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BSc (Honours) Health Sciences

This degree is ideal if you’re interested in the science behind our health – from our individual health, to global issues such as epidemics or the treatment of people with dementia. It’s particularly relevant if you work in a health-related profession, or you’re thinking about doing so. You’ll study the essential scientific concepts underpinning the function of the human mind and body; the incidence, diagnosis and treatment of disease and disability; and the maintenance and improvement of health in different populations.

Key features of the course

  • Explores health and disease from a multidisciplinary, evidence-based perspective
  • Uses innovative online collaborative and virtual experiences to develop science practical skills
  • Topics include human biology; long term conditions; infectious disease; cell and molecular biology; neurobiology; cognitive psychology; and mental health
  • Develops transferable skills that enhance your employability in healthcare and other settings

We also offer a Diploma of Higher Education in Health Sciences (W44) that is the same in structure as the first two-thirds of this degree; similarly, our Certificate of Higher Education in Health Sciences (T18) corresponds to the first third.

Course Summary

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Degree

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code
Q71
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.
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • You’ll start Stage 1 with a 60-credit introductory module with a focus on health sciences. You’ll follow this with a further 60-credit introductory module, either with a focus on natural sciences or a focus on psychology.
  • 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.
  • And finally, in Stage 3, you’ll study three further 30-credits modules and conclude your degree with a 30-credit project module.

Optional Access module – visit Am I ready? to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

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.

Stage 2 (120 credits)

At Stage 2, you’ll start with a human biology module and study two further modules that focus on biology at the cellular level and understanding mental health. You’ll conclude the stage with a module in which you'll develop your practical science skills.

Stage 3 (120 credits)

At Stage 3, you’ll study three modules that focus on infectious disease and public health; the sensory systems; and evaluating and communicating contemporary scientific information. You’ll complete your degree with an individual research project.

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 21 March 2018.


Accessibility

We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BSc (Honours) Health Sciences uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:

  • studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
  • working in a group with other students
  • undertaking practical work or using an online laboratory
  • working with specialist reading material such as scientific journals
  • 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.

For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit our disability page 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; 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 – 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.


Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BSc (Honours) Health Sciences degree. You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

The class of degree (first, upper second, lower 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 qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 


Compare this course

Entry requirements

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

Counting previous study

You could save time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study towards this qualification if you have:

  • already studied at university level (even if you didn't finish your studies)
  • other professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.

Find out more about credit transfer

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, and would like to develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. The subjects included are science, engineering and design, environment, mathematics, and computing and IT.

View full details of Science, technology and maths Access module

Your next step

Call us on +44 (0)1908 659253 or book a call back. Our friendly team of advisers will discuss your study options with you, and help you decide on the best starting point for you.

In this section:
How much will it cost?
Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

How much will it cost in England?

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 up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • If, like most OU students, you study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year, you'll take six years to complete an honours degree.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £2,928*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study – is £5,856*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £17,568*.
  • .

*The fee 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.

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 you start studying.

Residential schools

This qualification includes science modules that include an optional residential school. For each residential school you choose to attend, you must pay an additional charge to cover costs such as tuition, accommodation and meals (see individual module descriptions for more information). You’ll also have to pay for your own travel to and from the venues.


Skills for career development

Science graduates are in demand in the jobs market, particularly if they also have good interpersonal skills and some workplace experience. In addition to specific learning outcomes, this degree will equip you with a range of valuable transferable skills – such as critical thinking, the ability to make informed judgements, team working, problem solving, time management, analytical, numerical and communication skills, and proficiency in IT. You’ll also have a good understanding of where your strengths and interests lie, and be well prepared for your next step – whether it’s further study or training, or employment.

Career relevance

While the BSc (Honours) Health Sciences (Q71) is not attached to a specific professional accreditation, it provides a broad base of scientific 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. If you’re aiming for leadership, managerial or professional roles, this degree course is useful as a stepping-stone to postgraduate research training, or vocational courses such as public health or medicine.

Other careers

The logical, reasoned approach needed for science study is also relevant to a wide range of non-scientific contexts. Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector.

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):

  • biomedical researcher
  • health promotion specialist
  • medical sales representative
  • medical writer
  • health services administrator
  • community development worker
  • further education lecturer
  • laboratory technician
  • physiotherapist
  • social worker.

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.


Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 16/08/2018
Credit transfer: apply by 06/12/2018

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