Part time See Course PgDip, PgCert, MSc Minimum 3 years distance learning

About the course

This MSc has the development of skills in holistic thinking, and appreciation of multiple perspectives at its core. These skills are relevant to many different domains: e.g. health, business, local government, environment, development, engineering, organisation change and IT management. You’ll gain insights into the range of ways in which other people think about particular situations and how to apply a wide range of concepts, tools and techniques developed by systems thinkers. You’ll also learn to appreciate and develop your own ways of thinking in practice, becoming aware of how you can act to bring about improvements in messy situations.

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

Read more about this course


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.


Course Content



Where is Open University


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Student Profile(s)

Arwen Bailey

I decided to change careers when I was 38. I’d been working as an English teacher and manager then I went to work for an agricultural research organisation. I had to start right at the bottom and it soon became apparent, talking to HR, that the best way I could get a promotion was to get a Master’s degree, related to our work in agricultural research for development.
I began with an MSc in International development management - but then I became intrigued by systems thinking so I moved into that and it allowed me to apply for the job I have now as a science editor.
After university I taught English as a foreign language. I spent three years in Japan then I met my husband, who’s Italian, and we set up home in Rome, where I’ve been living for the last 18 years. We have two children.
I first studied with the OU 16 years ago. Things have changed so much since then and now everything is online, which is much better.
I decided to register with the OU because I found the course content appealing and knew The OU had a very good reputation. The real joy of it is the flexibility and being able to squeeze those study hours into my normal working week and not having to stop work to do it.
The very first course I did was a basic one in development management and as the courses progressed though, I started getting into it more and more. By the time I did the research project I was in hook line and sinker.
My tutors were brilliant with a huge amount of knowledge and experience. My study groups would share experiences and give each other support. Some of the OU forums were brilliant. The forums for TU811 and TU812 particularly were really buzzing and stimulating.
As well as promotion at work I wrote the results of my Masters research up as an article and it got accepted in the peer reviewed Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension Then at the end of last year (2014) I heard it had been voted second best journal article of the year. It was wonderful to achieve this.
The best thing about an OU degree is that you study alone but you’re part of a very warm, friendly, community. The whole thing has been incredibly positive for me.


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