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Certificate in Health Sciences

If you’re interested in the scientific and social aspects of disease and disability, this certificate is for you. It integrates biological, chemical and physical sciences with psychology, health statistics and social sciences to investigate the underlying causes and solutions in a range of conditions – from pain and addiction to lung disease and cancer.

Key features of the course

  • Explore a range of health topics in their wider personal, cultural and social contexts
  • Learn to evaluate evidence; understand and use scientific terms and concepts; handle numbers; and interpret graphs and tables
  • Enhance your employability in healthcare and other settings 
  • Builds a solid foundation for further study

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Course Summary

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Certificate

Certificate

  • Qualification unique to The Open University.
  • Focus on a particular profession or subject area.
  • Study for interest or career development.
  • A wide range of subjects and levels.
Course code
S19
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.
60
How long it takes
Part time – 1 year
Time limit – 4 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This certificate has one stage, comprising 60 credits.

Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.

Stage 1 (60 credits)

You’ll explore the science, psychology and social issues underlying the management of health and disease, while developing communication, computer and numeracy skills. Topics include infectious disease; nutrition; pain; alcohol; screening for breast cancer; chronic lung disease; trauma; and visual impairment.
ModulesCredits
You'll study the following:
Science and health: an evidence-based approach (SDK100)60

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 Certificate in 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
  • using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
  • undertaking practical work or using an online laboratory
  • working with specialist reading material such as scientific journals.

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

On completion

On completion of this undergraduate course, we'll award you the Certificate in Health Sciences.

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. 


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

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 £2,928*.
  • .

*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.


Skills for career development

As well as an understanding of some of the science that underpins health, you’ll develop skills in basic scientific literacy and numeracy, locating and interpreting scientific data, and using a computer to find and communicate information. The certificate also offers a sound foundation for progressing to an honours degree in a relevant area.

Career relevance

Employees with science qualifications are in demand in the jobs market, particularly if they also have good interpersonal skills and some workplace experience. While the Certificate in Health Sciences (S19) is not attached to any specific professional endorsement, it will be useful if you wish to take up a career in the broad area of health science, or if you work in this area already. It provides a broad base of subject 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.

Other careers

People with science qualifications are well placed to enter both scientific and non-scientific jobs. The logical, reasoned approach needed for science study is relevant to a wide range of financial, business and public sector employment.

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):

  • health promotion specialist
  • medical sales representative
  • medical writer
  • health services administrator
  • biomedical researcher
  • occupational health therapist
  • 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.


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Start dates

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