This certificate of higher education has one stage, comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll study two 30-credit computing & IT modules and 60 credits of study in your chosen second subject.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
In half of Stage 1, you’ll study two introductory computing & IT modules. In the other half of this stage, you’ll choose a second subject and study 60 credits in that subject.
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 17 March 2020.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The Certificate of Higher Education in Computing & IT and a second subject uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
- working in a group with other students
- using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
- undertaking practical work
- finding external/third party material online
- using specialist software (for example the Design/Engineering Studio).
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer. Contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you’ll be awarded a certificate of higher education. The exact title of your certificate will depend on your second subject:
- Certificate of Higher Education in Computing & IT and Business
- Certificate of Higher Education in Computing & IT and Design
- Certificate of Higher Education in Computing & IT and Mathematics
- Certificate of Higher Education in Computing & IT and Psychology
- Certificate of Higher Education in Computing & IT and Statistics.
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.
There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification; however, you’ll need some basic knowledge of computing, and the ability to read and write to a good standard of English.
If you’re thinking about choosing mathematics as your second subject, check that you’re ready for mathematical study at this level by visiting our MathsChoices website.
How much time do I need?
- Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner
Preparing for study with an Access module
If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don’t worry! The OU offers Access modules designed to introduce the subject area, build your confidence and prepare you for further study, and you may be eligible to study an Access module for free! You'll get:
- a personal tutor providing regular feedback with one to one telephone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback.
For this qualification we recommend:
Science, technology and maths Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the sciences, technology and mathematics. It'll help develop your study skills in advance of your OU qualification, and you get to explore a number of STEM subjects including science, engineering and design, environment, mathematics, and computing and IT.
View full details of Science, technology and maths Access module
Skills for career development
This certificate course will equip you with the basic introductory skills and knowledge for a wide variety of careers relating to computing and IT, a sound grasp of the principles of different technologies, an ability to apply the principles, and an awareness of surrounding issues. During the course you will gain a range of valuable transferable skills in communication, time management, analysis and problem solving, and be well prepared for further study. You’ll also develop your understanding of an additional subject alongside computing and IT, opening up further career paths.
Research by e-Skills UK has shown that IT and telecommunications now employs 1 in 20 of the UK workforce. It also suggests the digital sector will need nearly 300,000 new recruits by 2020 to meet the demand for skills in this area.
Computing and IT professionals are in demand by providers (such as software houses) and user organisations alike. Organisations increasingly value IT teams with skills relevant to wider contexts in addition to technical ability. This certificate will enhance your employability in your current area of work, and open the way for careers in sectors including retail, finance and commerce, leisure and gaming, telecommunications, broadcast media, digital media, manufacturing, transport, tourism, government, health, education, and the voluntary sector.
Growth areas and areas of high demand include cyber security, mobile development, cloud computing and the management of Big Data.
The range of organisations employing people with computing and IT expertise is extensive. A qualification in computing and IT has many applications beyond pure technology roles, such as roles in corporate or management consultancy firms, technical writing or freelance work.
In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience):
- applications programmer
- information systems manager
- database administrator
- information technology consultant
- multimedia programmer
- software engineer
- systems analyst
- systems designer
- computer support specialist
- applications developer
- web designer
- technical consultant
- network engineer
- technical sales.