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This qualification explores some of contemporary science's most pressing issues and develops a wide range of skills associated with postgraduate study. The MSc includes taught modules and a compulsory final project module which gives you the opportunity to explore a topic in further depth, and undertake a substantial piece of independent research.

Key features of the course
• Flexible study routes to suit your professional needs and interests
• Options include Earth Science, Brain and Behavioural Science and Medicinal Chemistry
• Develops critical, analytical and research skills, boosting your career or preparing you for further studies at doctoral level.

Entry requirements

To study for the MSc in Science you must normally hold a UK honours degree (or equivalent qualification) in science. 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 your study or experience. 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. 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.


2 - 7 years.

It is possible to complete this qualification within two years, however we recommend that you take no more than 90 credits a year due to the demands that studying the degree will make on you. The recommended pace of study three years. To study a 30-credit module requires 8-10 hours per week and a 60-credit module requires 16-20 hours per week of study, over a 32 week period. As S825 runs for 28 weeks, this will require 10-11 hours per week. The maximum time to complete is seven years.

Number of credits

180 credits

Careers or further progression

Career relevance
Completing this qualification will equip you key transferable skills which will be relevant to your career, 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 (including professional) audiences, demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a postgraduate 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.

You can find 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.

Further enquiries

Tel: (01) 678 5399
Fax: (01) 678 5442

Subjects taught

If you are new to postgraduate level study we recommend that you take Developing research skills in science (S825) as your first module. You should study the project module last.

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

120 credits of optional modules from List A:

List A: Optional modules

Credits Next start
Developing research skills in science (S825) 30 07 Oct 2017 FINAL
Molecules in medicine (S807) 60 27 Jan 2018
Earth science: a systems approach (S808) 60 27 Jan 2018
Concept to clinic (S827) 30 07 Oct 2017
Introduction to mental health science (S826) 60 27 Jan 2018
Space science (S818) 60 27 Jan 2018

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules BS811, DS871, ES821, S802, S803, S804, S809, S811, S819, S820, SD805, SD815, SEH806, SH804.

Or 90 credits from List A plus 30 credits from List B:

List B: Optional modules

Credits Next start
Capacities for managing development (T878) 30 01 May 2017
Making environmental decisions (T891) 30 01 May 2017
Managing for sustainability (T867) 30 01 May 2017
Project management (M815) 30 01 May 2017
The critical researcher: educational technology in practice (H819) NEW 30 01 Apr 2017
The networked practitioner (H818) 30 07 Oct 2017

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules D830, D831, D832, D843, E827, E845, ET821, H804, H805, T830, T833, T834, T835, T838, T839, T860, T861, T862, T863, TXX861, TUXX863


a 60-credit compulsory module:

Compulsory module

Credits Next start

MSc project module (S810) 60 04 Nov 2017

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.


On completion
On successful completion of the required modules you will be awarded a Master of Science entitling you to use the letters MSc Science (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.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!