Open qualifications give you the opportunity to build a qualification that's unique to you.

They are the most flexible in the UK, because you can study any subjects you like, in any combination.

You can:

  • design your own qualification to suit your personal and professional needs, interests and aspirations
  • easily change direction if your study interests change
  • gain knowledge and skills in a wide range of disciplines
  • count credit from university-level studies you’ve already completed elsewhere
  • enhance your employability.

Open qualifications are highly regarded by employers for their breadth and adaptability. They equip you with a wide range of expertise, skills and capabilities that are much sought after in today’s highly competitive job market.

Where to start

You can study any subjects you like, in any combination – each module is designed to stretch your mind and fire your imagination. Many students complete a broad-based arts or sciences qualification. However, there is nothing to stop you starting with, say, psychology and moving on to the humanities, or combining mathematics with science. Alternatively, you could concentrate on literature, but also do some French and geography – the choice is yours.

You don’t need to decide now about the whole qualification. The only decision you need to make before you register is what to study first – and you can choose from over 40 key introductory modules in a range of subject areas.

What Open qualifications do we offer?

  • BA (Honours) or BSc (Honours) Open – to gain a degree with honours you will need to complete a total of 360 credits (120 credits at OU level 1, 120 credits at OU level 2 and 120 credits at OU level 3).
  • Diploma of Higher Education Open – to gain a diploma of higher education you will need to complete 240 credits (120 at OU level 1 and 120 at OU level 2), equivalent to Stages 1 and 2 of our Open degree.
  • Certificate of Higher Education Open – to gain a certificate of higher education you will need to complete 120 credits of OU level 1 study, equivalent to Stage 1 of our Open degree.

We also offer you the option of graduating with an Open degree without honours. It can take less time to study because you need only 300 credits. However, you are likely to need a degree with honours to pursue further study and for many career paths.

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Get credit for previous study

Any previous higher-education study you’ve successfully completed elsewhere could count towards your Open qualification (degree and diploma only). Through credit transfer you could reduce the number of modules needed to complete your qualification – saving time and money.


If you have little or no experience of university-level study, you could study an Access module and develop or refresh your study skills. You may even be able to study for free.

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