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MSc in Science

This MSc course offers an opportunity to examine some of contemporary science's most pressing issues and to develop a wide range of skills associated with masters-level study. You can choose any of the current modules within the postgraduate science programme, which means that you can tailor this MSc to suit your own interests. Our modules include areas such as earth science, medicinal chemistry, medical physics and science and society. Most modules are taught, but there is also a project module, enabling you to undertake a substantial piece of independent research. You can also include some options from other disciplines.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Career relevance and employability

Completing this qualification will equip you with a base of postgraduate level knowledge and understanding in science as well as providing you with a set of key transferable skills which will be relevant to your career. You will learn to critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship in your field of study as well as evaluating research methodologies. You will discover how 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 MSc course will develop your independent learning skills and enhance your ICT skills in locating information 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.

Modules

For this 180-credit masters degree you require:

120 credits from the following optional modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Communicating science in the information age (SH804)

Consider how science is communicated between professionals and to members of the public - from academic journals to popular science books, TV and news reports.

See full description.

60 Jan
Concept to clinic (S827)

This course provides an overview of the drug discovery and development process from a modern and historical perspective and introduces you to a range of issues in drug discovery.

See full description.

30 Oct
Contemporary issues in science learning (SEH806)

Investigate key issues in contemporary science teaching, including the influence of theories of learning; the purposes of science education; and using ICT to support learning.

See full description.

60 Jan
Developing research skills in science (S825)

This course helps you develop your knowledge and understanding of the research skills and techniques relevant to scientific study at postgraduate level.

See full description.

30 Oct
Earth science: a systems approach (S808)

Introduces a systems approach to earth science and explores several important earth system interactions using a variety of methods and models.

See full description.

60 Jan
Imaging in medicine (S809)

Explore the diagnostic and therapeutic use of medical imaging - including X-ray; ultrasound; magnetic resonance and radionuclide - and consider the risks and social issues involved.

See full description.

60 Jan
Molecules in medicine (S807)

Examine the molecular basis of drug action in medicine, covering topics like infectious diseases (bacterial and viral), cancer, heart disease, inflammation and neuropharmacology.

See full description.

60 Jan
Radiotherapy and its physics (S819)

Explore the application of physics to the techniques of radiotherapy in medicine (focusing on cancer), and consider the effects of ionising radiation on biological tissues.

See full description.

60 Jan

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules BS811, DS871, ES821, S802, S803, S804, S820, SD805

Or 90 credits from the above list plus 30 credits from the following optional modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Discourse analysis (D843)

This course focuses on the varied traditions around meaning-making, including socio-linguistics, conversation analysis, critical discourse analysis, discursive psychology and genealogical research.

See full description.

30 May FINAL
Environmental decision making: a systems approach (T863)

This course uses systems ideas to explore environmental decision-making situations, to make sense of their complexity and to look for feasible changes and action.

See full description.

30 May
Forensic engineering (T839)

This course analyses the problems arising from product failure caused by inadequate materials, poor manufacturing or bad design - and offers guidance on good product design.

See full description.

30 Nov
Managing for sustainability (T867) NEW

This course will increase your understanding of delivering and supporting sustainability management in your workplace or support your personal interest in this subject.

See full description.

30 May

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules D830, D831, D832, E827, E845, H804, H805, T830, T833, T834, T835, T838, T860, T861, T862, TXX861, TUXX863

And 60 credits from the following compulsory module:

Postgraduate compulsory module Credits Next start
MSc project module (S810)

Plan and carry out an investigation of your own choice with this masters-level project course in science, and develop essential skills like report writing.

See full description.

60 Nov

If you complete this 180-credit masters degree before 31 December , you require:

180 credits from the following optional modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Communicating science in the information age (SH804)

Consider how science is communicated between professionals and to members of the public - from academic journals to popular science books, TV and news reports.

See full description.

60 Jan
Concept to clinic (S827)

This course provides an overview of the drug discovery and development process from a modern and historical perspective and introduces you to a range of issues in drug discovery.

See full description.

30 Oct
Contemporary issues in science learning (SEH806)

Investigate key issues in contemporary science teaching, including the influence of theories of learning; the purposes of science education; and using ICT to support learning.

See full description.

60 Jan
Developing research skills in science (S825)

This course helps you develop your knowledge and understanding of the research skills and techniques relevant to scientific study at postgraduate level.

See full description.

30 Oct
Earth science: a systems approach (S808)

Introduces a systems approach to earth science and explores several important earth system interactions using a variety of methods and models.

See full description.

60 Jan
Imaging in medicine (S809)

Explore the diagnostic and therapeutic use of medical imaging - including X-ray; ultrasound; magnetic resonance and radionuclide - and consider the risks and social issues involved.

See full description.

60 Jan
Molecules in medicine (S807)

Examine the molecular basis of drug action in medicine, covering topics like infectious diseases (bacterial and viral), cancer, heart disease, inflammation and neuropharmacology.

See full description.

60 Jan
Radiotherapy and its physics (S819)

Explore the application of physics to the techniques of radiotherapy in medicine (focusing on cancer), and consider the effects of ionising radiation on biological tissues.

See full description.

60 Jan
MSc project module (S810)

Plan and carry out an investigation of your own choice with this masters-level project course in science, and develop essential skills like report writing.

See full description.

60 Nov

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules BS811, DS871, ES821, S802, S803, S804, S820, SD805

Or 150 credits from the above list plus 30 credits from the following optional modules:

Postgraduate compulsory module Credits Next start
Discourse analysis (D843)

This course focuses on the varied traditions around meaning-making, including socio-linguistics, conversation analysis, critical discourse analysis, discursive psychology and genealogical research.

See full description.

30 May FINAL
Environmental decision making: a systems approach (T863)

This course uses systems ideas to explore environmental decision-making situations, to make sense of their complexity and to look for feasible changes and action.

See full description.

30 May
Forensic engineering (T839)

This course analyses the problems arising from product failure caused by inadequate materials, poor manufacturing or bad design - and offers guidance on good product design.

See full description.

30 Nov
Managing for sustainability (T867) NEW

This course will increase your understanding of delivering and supporting sustainability management in your workplace or support your personal interest in this subject.

See full description.

30 May

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules D830, D831, D832, E827, E845, H804, H805, T830, T833, T834, T835, T838, T860, T861, T862, TXX861, TUXX863

Educational aims

This is a broad-based taught masters science degree which aims to provide you with:

  • an opportunity to study in depth, at masters level, specific areas of science based upon the strands, Frontiers in Medical Science and Science Studies
  • an understanding of current knowledge in the strand areas and of key debates at the forefront of their knowledge
  • an understanding of principles and methodologies that inform current research in the strand areas
  • the tools to enable you to obtain and record information and then synthesise what you have learnt into a coherent piece of writing as an extended essay, review, poster or conference contribution
  • support and guidance to develop as an independent learner.

Learning outcomes

The emphasis is on realisable outcomes for students from diverse backgrounds learning at a distance who have chosen a masters level science degree. The learning outcomes of this degree are described in four areas:

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this degree, you will have:

  • a systematic understanding and knowledge and critical awareness of the scientific debate within the strand area, which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their field of study
  • a comprehensive understanding of methodologies and techniques applicable to their advanced scholarship in their chosen areas of scientific study.

Cognitive skills

On completion of the degree, you will be able to:

  • evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in your field of study
  • evaluate research methodologies and develop critiques and propose alternative hypotheses, where appropriate
  • deal with complex issues both systematically and proficiently and make sound judgements in the absence of complete data
  • make decisions in complex and unpredictable situations
  • demonstrate originality of thought in the application of knowledge.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of the degree, you will be:

  • equipped to advance your knowledge and understanding in selected scientific areas
  • able to show evidence of initiative and personal responsibility
  • equipped with the independent learning skills required for continuing professional development.

Key skills

On completion of the degree, you will be able to demonstrate skills enabling you to:

  • communicate information and conclusions to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • continue to develop relevant new skills to a high level
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems
  • act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level
  • use ICT to locate information and to communicate with others.

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