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Systems Thinking in Practice

This MSc course explores the way we think about and approach tasks or situations. Everyone brings with them their own perspective, which means that we all see things in different ways. The discipline of systems thinking in practice will provide you with the tools to challenge your approach to complex situations, consider the roles other people play, and assess how different components within those situations are related. You will also develop the skills needed to think more holistically and work more collaboratively to avoid systemic failures.

Key features of the course
• 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.

Entry requirements

To start Stage 1 of this degree, 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.

Duration

Minimum - 3 years.

Most students study this qualification in three to four years in order to avoid overlaps in intensive periods of study. The minimum time to complete is three years but, because of the demands that study will make, we recommend that you study no more than 60 credits a year. There is no maximum time limit for completing this qualification but we cannot guarantee that the same selection of modules will continue to be available. Modules can count towards this MSc for a maximum of eight years after we have stopped presenting them.

Number of credits

180 credits

Careers or further progression

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.

There is 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
Email: ireland@open.ac.uk

Subjects taught

Course details
Suggested routes to the degree
You can take a number of different routes towards your qualification. The routes illustrated below are routes many students are using, or have already successfully followed.

Please bear in mind that other routes are available – see the full module list for all options.

Research route
You can take a number of different routes towards your qualification. The route illustrated below is a route many students are using, or have already successfully followed. Please bear in mind that other routes are available – see the full module list for all options.

•Thinking strategically: systems tools for managing change (TU811) - 30 credits
•Problem solving and improvement: quality and other approaches (T889) - 30 credits

You can now claim the Certificate.
•Making environmental decisions (T891) - 30 credits
•Managing systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction (TU812) - 30 credits

You can now claim the Diploma.
•Research project (T802) - 60 credits

You can now claim the Taught Masters.

If this route doesn't appeal to you, see the full module list for this qualification.

Business route
The module options available within this qualification mean that you could take a number of different routes towards your degree. The route illustrated below is a route that many students are using, or have already successfully followed. Please bear in mind that other routes may be available.

•Thinking strategically: systems tools for managing change (TU811) - 30 credits
•Problem solving and improvement: quality and other approaches (T889) - 30 credits

You can now claim the Certificate.
•Managing systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction (TU812) - 30 credits
•Making environmental decisions (T891) - 30 credits

You can now claim the Diploma.
•Managing for sustainability (T867) - 30 credits
•The MSc professional project (T847) - 30 credits

You can now claim the Taught Masters.

You can complete this qualification within 3 years, if you plan your modules appropriately.

If this route doesn't appeal to you, see the full module list for this qualification.

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

Stage 1

60 credits of compulsory modules:

Compulsory modules

Credits Next start

Thinking strategically: systems tools for managing change (TU811) 30 01 May 2017
Managing systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction (TU812) 30 01 Nov 2017

Plus

60 credits from List A:

Please see the module descriptions for any specific entry requirements before making your choice.

List A – optional modules

Credits Next start
Advanced routing - CCNP 1 (T824) 30 01 May 2017
Capacities for managing development (T878) 30 01 May 2017
Conflict and development (T879) 30 01 May 2017
Continuing professional development in practice (U810) 30 06 May 2017
Data management (M816) 30 01 Nov 2017
Development: context and practice (T877) 30 01 May 2017
Digital forensics (M812) 30 01 May 2017
Earth science: a systems approach (S808) 60 27 Jan 2018
Entrepreneurship: experience and perspective (BB846) 15 06 May 2017
Information security (M811) 30 01 Nov 2017
Institutional development: conflicts, values and meanings (TU872) 30 01 May 2017
Leadership and management in intercultural contexts (BB848) 15 06 May 2017
Leading healthcare improvements (K827) 60 07 Oct 2017
MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (B716) 60 06 May 2017
MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (fast-track)* (BXFT716) 60 01 Apr 2017
Making environmental decisions (T891) 30 01 May 2017
Management beyond the mainstream (BB847) 15 06 May 2017
Managing for sustainability (T867) 30 01 May 2017
Managing technological innovation (T848) 30 01 May 2017
Manufacture materials design (T805) 30 01 May 2017
Marketing in the 21st century (BB844) 15 06 May 2017
Multi-layer switching - CCNP 3 (T826) 30 01 May 2017
Network security (T828) 30 01 Nov 2017
Optimising networks - CCNP 4 (T827) 30 01 Nov 2017
Problem solving and improvement: quality and other approaches (T889) 30 01 May 2017
Project management (M815) 30 01 May 2017
Software development (M813) 30 01 May 2017
Software engineering (M814) 30 01 Nov 2017
Strategic capabilities for technological innovation (T849) 30 01 May 2017
Strategic human resource management (BB845) 15 06 May 2017
Sustainable creative management (BB842) 15 06 May 2017

* This version is for accelerated study and requires you to devote 20-25 hours a week to your studies.

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules B820, B821, B822, B823, B825, B856, B857, BZX820, BZX821, BZX822, BZX823, BZX825, H807, T835, T837, T839, T840, T846, T850, T851, T852, T853, T860, T861, T862, T863, T882, T883, T890, T894, TD866, TM893, TU870, TU871, TU875, TUXX870, TUXX871, TUXX872, TUXX875, TXX863

Completion of Stage 1 will entitle you to claim the Postgraduate Diploma in Systems Thinking in Practice (E28).

Plus

Stage 2
This MSc offers a choice of routes after you have completed Stage 1; a research route or a more business-oriented professional route.

60 credits from either the Research route or the Professional route:

Research route

Compulsory module

Credits Next start

Research project (T802) 60 01 Oct 2017

Professional route

Compulsory module

Credits Next start
The MSc professional project (T847) 30 01 Nov 2017

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued module T842

Plus an additional 30 credits from List A in Stage 1 above 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.

Comment

On completion
On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded an MSc in Systems Thinking in Practice entitling you to use the letters MSc Sys Prac (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

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