This certificate has one stage, comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll start Stage 1 with a 30-credit introductory module followed by two 30-credit modules at OU level 2 and a 30-credit module at OU level 3.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
This certificate comprises four modules – the first is a level 1 module, the next two are level 2 modules and the last is a level 3 module. You should have a good understanding of the topics covered at each level before moving on to the next level.
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 20 March 2019.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The Professional Certificate in Practical Statistics 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
- using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
- using and producing diagrams and screenshots
- undertaking practical work
- using specialist software
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit our Disability support website 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
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 Professional Certificate in Practical Statistics.
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, but it’s very important you’re well prepared to study mathematics at this level.
We recommend that you have previous experience in mathematics before studying Introducing statistics (M140). In particular, you should be confident with the following topics:
- arithmetic of numbers, including negative numbers and fractions
- powers of numbers including square roots
- using your scientific calculator effectively for the above topics, and for working with brackets
- using simple formulas
- drawing and interpreting simple charts and graphs
To successfully complete Analysing data M248, you’ll need to be:
- confident using mathematical notation and manipulating algebraic expressions
- familiar with mathematical functions, including the logarithmic and the exponential functions
- able to perform simple integration and differentiation
Check you’re ready, with our self-assessed quiz.
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, 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
Skills for career development
Statistics lie at the heart of many activities, from everyday problem solving and decision making to the formulation of economic policy and the advancement of science and technology. A wide variety of employers seek ability in data analysis – this certificate will equip you with the skills and knowledge for many jobs that require the use of data, and will enhance the following valuable and transferable and skills, such as:
- communicating statistical ideas clearly and succinctly
- understanding statistical texts
- thinking logically
- interpreting statistical analyses in real-world terms
- conducting statistical investigations and analyses of practical problems
- using professional software
The art of analysing data is applicable to jobs in virtually any discipline, including actuary, biology, economics, education, engineering, environmental studies, finance, forensic science, government, logistics, medicine, pharmaceuticals, meteorology, market research, sport, and the growing area of data science – to name but a few.
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 and 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 read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime, if you want to do some research around where this qualification 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 qualification):
- business analyst
- business manager
- climate scientist
- data scientist
- environmental scientist
- financial consultant
- health professional
- marketing professional
- policy maker
- research analyst
- sport scientist