MSc in Professional Science
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The MSc in Professional Science is an innovative masters degree course designed to allow you to pursue advanced training in science, while simultaneously developing business and workplace skills highly valued by employers. This qualification enables you to explore scientific topics at postgraduate level and also have an interest in how science relates to the world of business. Most modules are taught, but there is also a compulsory project module where you will undertake a substantial piece of independent research which links science and professional skills. This degree is recognised by the international Professional Science Masters Programme.
There are a range of different study routes through this masters degree.
If you work in education
We suggest the following modules: Contemporary issues in science learning (SEH806), a science module related to your educational speciality and the MSc project module for MSc in Professional Science (SXB810).
This route would be appropriate if you are a teacher who wishes to extend your skills or if you work in public outreach for science employers. It would allow you to extend your knowledge of your field of science and also develop skills to critically assess literature on learning and teaching science; develop evaluation skills in reviewing examples of science teaching; gain experience using electronic means of communication, information searching and retrieval.
If you work in life sciences or healthcare
We suggest the following modules: Strategic management in life sciences and healthcare (S811), a science module related to your speciality (Contemporary issues in brain and behaviour (SD815); Molecules in medicine (S807); Imaging in medicine (S809)) and the MSc project module for MSc in Professional Science (SXB810).
This route would be appropriate if you work in healthcare and allied professions, biomedical or life science industries. It would allow you to extend your knowledge within your chosen field of science as well as learning about the strategic, business and operational aspects of the life science and healthcare industries.
If you have managerial responsibilities or work in a business environment
We suggest the following modules: MBA stage 1: management: perspectives and practice (B716), a science module related to your educational speciality and the MSc project module for MSc in Professional Science (SXB810).
This route would be appropriate if you are a science graduate working in a range of business settings. It would allow you to extend your knowledge of your field of science and learn, develop and consolidate your understanding of the principal management functions (managing people and organisations; accounting; marketing; operations; project and change management).
If you work in science communication
We suggest the following modules: Communicating science in the information age (SH804), a science module related to your educational speciality and the MSc project module for MSc in Professional Science (SXB810).
This route might be appropriate if you work in science publishing or as journalist or science reviewer or work in the communications area of a business environment. It would allow you to extend your knowledge of your field of science and you will develop an understanding of how and why the sciences are communicated; develop skills in the study of science communication and consider ways in which contemporary communication of scientific information influences scientific citizenship.
Planning your studies
To register on any of the MSc in Professional Science modules you must, normally, hold an honours degree (or equivalent qualification) in science or a science-related subject. 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 need good computing skills (e.g. able to search the Web, use email, use word processing packages. Some modules also require you to be able to carry out mathematical manipulations (e.g. algebraic rearrangement of equations, use exponentials and logs). 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.
You must study both of the optional 60-credit modules before you undertake the project module. Each module is worth 60 credits, so you will study 180 credits in total.
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 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 for the workplace 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 and unpredictable situations.
You will learn to communicate information and conclusions to specialist and non-specialist audiences including business audiences, demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level.
The nature of this qualification will develop your independent learning skills and enhance your ICT skills in locating information and communicating with others in both professional and academic contexts.
This degree is recognised by the international Professional Science Masters Programme.
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:
60 credits from the following optional modules
Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules S819, SD805
And a further 60 credits from the following optional modules
Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules B713, BS811
And 60 credits from the following compulsory module
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 an MSc in Professional Science entitling you to use the letters MSc PSM (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