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Research project

In this final module, you’ll design a research proposal by identifying and developing a research problem relevant to your MSc. Your research will involve a literature review, original data collection, data analysis and the drawing of conclusions. You’ll then communicate the outcome of your research through a dissertation. The module is online and support is available to you at every stage from the online study materials, your supervisor and online forums.


T802 is an optional module in our:

This module can also count towards F56, which is no longer available to new students.

You can’t study this module on its own, towards more than one MSc or as part of any other qualifications.

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with an adviser before registering.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
To enable you to make international comparisons, the information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ).
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

The module provides an opportunity to pursue research in a topic of your choice based within the broad area of your MSc study. Undertaking the research will enable you to:

  • investigate in depth an issue or problem of relevance to yourself and which may also be of relevance to an organisation such as an employer, institution or public body
  • develop your knowledge of recent research in your chosen topic
  • become competent in research methods appropriate to your research topic
  • develop the capacity to plan, organise and carry out an extended independent study at masters level
  • develop skills in the written communication of research work at masters level.

During your study of this module you will learn how to:

  • develop a research proposal
  • carry out a literature search and write a critical state-of-art review
  • select suitable research methods and integrate them within a research methodology
  • carry out research processes
  • analyse results to form conclusions
  • write-up your research in the form of reports (assignments) and a dissertation.

Your research topic will depend very much on your own knowledge and experience and on the modules you took in your diploma, and must be in an appropriate area relating to the subject of your MSc. Note for the MSc in Computing there are specific requirements for the research topic that you choose; guidance on this is available on the module website after you register.

A supervisor will be appointed to help you develop a formal proposal appropriate for MSc-level work and advise you throughout the research phase.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will be assigned a supervisor with broad knowledge and skills relevant to your research topic. Your supervisor will advise you during the initial stage of developing a research proposal. You will submit an initial proposal three weeks after module start and then begin the process of refining this over the ensuing two months. You will be required to produce at least three iterations of the proposal prior to the deadline for final submission of proposals. This deadline is approximately three months after module start. Your supervisor will then continue to support you throughout the rest of your research.

You will also have access to our online forums. Communication with your supervisor will be mainly through email and telephone. Once your proposal is accepted, you are encouraged to plan your communication with your supervisor to suit your research plan.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register


The assessment details can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper. The final dissertation (EMA) must also be submitted online.

Your research proposal has to be approved before you can continue to the research phase. In the research phase you will submit three assignments (TMAs) at intervals of approximately three months.

The submission date for the dissertation will be during the final month of the 12-month period of the module.

Course work includes

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Future availability

Research project (T802) starts twice a year – in February and October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2019 and February 2020. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2022 and a new module to replace it from October 2022.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    You must have completed the first 120 credits of your MSc.

    You may register while studying your penultimate module, but you must have completed it before T802 starts.

    If your penultimate module ends in October, you should wait until February to start T802. If your penultimate module ends in March, April or June, you should wait until October to start T802. There is preparatory work to do before T802 starts and the first part of the module is intense, so overlapping modules would be very demanding.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, talk to an adviser.

    Preparatory work

    After you register and before the module starts:

    • you’ll submit (at least seven weeks before the module starts) a synopsis of your research topic1, so that we can allocate you an appropriate supervisor
    • you’ll have access to our Preparing for T802 website. It provides essential information, including advance copies of module materials; how to prepare and submit your synopsis; and submission deadlines (you’ll find a link to this website from your StudentHome page).

    1You’ll need to decide whether to propose your own topic or select a topic from a list of topics suggested by OU academic staff. Note that the OU staff topics might not be available in every subject area.

    It’s important you allow plenty of time to read the material on the Preparing for T802 website and for preparing your synopsis. This preparation will help you make a good start on this research project module and understand how it’s different from the taught modules you’ve already completed.

    You might also need to talk to your employer or other organisations about accessing data/people you need for your proposed research.

    The T802 Future Studies forum on the Preparing for T802 website is the place for any questions about this module in general or any questions about your research ideas.


    Start End England fee Register
    01 Feb 2020 Apr 2021 £2800.00

    Registration closes 28/11/19 (places subject to availability)

    01 Oct 2020 Oct 2021 Not yet available

    Registration closes 27/07/20 (places subject to availability)

    01 Feb 2021 Apr 2022 Not yet available

    Registration opens on 18/03/20

    This module is expected to start for the last time in February 2022.

    Future availability

    Research project (T802) starts twice a year – in February and October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2019 and February 2020. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2022 and a new module to replace it from October 2022.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    Study materials

    What's included

    All the learning material provided is online. It is possible for you to print out material should you so wish. Online databases for literature searching will be accessible via the OU Library website. You will need to use online forums for the research proposal development stage.

    You will need

    There are no set books but you may need books relevant to the research methodology you use. Note that useful material can be obtained without cost from semi-permanent online sources.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • Mac OS X 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    If you have a disability

    You need to consider if there are any constraints in obtaining the type of information you need for your research. Otherwise, there are no further constraints beyond those encountered in obtaining your diploma.

    The core teaching material for this module will be delivered online via the module website, so you will need to spend considerable amounts of time using a personal computer and the internet. If either your sight or manual dexterity is seriously impaired, you may find using the web challenging. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet and have concerns about accessing this type of material you are advised to contact us about support that can be given to meet your needs.

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.