This diploma of higher education has two stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll start Stage 1 with a 60-credit introductory module with a focus on health science. You’ll follow this with a further 60-credit introductory module, either with a focus on psychology or a focus on natural sciences.
- Next, in Stage 2, you’ll study three 30-credit health science modules plus a 30-credit online module designed to develop your practical science skills.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
Stage 1 starts by exploring the science, psychology and social issues behind health and disease worldwide. Next, you’ll choose either to explore how psychologists investigate the human mind and behaviour, or to widen your general science skills and knowledge of scientific concepts in biology; the molecular and physical sciences; and the earth and environmental sciences.
At Stage 2, you’ll start with a human biology module and a module that focuses on understanding mental health. You’ll conclude the stage with the study of cell biology and development of your practical science skills.
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 Health Sciences 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
- face-to-face tutorials and day schools and online tutorials
- working in a group with other students
- undertaking practical work or using an online laboratory
- using specialist software
- using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
- using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
- finding external/third party material online
- continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of essays, short answer questions, and in some cases an examination
- using feedback: continuous assessment involves receiving detailed feedback on your work from your tutor and using this feedback to improve your performance.
All qualifications require you to complete learning and assessment activities within a required timescale and according to pre-determined deadlines. You will therefore need to manage your time effectively during your studies and the University will help you to develop this skill. Information on assessment will be available to you at the start of each module.
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 completion of this undergraduate course, we'll award you the Diploma of Higher Education in Health Sciences.
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, to study successfully you’ll need,
- The ability to read and write to a good standard of English
- Some basic maths skills
- Some familiarity with using a computer and the internet.
You can use our online diagnostic tool to help you decide if you’re ready, or if you could do with some extra preparation. There are also some study resources to help you prepare for SDK100.
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
Science graduates are in demand in the jobs market – particularly those with some workplace experience who are adaptable and multi-skilled, able to work in a multidisciplinary environment, with good communication and interpersonal skills. In addition to specific learning outcomes, this diploma develops a variety of transferable skills that are highly valued in the labour market, including analytical, numerical and communication skills; teamwork; problem solving; and proficiency in using computers.
While this course is not attached to a specific professional endorsement, it provides a broad base of subject knowledge and skills appropriate to occupations such as biomedical research, diagnostic services, health promotion, health and safety, health therapy, and health services administration and management.
People with science qualifications are well placed to enter both scientific and non-scientific jobs. The logical, reasoned approach needed for science study is relevant to a wide range of financial, business and public sector employment.
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):
- health promotion specialist
- medical sales representative
- medical writer
- health services administrator
- biomedical researcher
- occupational therapist
- community development worker
- further education lecturer
- laboratory technician
- social worker