Course type
Certificate
Credits
60

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.
How long it takes
1–2 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements
Find out more about
Entry requirements

Postgraduate Certificate in Systems Thinking in Practice

Course code: C72

This certificate will change how you think about situations. It will teach you to think holistically and understand stakeholders’ roles while considering the interconnectedness of the problem’s components. You’ll discover how to relate the ideas of systems thinkers to your practice and learn to recognise that each person brings a perspective. The course will introduce you to appreciating multiple perspectives and working collaboratively on problem solutions.

  • 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.
Course type
Certificate
Credits
60

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.
How long it takes
1–2 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements
Find out more about
Entry requirements

How to register

Select the module you will study first, read the full description, and follow the instructions to register.

Modules

There are two routes through this qualification:

  • Route 1 is for students who will start their studies after May 2024.
  • Route 2 is for students who will start/started their studies in May 2024 or earlier. If you’re following this route, you must complete your studies by 31 December 2025.

Route 1

To gain this qualification, you need 60 credits as follows:

60 credits from:

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 2024
Managing change with systems thinking in practice (TB872)

This module is about effecting systemic and systematic change in uncertain and complex situations, change that can transform situations for the better.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2024
Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules TU811 and TU812

Route 2

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.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2024
Managing change with systems thinking in practice (TB872)

This module is about effecting systemic and systematic change in uncertain and complex situations, change that can transform situations for the better.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2024
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 2024
Managing change with systems thinking in practice (TB872)

This module is about effecting systemic and systematic change in uncertain and complex situations, change that can transform situations for the better.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2024
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.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2024
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.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2024
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.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2024
Sustainable organisations: theory and practice (T892)

This module provides the background knowledge and a practical skill-set to lead the way in transforming or creating sustainable organisations of the future.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2024
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.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2024
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.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2024
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.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2024
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.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2024
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.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2024
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.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2024
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.

See full description

Register
60 01 Nov 2024
Global development in practice (D890) 1

Engage with complex and contested processes, policies and practices involving global development and gain a clearer understanding of the role of development manager.

See full description

Register
60 05 Oct 2024
Understanding global development (DD870) 1

This module introduces global approaches to contemporary development issues such as poverty, inequality and environmental sustainability, equipping you with the analytical tools to critically examine and respond to these challenges.

See full description

Register
60 05 Oct 2024
Financial markets and the financing of organisations (B815)

This module covers the core areas of corporate finance and investments, providing a basis for developing specialist financial expertise.

See full description

Register
30 02 Nov 2024
Sustainable creative management (BB851)

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

See full description

Register
15 04 May 2024
Entrepreneurship in context (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.

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 2024
Leadership and management of public services (BB852)

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

See full description

Register
15 04 May 2024
Contemporary issues in organisations (BB853)

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

See full description

Register
15 02 Nov 2024
Managing in a changing world (B870) 2

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

See full description

Register
30 04 May 2024
Creating and sustaining value (B872) 3

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

See full description

Register
30 04 May 2024
Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules B820, B821, B822, B823, B825, B856, B857, B858, BB844, BB845, BB846, BB847, BB848, H807, H808, S808, T835, T837, T839, T840, T846, T848, T850, T851, T852, T853, T861, T862, T863, T867, T877, T878, T879, T882, T883, T889, T890, T894, TD866, TU811, TU812, TU870, TU871, TU872 and U810.
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.
2Managing in a changing world (B870) has entry requirements.
3Creating and sustaining value (B872) has entry requirements.

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.


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 14 March 2023.

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 you may take to complete this qualification is one year.
  • The maximum time you may take to complete this qualification is eight 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.

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