Course type
Masters degree
Credits
180

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
Minimum – 3 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
Postgraduate loan available
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements
Find out more about
Entry requirements

MSc in Systems Thinking in Practice

Course code: F47

This MSc has the development of holistic thinking skills and the appreciation of multiple perspectives at its core. Systems thinking skills are relevant in many different areas, for example, business, engineering, environment, development, health, IT management, and organisation change. You’ll gain insights into how other people think about situations and learn how to apply concepts, tools and techniques developed by systems thinkers. The course will extend your ways of thinking and acting in practice to improve complex situations.

  • Offers you the choice of a research route or a professional route.
  • Both routes develop essential skills for addressing systems thinking issues systematically in your own context, and extend your knowledge of recent research and research methods.
  • Concludes with either a substantial piece of independent study on a topic of professional interest to you, or a more academic in-depth research project.
Course type
Masters degree
Credits
180

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
Minimum – 3 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
Postgraduate loan available
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

To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

Stage 1 (120 credits)

60 credits from:

Module 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.

60 credits from:

Module Credits Next start
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.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 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
Network security (T828)

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

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2024
Advanced networking (CCNA Enterprise) (T829)

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)

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
Principles of social and psychological inquiry (DD801)

This online module aims to equip you with critical research literacy skills that provide a crucial foundation for your continuing postgraduate studies within psychology and the social sciences.

See full description

Register
60 05 Oct 2024
Understanding global development (DD870)

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 (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 04 May 2024
Entrepreneurship in context (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 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)

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)

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
Advance your independent learning (YXM830)
This innovative module allows you to take a topic of your choosing and focus on it in depth while developing your postgraduate study skills.

See full description

Register
30 05 Oct 2024
Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules B716, B820, B821, B822, B823, B825, B856, B857, B858, BB835, BB844, BB845, BB846, BB847, BB848, H807, H808, S808, T826, T827, T835, T837, T839, T840, T846, T848, T850, T851, T852, T853, T860, T861, T862, T863, T867, T877, T878, T879, T882, T883, T889, T890, T894, TD866, TM893, TU870, TU871, TU872, TU875 and U810.

Stage 2 (60 credits)

You will choose either:

  • a research route
  • a professional route

Research route

60 credits from:

Compulsory module Credits Next start
Research project (T802)

This research module is the final part of an MSc; you’ll design your own research and submit a dissertation.

See full description

Register
60 01 Oct 2024

Professional route

60 credits from:

Compulsory module Credits Next start
MSc project: researching in context (T803)

T803 is the capstone module of multiple masters qualifications, during which you’ll complete a small research project.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2024
Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules T842 and T847.
Plus another 30 credits from the Stage 1 modules 30  

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.


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 Master of Science in Systems Thinking in Practice. You’ll be entitled to use the letters MSc Sys Prac (Open) after your name.

If your masters degree is awardable with a distinction or a merit, the qualification regulations explain how you can achieve these.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

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.

There are no entry requirements for this qualification.

However, some option modules do have entry requirements. We’ll ask you to prove you meet them when you register for any of these modules:

Although this qualification has no entry requirements, we recommend you have:

Our free course, Succeeding in postgraduate study, helps you develop the skills and confidence to manage the requirements and demands of postgraduate study.

Career relevance

Those with both professional interests and responsibilities in managing complex situations will find this masters qualification useful to them in their work. It will also provide the opportunity for those wanting to progress to demonstrate their potential to develop new skills. The flexibility of the choice of module allows you to tailor the content to your needs and can be applicable in a wide range of sectors; including health, education, environment, international development, community engagement, manufacturing, IT and science. The study of systems thinking and practice provides knowledge and understanding that is equally applicable in the public and private sectors. 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 they 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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