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MSc in Computing

This qualification develops a rigorous approach to the study and application of computing, and incorporates transferable skills that are highly applicable to professional development in the field. You can choose between the flexible MSc in Computing (offering a wide choice of industry relevant modules), and the more focused MSc in Computing (Software Engineering) or MSc in Computing (Information Security and Forensics), which enable you to develop in-depth specialist knowledge. All three routes finish with a substantial independent project, with either a professional or research orientation. The professional project engages in a research scenario in an employment-related setting of your choice, while the research project enables you to design a research proposal relating to an issue or problem of professional relevance to you or an employer, institution or public body.

Key features of the course

  • Brings together theory and practice and draws on your own background and experience
  • Enables you to tailor your studies to your specific career needs and professional interests
  • Provides an excellent platform for further research studies.

Masters degree

Course code
F66
Credits

Credits

  • 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.
180
How long it takes
3 - 6 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
Postgraduate loan available
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details

Modules

There are three pathways available for this degree:

We advise you to begin with modules from the first list for each pathway before moving on to the second.

MSc in Computing

To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

60 credits from List A:

List A modules Credits Next start
Data management (M816)

Discover the data management principles, practices and technologies required to develop policies, procedures and systems that control, protect, deliver and enhance the value of an organisation’s data asset.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Digital forensics (M812)

This module will help you understand how to conduct investigations to correctly gather, analyse and present digital evidence to both business and legal audiences.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2019 FINAL
Information security (M811)

Explore the professional and technical skills necessary to understand, document, manage and implement strategic and operational aspects of your organisation's information security.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Project management (M815)

In this online module you’ll explore the whole life cycle of projects, from initiation, through to planning, scheduling, execution, handover and review.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2019
Software development (M813)

Gain the fundamental knowledge and understanding, and analysis and synthesis skills that you will need to develop software artefacts fit for a real-world organisational context.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2019
Software engineering (M814)

Explore the advanced concepts and techniques used throughout the software life cycle, for the effective production and management of large, complex, and long-lived software systems.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018

Plus

60 credits from List A or List B:

List B modules Credits Next start
Advanced routing CCNP 1 (T824)

This module provides the knowledge, understanding and skills to deploy and manage internal and external routing protocols for large scale inter-networks using Cisco equipment.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2019 FINAL
Continuing professional development in practice (U810)

This module allows you to evaluate and assess 150 hours prior learning and identify and progress appropriate development opportunities for future continuing professional development. 

See full description

Register
30 03 Nov 2018
Managing systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction (TU812)

Develop your understanding of systemic inquiry, systemic action research and social learning in order to extend your skills of project, programme and change management.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Managing technological innovation (T848)

This module explores the processes that underpin technological innovation an understanding of which is crucial whether you are a user or producer of technological innovation.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Network security (T828)

This module will give you the knowledge, understanding and practical experience of managing a secure communication across a large-scale inter-network using Cisco equipment.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Strategic capabilities for technological innovation (T849)  

This module draws on a range of theoretical perspectives from both strategic and innovation management to produce a multi-layered, practical, approach to strategic management of technological innovation.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Thinking strategically: systems tools for managing change (TU811)

Improve your management skills by exploring different approaches to engaging with complex situations and by developing your understanding of how cognitive processing shapes practice.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2019 FINAL
Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules T846 and T889.

Plus

60 credits from either the Research route or Professional route:

Research route

Compulsory module Credits Next start
Research project (T802)

This research module enables you to gain an MSc by building on the postgraduate diploma that you already hold. You’ll develop and submit a dissertation.

See full description

Register
60 01 Feb 2019
Professional route
Compulsory route Credits Next start
The MSc professional project (T847)

This highly intensive research based module enables you to design, conduct, analyse and report on a research project of your own choosing.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Plus 30 credits from List B, or any 30-credit module at OU Level 3 or above. 30  

MSc in Computing (Software Engineering)

To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

60 credits from both the following modules. We recommend studying Software development (M813) before Software engineering (M814).

Modules Credits Next start
Software development (M813)

Gain the fundamental knowledge and understanding, and analysis and synthesis skills that you will need to develop software artefacts fit for a real-world organisational context.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2019
Software engineering (M814)

Explore the advanced concepts and techniques used throughout the software life cycle, for the effective production and management of large, complex, and long-lived software systems.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018

Plus

60 credits from List C:

List C modules Credits Next start
Advanced routing CCNP 1 (T824)

This module provides the knowledge, understanding and skills to deploy and manage internal and external routing protocols for large scale inter-networks using Cisco equipment.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2019 FINAL
Continuing professional development in practice (U810)

This module allows you to evaluate and assess 150 hours prior learning and identify and progress appropriate development opportunities for future continuing professional development. 

See full description

Register
30 03 Nov 2018
Data management (M816)

Discover the data management principles, practices and technologies required to develop policies, procedures and systems that control, protect, deliver and enhance the value of an organisation’s data asset.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Digital forensics (M812)

This module will help you understand how to conduct investigations to correctly gather, analyse and present digital evidence to both business and legal audiences.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2019 FINAL
Information security (M811)

Explore the professional and technical skills necessary to understand, document, manage and implement strategic and operational aspects of your organisation's information security.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Managing systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction (TU812)

Develop your understanding of systemic inquiry, systemic action research and social learning in order to extend your skills of project, programme and change management.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Managing technological innovation (T848)

This module explores the processes that underpin technological innovation an understanding of which is crucial whether you are a user or producer of technological innovation.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Network security (T828)

This module will give you the knowledge, understanding and practical experience of managing a secure communication across a large-scale inter-network using Cisco equipment.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Project management (M815)

In this online module you’ll explore the whole life cycle of projects, from initiation, through to planning, scheduling, execution, handover and review.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2019
Strategic capabilities for technological innovation (T849)  

This module draws on a range of theoretical perspectives from both strategic and innovation management to produce a multi-layered, practical, approach to strategic management of technological innovation.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Thinking strategically: systems tools for managing change (TU811)

Improve your management skills by exploring different approaches to engaging with complex situations and by developing your understanding of how cognitive processing shapes practice.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2019 FINAL
Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules T846 and T889.

Plus

60 credits from either the Research route or Professional route:

Research route

Compulsory module Credits Next start
Research project (T802)

This research module enables you to gain an MSc by building on the postgraduate diploma that you already hold. You’ll develop and submit a dissertation.

See full description

Register
60 01 Feb 2019
 Professional route
Compulsory module Credits Next start
The MSc professional project (T847)

This highly intensive research based module enables you to design, conduct, analyse and report on a research project of your own choosing.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Plus 30 credits from List C, or any 30-credit module at OU Level 3 or above 30  

MSc in Computing (Information Security and Forensics)

To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

60 credits from both the following modules. We recommend studying Information security (M811) before Digital forensics (M812).

Modules Credits Next start
Information security (M811)

Explore the professional and technical skills necessary to understand, document, manage and implement strategic and operational aspects of your organisation's information security.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Digital forensics (M812)

This module will help you understand how to conduct investigations to correctly gather, analyse and present digital evidence to both business and legal audiences.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2019 FINAL

Plus

60 credits from List D:

List D modules Credits Next start
Advanced routing CCNP 1 (T824)

This module provides the knowledge, understanding and skills to deploy and manage internal and external routing protocols for large scale inter-networks using Cisco equipment.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2019 FINAL
Continuing professional development in practice (U810)

This module allows you to evaluate and assess 150 hours prior learning and identify and progress appropriate development opportunities for future continuing professional development. 

See full description

Register
30 03 Nov 2018
Data management (M816)

Discover the data management principles, practices and technologies required to develop policies, procedures and systems that control, protect, deliver and enhance the value of an organisation’s data asset.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Managing systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction (TU812)

Develop your understanding of systemic inquiry, systemic action research and social learning in order to extend your skills of project, programme and change management.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Managing technological innovation (T848)

This module explores the processes that underpin technological innovation an understanding of which is crucial whether you are a user or producer of technological innovation.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Network security (T828)

This module will give you the knowledge, understanding and practical experience of managing a secure communication across a large-scale inter-network using Cisco equipment.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Project management (M815)

In this online module you’ll explore the whole life cycle of projects, from initiation, through to planning, scheduling, execution, handover and review.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2019
Software development (M813)

Gain the fundamental knowledge and understanding, and analysis and synthesis skills that you will need to develop software artefacts fit for a real-world organisational context.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2019
Software engineering (M814)

Explore the advanced concepts and techniques used throughout the software life cycle, for the effective production and management of large, complex, and long-lived software systems.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Strategic capabilities for technological innovation (T849)  

This module draws on a range of theoretical perspectives from both strategic and innovation management to produce a multi-layered, practical, approach to strategic management of technological innovation.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Thinking strategically: systems tools for managing change (TU811)

Improve your management skills by exploring different approaches to engaging with complex situations and by developing your understanding of how cognitive processing shapes practice.

See full description

Register
30 01 May 2019 FINAL
Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules T846 and T889.

Plus

60 credits from either the Research route or Professional route:

Research route

Compulsory module Credits Next start
Research project (T802)

This research module enables you to gain an MSc by building on the postgraduate diploma that you already hold. You’ll develop and submit a dissertation.

See full description

Register 
60 01 Feb 2019
 Professional route
Compulsory module Credits Next start
The MSc professional project (T847)

This highly intensive research based module enables you to design, conduct, analyse and report on a research project of your own choosing.

See full description

Register
30 01 Nov 2018
Plus 30 credits from List D, or any 30-credit module at OU Level 3 or above. 30  

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. Note, in particular, you can count the credit from the following modules towards only a single qualification: Research project (T802); The MSc professional project (T847).


We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 8th June 2018.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

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.

Credit transfer

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 completion

On successful completion of the required modules for the qualification you can be awarded an MSc in Computing or if you have completed the modules required for a specialist study route you will be awarded either the MSc in Computing (Information Security and Forensics) or the MSc in Computing (Software Engineering). You will be entitled you to use the letters MSc Comp (Open) after your name. The degree will be classified as pass or distinction.

You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

Recognition in your country

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.

Regulations

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

Entry requirements

To start this MSc, you will need a UK bachelors degree (or equivalent) in computing or a related discipline, or relevant industrial experience. If you do not hold a bachelors degree, irrespective of your industrial experience, you will need to study a module from the Postgraduate Certificate in Computing (K22) to demonstrate your ability to study successfully at postgraduate level.

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum overall score of 6 and minimum score of 5.5 in each of the four components: reading, writing, speaking and listening under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the IELTS website for details.

Our badged open course, Succeeding in postgraduate study, will introduce you to the nature of Master's level study. It offers essential preparation for pursuing your learning at this level – and is free.

How long it takes

Most students study this qualification over three years, which is the minimum time needed, completing 60 credits each year. The maximum time to complete is six years.

Career relevance

The modules in the postgraduate computing programme are for professional computer specialists, engineers, technical managers and scientists who need to update their skills and knowledge in specific areas, and gain recognised qualifications to develop their careers. They have been developed to combine theoretical and practical aspects of computing, to enable you to become an effective professional in the computing industry.

In addition they aim to encourage you, through the provision of appropriate educational activities, to develop study and transferable skills applicable to your employment and your continuing professional development.

Professional recognition

Our postgraduate degrees in computing and IT meet the accreditation requirements of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, and have been accorded the highest levels of recognition in the last four accreditation cycles. Graduates from this degree will have fulfilled the Further Learning educational requirements for Chartered IT Professional (CITPFL), and partially fulfilled the educational requirements for Chartered Engineer/Chartered Scientist (CEng/CSci).

To gain BCS accreditation, you will need to complete your degree within seven years of beginning your study.

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.