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BA (Honours) Humanities

From poetry to string quartets, and from sculpture to short stories, the extraordinary range of human culture offers rich possibilities for study. This broad and absorbing course develops a deep understanding of the world we live in and how we got here, covering a fascinating variety of perspectives, periods and subjects – including art history, classical studies, creative writing, English language and English literature, history, modern languages, music, philosophy and religious studies.

Key features of the course

  • Starts with a wide-ranging module introducing you to a range of disciplines
  • Choose a broad route through the degree, or specialise in one or two areas
  • Develop your skills of critical thinking, analysis and self-directed work which are highly valued by employers.
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Degree

Course code
Q03
Credits
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
See Fees & funding
Entry requirements
None

Are you ready for study?
Find out here

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Start dates

Credit transfer: apply by 14/08/2014
Credit transfer: apply by 11/12/2014

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Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits (equivalent to one year's full-time university study). Stage 1 provides the underpinning knowledge and skills needed for more advanced study at Stages 2 and 3.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

You’ll begin with a stimulating introduction to the arts and humanities, studying diverse topics from across different periods and civilisations while developing essential study skills. Optional modules build on this firm foundation to develop your critical and analytical skills and prepare you for your chosen study route at Stage 2.


Compulsory module (60 credits)

  • The arts past and present (AA100)

    Study a broad range of arts subject areas (from history to philosophy, music to English) across multiple cultures and historical periods in this university-level introduction.

Optional modules (60 credits)

Study 60 credits from:

Decision to make

If you plan to study French, German or Spanish as part of your degree, you should choose appropriate language modules for the optional part of Stage 1.

Stages 2 and 3 (240 credits)

You can continue with a broad-based study of humanities or specialise in one or, in some combinations, two of: art history, classical studies, creative writing, English language, English literature, French, German, Spanish, history, music, philosophy, religious studies.

As you work through your degree, you’ll continue to develop your critical thinking, writing and analysis skills and explore topics and issues in greater detail. You’ll also begin to work and think more independently as you tackle problems and questions of increasing depth and complexity.



The modules quoted in this description are currently available for study. However, as we review the curriculum on a regular basis, the exact selection may change over time.


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; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study. It’s not just study completed at a university that can be considered, you can transfer study from a wide range of professional qualifications as well. A full list of the qualifications and institutions we can consider for credit transfer can be found on our credit transfer website.

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 original evidence of your previous study. We will compare this against the learning outcomes for your chosen qualification and inform you of any award.

For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


Classification of your degree

The name of your undergraduate degree will reflect your chosen route. For example:

  • Broad route – Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Humanities
  • With one specialism – Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Humanities (History)
  • With two specialisms – Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Humanities (French and Classical Studies).

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

The class of degree (first, second or third class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website


Compare this course

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification.

General study skills

Anyone can study with The Open University, but if it's a while since you did any academic work it's worth checking that your time management, computing and English skills are up to speed. Visit Can I do it? to find out more.

Help! I'm not ready

If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don't worry! You can get started with an Access module – fascinating courses designed to introduce subject areas, build your confidence and prepare you for further study.

For this qualification, we recommend:

Arts and languages Access module

What you will study

This fascinating, multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the arts and languages, and would like to 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.

The module is divided into three blocks.

Block 1 begins by exploring how language is used to communicate. You will be introduced to language in various spoken and written forms – for example as a tool for learning or as cultural expression – before moving on to access texts in a foreign language. You’ll then examine the theme of popular protest with an initial discussion of a First World War poem, Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen. Next, you will study a diverse range of poetry with an emphasis on protest. Finally, depending on your personal interests and study goals, you can either try your hand at creative writing or try out a foreign language at beginners’ level).

Block 2 extends your study of language to consider popular culture and the language of protest. You’ll also start to think about the persuasive uses of language – seen in politics and the media for instance – and consider what impact dialect and pronunciation has on how meaning is produced, drawing on examples from hip-hop and song. You will then move on to focus on history, in particular, looking at the history of the demand for democracy (government by the people) in Britain from around 1815 through an examination of the Chartist movement. You will be introduced to a small number of the many debates surrounding the interpretation of Chartism and the relevance of the subject today. Finally, you will have the option to study a segment on a foreign language at beginners’ level (from a choice of up to six languages), or to extend your study of history by considering the Suffragette movement in Britain.

Block 3 considers the relationship between art and popular protest. You’ll be introduced to the study of the visual arts by looking at a selection of works that have been nominated for the Turner Prize which will allow you to look at many different types of art and explore the techniques used by art historians and art critics when they analyse a work of art. You’ll then explore four case studies: a painting by Picasso; an example of graffiti; a display at St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art in Glasgow; and the symbolism and language used in football banners. These case studies will give you the opportunity to build on what you have learnt so far and explore the relationship between popular protest and visual art from a wider range of academic disciplines, such as history, religious studies, linguistics and modern foreign language studies.

The module includes a DVD and website which include further study materials and resources as well as online quizzes and interactive exercises to help test your understanding.

As you study this module you will build your confidence and develop your study skills, including:

  • reading and interpreting information
  • producing written communications
  • time management and organisational skills
  • problem solving.

You will also have the opportunity to gain skills such as working with audio and video material, using online forums and searching the internet for information. This experience will provide you with a gentle introduction to using a computer to support your study, and will equip you with the basic computing skills you will need for the next step in your studies.

Please note that you will need access to the internet and a computer to study and pass this module. You will need to use a computer early on in the module but not straight away, so if you don’t currently have one you’ve got time to make arrangements. You can use your own computer or one at a library or drop-in centre.

On successful completion of this module you will receive an Open University Access Module Certificate.

Course work includes:

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
6 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Your next step

Call our Student Registration & Enquiry Service on +44 (0)1908 659253. Our friendly team of advisers will discuss your study options with you, and help you decide on the best starting point for you. Or come and meet us at an event near you.

How much will it cost?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification upfront.
  • If like most OU students studying part time, you study an average of 60 credits a year – you’ll study for six years to complete a degree. Our typical fee for 60 credits is £2,632.
  • Our current fee is £5,264 – based on 120 credits of study – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study.
  • The total cost of your chosen qualification starts from £15,792 based on our current fees.

Typical cost per year

Select the number of credits you are planning to study per year. Most OU students study 60 credits a year, for some qualifications it is possible to study more or less credits.

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.

Residential school fees

This course may contain a residential school, when you study this the tuition fee may not include accommodation and meals, and you may be asked to pay an additional fee of up to £255. You will also be responsible for the cost of your travel to the venue. If you're on a low income you will be able to apply for help with these costs after you've registered. 

Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how you can pay. That’s why we offer a wide range of flexible payment and funding options to help make study more affordable than you might think. Options include Tuition Fee Loans (also known as student loans), monthly payment plans and employer sponsorship. 

We’re confident we can help you find an option that’s right for you.

Just answer these simple questions to find out more about the options available to you.

 

An OU qualification will always help you stand out from the crowd, now and in the future – whether you’re just starting out, developing your career, or changing direction entirely.

Skills for career development

Employers greatly value the high-level critical thinking, analysis, and communication skills acquired by studying a humanities degree. You’ll sharpen your IT, writing, and independent thinking skills; and develop the ability to assimilate and evaluate relevant information in constructing an argument. These are key skills in complex organisations, greatly sought after in the world beyond study – whether you’re already working, volunteering, or changing career.

Career relevance

Study of the arts and humanities requires an understanding of human activities in diverse cultural environments and in very different historical circumstances. The breadth of study and range of cultural texts and objects analysed, combined with training in clear thinking and communication, make this degree course relevant to a wide variety of careers, including:

  • public administration, local government, the civil service, art institutions, and social services
  • advertising, journalism, publishing, creative industries and public relations
  • education
  • legal work
  • business, banking and retail
  • human resources
  • charities and campaigning.

Other careers

Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates 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 degree.

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 beyond your degree):

  • teacher (for secondary teaching, you will need at least 180 credits in the subject you plan to teach)
  • museum curator
  • civil servant
  • advertising account manager
  • journalist
  • publisher
  • public relations manager
  • lawyer
  • charity campaigner
  • retail manager
  • human resources manager
  • politician
  • librarian
  • information archivist
  • accountant
  • media researcher
  • local government and NHS management
  • further education lecturer
  • advice worker
  • arts administration
  • marketing officer
  • tourist officer
  • business manager.

Want to see more jobs? Use the career explorer for job ideas from the National Careers Service, PlanIT Plus in Scotland and Prospects across all nations. You can also visit GradIreland for the Republic of Ireland.

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