Open MA / MSc
Do you want the freedom to create a personalised course of study across a range of academic disciplines? Then our innovative MA/MSc Open is ideal. This programme allows you to choose from cross-curricular modules and microcredentials to create a unique postgraduate qualification suited to your interests. It enables you to expand your discipline-related knowledge at masters level, gain broader subject-specific expertise, and pursue further professional development in areas that align with your specific employment needs and professional aspirations.
Key features of the course
Study across different subjects or specialise in one of four related areas of study
Offers the flexibility to design your own personalised programme of study
Tailor your studies to meet your personal interests or professional aspirations
Include professional development modules or industry-endorsed microcredentials in your study
To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits. There are two routes through this qualification.
Route 1: You can study 180 credits and specialise within one of the following broadly related study areas:
Arts, Humanities, Music and Language (Group 1)
Education, Psychology, Health Science and Healthcare (Group 2)
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (Group 3)
Business, Finance, Human Resources and Law (Group 4)
Route 2: You can choose to study a minimum of 120 credits within one study area (designated as your area of specialism for the masters), and take up to 60 credits from any other study area, including:
Further professional development options (Group 5)
Some restrictions or pre-requisite study may apply to certain modules or microcredentials. You should refer to the individual module/microcredential descriptions to ensure that you are adequately prepared to study.
MA/MSc Open Study Plan
You'll choose modules and microcredentials from the lists below.
The length and start dates of modules and Microcredentials may also vary, so we've created a Study Plan to help you map your route through the MA/MSc Open. The Study Plan will help you choose the route that best suits your professional needs or personal interests within the required time limit.
We're here to help if you need it; speak to an adviser to discuss your choices or see Building your MA/MSc Open for more details.
For module details go to https://www.open.ac.uk/postgraduate/qualifications/f81
Typically, you will need a bachelors degree or equivalent qualification relevant to your intended specialist area of study i.e. Art, Humanities and Languages (Study Area 1), Education, Psychology and Health Sciences (Study Area 2), Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (Study Area 3) and Business, Finance, Human Resources and Law (Study Area 4).
If you have other study or experience that you believe equips you to take this qualification you can still apply, but you must supply evidence of your study or experience. Your case will be referred to the Programme Admissions Team. Depending on your previous qualifications or experience, some background study may be necessary before registering for this qualification or its constituent modules and microcredentials. If your bachelors degree is not in a subject relevant to your intended area of specialisation for this masters degree, we would, for example, expect you to have completed at least 60 credits of study at FHEQ level 6 or equivalent that is relevant to your chosen specialist area, before you register for this qualification. For further advice, please contact us.
Any individual module or microcredential entry requirements (including prescribed study order, pre-requisite study or access to a particular work setting etc.) will need to be met separately, where specified. Please refer to individual module/microcredential descriptions to ensure that you meet the entry requirements for studying that course.
You will be required to present an outline of your proposed plan of study and your educational and career objectives. If your module/microcredential choices and objectives are better suited to specialised study within a defined area, we may recommend a relevant named degree programme.
You will need good computing skills and a level of proficiency in the English language that is adequate for study at postgraduate level. 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.
If you are new to postgraduate study, we would strongly recommend that you complete the free Badged Open Course, Succeeding in postgraduate study, in advance of your course start date. This free course (24 hours of study across eight sessions) will introduce you to the nature of masters level study and offers essential preparation for pursuing your learning at this level. You will also find this course helpful if you are re-engaging with postgraduate study after a period of absence from academic study.
2 - 3 years
How long it takes
The recommended pace of study is three years (for the majority of module combinations and routes through the qualification). Although it may be possible to complete this qualification in less than three years, we recommend that you take no more than 90 credits a year due to the demands that studying the degree will make on you.
Module and microcredential start dates do vary and, depending on your study choices, the minimum time taken to complete the qualification may be more than three years. Study durations will also vary, and you can expect to study for different lengths of time depending on the module or microcredential:
Typical 15-credit postgraduate microcredential requires 13 study hours over 12 weeks.
Typical 30-credit module typically requires 300 study hours (8-10 hours per week of study) over up to 32 weeks
Typical 60-credit module typically requires 600 hours of study (16–20 hours per week of study) over up to 32 weeks
You must complete your qualification within eight years.
Post Course Info
This multidisciplinary programme may support a variety of career prospects in both public and private sectors, including (but not limited to) education, science, humanities, business, healthcare, journalism, public relations. However, given that your study would be self-designed the possibilities will depend on your particular choices. The degree can be used to inform or strengthen your current employment or professional practice. Alternatively, it could prepare you for many different areas, so if you are thinking of boosting your current prospects or intending to move into a new area, it would be important that you design a programme that suits your specific career needs.
This programme is intended for students with broader interests in several fields or for those whose career goals do not match fully with a single academic area or named degree. It is not a substitute for specialised training concentrating on a single area but recognises that career aspirations and interests can extend across traditional boundaries and specialisations, and supports students seeking a qualification offering a breadth of skills and knowledge crossing traditional boundaries. 86% of graduate employers are interested in abilities rather than specific subjects studied, and the MA/MSc Open is an ideal way to showcase your abilities across a broad range of skills.
Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.