This certificate of higher education has one stage, comprising 120 credits.
- In Stage 1, you’ll begin with a 60-credit introductory environment module followed by one from a choice of two 60-credit options.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
You’ll start with an introduction to the language, ideas and concepts needed to make sense of environmental change. You then have a choice between an introductory social science module and an introductory science module.
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 Environment uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying online – some modules have a mixture of printed and online material, and others are entirely online (online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes)
- using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
- undertaking practical work
- using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
- using specialist software (for example a carbon footprint calculator)
- working in a group with other students.
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 Environment.
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.
At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.
Even though there are no entry requirements, there are some skills that you'll need to succeed. If you're not quite ready for OU study we can guide you to resources that prepare you, many of which are free.
Answer a few quick questions to check whether you're ready for study success
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:
People, work and society Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module provides an excellent introduction to studying with The Open University; you'll get to cover a wide range of subject areas, including childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, business and law.
View full details of People, work and society Access module
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 develops a range of transferable skills and a broad understanding of environmental issues – qualities that are increasingly in demand within government bodies, the private sector, and non-governmental organisations now that they are expected to operate more sustainably. Valuable transferable skills include thinking creatively, tackling complex issues and collecting, analysing and interpreting complex data. You’ll also gain problem-solving, research, planning, auditing, IT, communication, and team working skills.
Directly relevant careers for those with environmental expertise include pollution control, waste management and recycling, water quality and resources, energy management, planning and sustainability, environmental management and consultancy, ecology and nature conservation, and environmental education. Professionals with qualifications in this subject area can find employment across a wide range of public, private and voluntary sectors. Graduates are found working in:
- environmental management
- environmental policy
- environmental consultancy
- environmental education
- local, national and international governmental agencies
- nature conservation
- information systems
- civil or diplomatic service
- overseas development
The skills developed by this course also open paths into financial, business and public sector 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 most careers will require further study, training and/or work experience):
- environmental scientist
- environmental analyst
- environmental coordinator
- lab technician
- restoration ecologist
- parks manager
- environmental consultant
- business resources manager
- sustainability manager
- acoustic consultant
- tree health surveyor
- environmental engineer
- air testing analyst.