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MSc in Systems Thinking in Practice

Course Description

MSc in Systems Thinking in Practice

This MSc course builds on your diploma studies and provides you with the opportunity to carry out an investigation into an aspect of systems thinking that is of personal or professional interest to you or conduct a more academic in-depth research project. Both routes will enable you to extend your knowledge of recent research in your chosen area and become competent in relevant research methods. It will also develop your capability to plan, organise and carry out an extended independent study at masters level.

This MSc course looks at the way you think and naturally approach a task or situation. Every person 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; to consider the roles other people play; to assess how all the different components within that situation are related; and to provide you with the skills to think more holistically and to work more collaboratively to avoid systemic failures.

Career relevance

Those with both technical and social 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, international development, 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.

Visit the MSc in Systems Thinking in Practice page on the Open University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

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.


Entry Requirements

You need to complete the Postgraduate Diploma in Systems Thinking in Practice (E28) in order to be able to study the MSc in Systems Thinking in Practice. Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study.

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