This degree has two stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll start Stage 1, with two 30-credit computing & IT modules followed by two 30-credit mathematics modules.
- In Stage 2, you’ll study 60 credits in a specific area of computing & IT and complete your diploma with a 60-credit module in either applied mathematics or pure mathematics.
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 learn a range of mathematical techniques and solve problems using specialist software.
At Stage 2, you’ll choose an area of computing & IT to focus on and study 60 credits in that area. You’ll also choose either applied mathematics or pure mathematics and study a module 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 Diploma 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
If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.
It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.
For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you’ll be awarded a diploma of higher education. The exact title of your diploma will depend on your second subject:
- Diploma of Higher Education in Computing & IT and Business
- Diploma of Higher Education in Computing & IT and Design
- Diploma of Higher Education in Computing & IT and Mathematics
- Diploma of Higher Education in Computing & IT and Psychology
- Diploma 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, and would like to develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. The subjects included are 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 qualification will equip you with a sound grasp of the principles of technologies in your specialist area, an ability to apply the principles, and an awareness of surrounding issues. Depending on your choice of second subject – business, design, mathematics, applied psychology or statistics – you’ll have a unique and focused skills set that will enhance your existing career and put you in a strong position in the jobs market, which increasingly depends on computing technologies across all sectors.
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 should you decide to top up to an honours degree.
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.
This diploma course opens the way for a wide range of IT-related careers. 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 computing and IT specialists is extensive. Beyond pure technology roles, people with computing and IT expertise also enter management consultancy firms or corporate roles, while others go into technical writing roles or work freelance.
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 website are available to see at any time, 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.