MSc in Science and Society
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This MSc course is for those who want to explore aspects of science and society at postgraduate level. It offers an opportunity to pursue contemporary issues in science communication, science education and public engagement with science, using the innovative teaching methods pioneered by The Open University, and to develop a wide range of skills associated with masters-level study. Two of the possible component modules are taught, but there is also a compulsory project module that allows you to undertake a substantial piece of independent research, based on the knowledge and skills you will have developed in the taught modules.
Planning your studies
To study for our MSc in Science and Society you must normally hold an honours degree in science or other relevant honours degree related to the modules of this qualification. Relevant honours degrees include communications, museum or media studies, science education, or qualifications in the history, philosophy or sociology of 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 that study or experience. Your case will be referred to our MSc in Science Admissions Panel. For further advice, email the postgraduate science team.
You will also need good computing skills (e.g. able to search the Web, use email, use word processing packages and take part in online forums). Please see the individual module descriptions to ensure that you are properly prepared before starting to study for this qualification.
All teaching is in English and your proficiency in the English language should be adequate for the level of study you wish to take. We strongly recommend that you have achieved an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of at least 7. To assess your English language skills in relation to your proposed studies you can visit the IELTS website.
We expect you, normally, to take no more than one module a year, and to complete the programme within seven years. We cannot guarantee that the same selection of modules will continue to be available.
You can take your chosen modules in any order, except that you are expected to have completed at least one of the taught modules – preferably both – before you undertake the project module. Your choice of topic for the project module must relate to the knowledge-based learning outcomes of one of the other modules you have passed.
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.
Career relevance and employability
Completing this qualification will equip you with a set of key transferable skills which will be relevant to current debates about science and society. You will learn to critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship in this field of study as well as evaluating a range of research methodologies. You will learn to deal with complex issues and make sound judgements and decisions in complex and unpredictable situations.
You will learn to communicate information and conclusions to specialist and non-specialist audiences 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 nature of this qualification will develop your independent learning skills and enhance your skills in searching, filtering and assessing the credibility of information from a range of sources, and communicating with others in both professional and academic contexts.
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.
For this 180-credit masters degree you require:
180 credits from the following compulsory modules:
Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules S802, S804
The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.
Credit for previous study elsewhere
If you have already completed some successful study at postgraduate level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this Open University qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible as it may affect your choice of OU modules. If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete your qualification with us.
Visit our Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.
On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded a Master of Science entitling you to use the letters MSc Sci Soc (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.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:
These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.
How to register
If you want to study for this qualification, read the description and check you meet any specific requirements (for example, some of our qualifications, require you to be working in a particular environment, or be sponsored by your employer). Then select the module you wish to study first and ensure it is suitable for you before following the registration procedure for that module. During the registration procedure you will be asked to declare which qualification you are studying towards.
See a full list of modules available for this qualification