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Maths for science

Do you want to further your study of science but worry that you lack confidence in mathematics? Then this module could be for you. Mathematical techniques are explained, and worked examples are included throughout the module, but the main emphasis is on providing examples for you to try for yourself.

Many of the examples have a scientific flavour and detailed answers are also provided. As you work through the questions you will be able to revise the mathematical skills you already have, as well as learning and practising new ones, and your confidence in handling maths should increase. There are two online interactive assessments which give you instantaneous feedback on your answers; one can be attempted at any point during the module and provides practice for the end-of-module assessment with the same format.

You are advised not to take Maths for Science as your first module.

Standalone study only

This module is available for standalone study only. Any credits from this module cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.

Module

Module code
S151
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
10
Study level

Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.

OU SCQF FHEQ
1 7 4
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Am I ready?

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What you will study

Mathematical techniques are explained, and worked examples are included throughout the module, but the main emphasis is on providing examples for you to try for yourself. Many of the examples have a scientific flavour and detailed answers are also provided. As you work through the questions you will be able to revise the mathematical skills you already have, as well as learning and practising new ones, and your confidence in handling maths should increase. There are two online interactive assessments which give you instantaneous feedback on your answers; one can be attempted at any point during the module and provides practice for the end-of-module assessment with the same format.

The module assumes some knowledge of arithmetic, but other topics, such as addition and multiplication of fractions, are revised; while algebraic techniques, such as rearranging and combining equations, are taught from first principles. You will also have an introduction to scientific notation, logarithms, radians, trigonometry, differentiation, and some scientific uses of statistics and probability.

Teaching and assessment

Study support

You can contact a team of expert science study advisers through an online discussion forum, and they will be able to help you with academic questions to do with the module and the assessment. There will also be an online discussion forum that you can use to get in touch with other students and study advisers. 

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

You will be required to submit an end-of-module assessment that must be completed online via the internet.

You have to submit the single piece of work for assessment after 21 weeks. There will be no other opportunity to complete the module.

Future availability

Maths for science (S151) starts twice a year – in April and October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2017 and April 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2018.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Essential Documents website.

    Course work includes:

    End-of-module assessment
    No residential school


    Entry requirements

    Please note: this module is only available for standalone study. You cannot count the credits you gain from the module towards any current OU qualification. It may be possible, however, to count the credits gained towards a qualification if you are already studying with us and have declared your qualification intention before September 2012 – see your qualification description in StudentHome for details.

    The module is not meant for absolute beginners in mathematics and is not recommended as your first Open University module. It is only one of a number of OU level 1 mathematics modules available to you. 

    The maths in S151 would be excellent preparation for Astronomy (S282). However, it is not an adequate preparation if you intend to go on to Open University physics modules at OU level 3 or mathematics modules at OU level 2 or 3.

    The module assumes that you can add, subtract, multiply and divide positive and negative numbers and understand the use of brackets in numerical calculations. You should know how to express numbers as fractions and decimals and as simple powers (e.g. know that 1000 can be written as 103). You should be able to measure angles in degrees; plot and read data from straight-line graphs; use symbols to represent quantities and substitute numerical values into simple formulae. You will find the module more straightforward if you know how to add and multiply numerical fractions; rearrange very simple algebraic equations and find the gradient of a straight-line graph. But the module does not assume great confidence in these topics and they are all revised. If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    If you would like more information about the range of science short courses available you can visit the science short courses website. This site includes a frequently asked questions section and throughout the year details of special regional events are posted here.

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    06 Oct 2018 See description £488.00

    Registration closes 27/09/18 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    October 2018 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).


    For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or book a call back at a time convenient to you.


    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2019. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 21/07/2018.

    What's included

    Study book including explanations, worked examples and questions; online study guide, interactive activities, revision questions, online interactive assessments, website.

    You will need

    You will need a basic scientific calculator.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module.  Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • macOS 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students. 

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying S151 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Overcoming barriers to study if you have a disability or health condition website.