This certificate has one stage, comprising 120 credits:
- You’ll start Stage 1 with a 60-credit English language module, followed by two 30-credit modules from English language and modern languages.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
This certificate will introduce you to the study of language and communication in English. You’ll also choose two further complementary modules from a selection of English language and modern language modules.
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 English Language uses a variety of study materials and may have 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.
- Working in a group with other students.
- Undertaking language analysis.
- Finding external/third party material online.
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 completion of this undergraduate course, we'll award you the Certificate of Higher Education in English Language.
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 for this qualification.
You don’t need any prior knowledge about the English language to start this qualification. However, it’s not designed to teach the English language to speakers of other languages, so you’ll need adequate reading and writing skills.
There’s a choice of starting points in the modern language(s) – your choice will depend on your current level of confidence and proficiency. See our guidance on choosing the right modern language level, which includes a self-assessment quiz to help you decide between beginners’ or intermediate French, German, Italian and Spanish.
How much time do I need?
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner
- Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
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:
Arts and languages Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the arts, humanities and languages. It's perfect preparation for your study with The Open University as you'll develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. It explores a range of subjects, including art history, English, English language studies, history, modern languages, and also touches on the areas of creative writing and religious studies.
View full details of Arts and languages Access module
Skills for career development
Employers value the communication skills acquired through studying English language. You’ll sharpen your IT, writing, and independent thinking skills, develop your ability to respond to feedback and sharpen your time management. These are key skills in complex organisations, greatly sought after in the world beyond study – whether you’re already working, volunteering, or changing career.
Study of the English language requires an understanding of the complexities of communication whether spoken or written. It develops your understanding of communication in an increasingly multilingual world. This makes this qualification relevant to a wide variety of careers, including:
- Public administration, local government, the civil service, and social services.
- Advertising, journalism, publishing, creative industries and public relations.
- Legal work.
- Business, banking and retail.
- Human resources.
- Charities and campaigning.
Many jobs are open to students of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your certificate.
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 and 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.