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Postgraduate Certificate in Systems Thinking in Practice

This certificate may change the way you think about the situations you face. You’ll learn to think more holistically, taking account the interconnectedness of all components making up the problem situation and working more collaboratively with others in the situation. You’ll find out how to relate the ideas of key systems thinkers to your own practice. The discipline of systems thinking gives you the tools to challenge your approach to complex situations; to assess the relationships of different components within a situation; to consider the roles different stakeholders play in the situation including yourself as a systems thinking practitioner; to recognise that each person brings with them their own perspective on a situation and to work with those multiple perspectives.

Key features of the course

  • Deepens your understanding of the nature of complex and messy problem situations and how they can be tackled
  • Helps you develop new ways of thinking about and approaching situations that cross multiple discipline and skill boundaries
  • Provides skills to think more holistically and work more collaboratively to avoid systemic failures.

This certificate is the first stage of a study programme that progresses to a postgraduate diploma and finally a masters degree. You can step off at any point, or study the whole programme.

Certificate

Course code
C72
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.
60
How long it takes
Minimum – 1 year
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 60 credits as follows:

30 credits from:

Core modules Credits Next start
Making strategy with systems thinking in practice (TB871)

TB871 builds capability for making strategy within your own chosen area of (professional) practice using ideas and tools from five traditions of systems thinking.

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30 01 May 2022
Managing change with systems thinking in practice (TB872)

This module is about effecting whole-system change, equipping you with skills to shape the nature and direction of change.

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Register
30 01 Nov 2022
Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules TU811 and TU812

30 credits from:

Optional modules Credits Next start
Making strategy with systems thinking in practice (TB871)

TB871 builds capability for making strategy within your own chosen area of (professional) practice using ideas and tools from five traditions of systems thinking.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2022
Managing change with systems thinking in practice (TB872)

This module is about effecting whole-system change, equipping you with skills to shape the nature and direction of change.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2022
Manufacture materials design (T805)

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

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Register
30 01 May 2022
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 May 2022
Technology innovation management (TB801)

This module examines innovation from a management perspective, enabling you to develop an understanding of how to contribute to the process and management of technological innovation.

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30 01 May 2022
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 May 2022 FINAL
Making environmental decisions (T891)

This module teaches you to use a systems framework to integrate environment with other considerations when making decisions in complex environmental management situations.

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30 01 Nov 2022
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 2022
Digital forensics (M812)

M812 covers the history of forensics, both criminal and criminal digital law, digital investigation techniques for desktop and mobile devices as well as forensic readiness.

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30 01 May 2022
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 2022
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 2022
Project management (M815)

This APM accredited module is ideal for aspiring project managers and practising project managers who wish to develop their knowledge and skills of managing technological projects.

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30 01 May 2022
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 2022
Network security (T828)

This module includes Cisco CCNA Security and Cyber Security Operations; explore information systems security management and secure internetworked systems.

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30 01 Nov 2022
Advanced networking (CCNA)  (T829) 1

In this postgraduate module, you’ll study the latest version of the CCNP curriculum, using an online virtual learning environment provided by Cisco.

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60 01 Nov 2022
Global development in practice (D890) 1

Discover the conceptual framework for analysing the contexts in which development takes place and development management practice.

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60 03 Oct 2022
Understanding global development (DD870) 1

This module introduces global approaches to contemporary development issues, equipping you with the analytical tools to critically examine and respond to these challenges.

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60 01 Oct 2022
Managing in a changing world (B870)

This module challenges existing assumptions about managing and will develop your theoretical and practical knowledge of how to manage in a modern dynamic environment.

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30 07 May 2022
Creating and sustaining value (B872)

This module allows you to critically explore the ways organisations create, sustain and expand value in an increasingly complex and dynamic business environment.

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30 07 May 2022
Entrepreneurship in context (BB851)

This module will equip you with an entrepreneurial mindset and help you learn about entrepreneurship as well as different forms of entrepreneurial practice.

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15 05 Nov 2022
Leadership and management of public services (BB852)

In this elective module you’ll study the many dimensions of managing public services, which may be public, private for-profit or not-for profit.

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15 07 May 2022
Contemporary issues in organisations (BB853)

This module will help you become a knowledge leader within your organisation by demonstrating that you’re ahead of current organisational and business challenges.

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15 05 Nov 2022
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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Register
30 01 May 2022
Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules B820, B821, B822, B823, B825, B856, B857, B858, BB844, BB845, BB846, BB847, BB848, BZA820, BZA821, BZA825, BZR820, BZR821, BZR823, BZR825, BZT820, BZT821, BZT822, BZT825, BZX820, BZX821, BZX822, BZX823, BZX825, H807, H808, S808, T835, T837, T839, T840, T846, T848, T850, T851, T852, T853, T861, T862, T863, T877, T878, T879, T882, T883, T889, T890, T894, TD866, TU811, TU812, TU870, TU871, TU875, TUXX870, TUXX871, TUXX872, TUXX875, TXX861, TXX863 and UYL810
1You may count only 30 credits from this 60-credit module towards this qualification. You can, however, count the remaining 30 credits toward the PG Diploma or the MSc.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 20 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.


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 successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Certificate in Systems Thinking in Practice. You’ll be entitled to use the letters PG Cert Sys Prac (Open) after your name.

You can progress from this Postgraduate Certificate in Systems Thinking in Practice to our Postgraduate Diploma in Systems Thinking in Practice (E28) or our 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. 


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 17 March 2021.

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.

Gaining some prior awareness, knowledge and experience of systems thinking will help you benefit more from the course material – for example, by engaging with open educational resources on OpenLearn. A complete list of systems thinking resources is available on our School of Engineering and Innovation pages.

How long it takes

The minimum time to complete is 1 year. The maximum time to complete is 8 years.

Career relevance

The knowledge and skills developed through this postgraduate certificate course will provide benefits in a wide variety of economic sectors to you as well as to your employers or other organisations. Applications exist in any organisation where complex processes exist and where a change is required, including, for example, health services, environmental and development management, manufacturing and IT. Managers at all levels will find the ability to approach complex problems from a systems perspective to be a useful addition to their management and leadership skills portfolio. If you are self-employed you may also find the knowledge developed enables you 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.