduate
Made up of 180 credits

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The University wishes to emphasise that, while every effort is made to regularly update this site, the material on it is subject to alteration or amendment in the light of changes in regulations or in policy or of financial or other necessity.