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Building blocks

Certificate of Higher Education Open

The Certificate of Higher Education Open provides you with an opportunity to study modules from a wide range of subject areas, enabling you to build a qualification that’s unique to you. If you’re keen to try university study but want to keep your options open, this flexible certificate is the ideal starting point.

Key features of the course

  • Design your own qualification to suit your personal and professional needs, interests and aspirations
  • Easily change direction if your study interests change
  • Be able to demonstrate your ability to study different subjects

A nationally recognised qualification in its own right, this certificate of higher education is also equivalent to the first stage of our BA/BSc (Honours) Open (QD) degree.

Course Summary

+Shortlist Course

Certificate

Certificate

  • Widely-recognised qualification.
  • Equivalent to the first third of an honours degree.
  • Study for interest or career development.
  • Shows that you can study successfully at university level.
  • Count it towards further qualifications such as a foundation degree, DipHE or honours degree.
Course code
T09
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.
120
How long it takes
Part time – 2 years
Full time – 1 year
Time limit – 7 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This certificate of higher education has one stage, comprising 120 credits of OU level 1 study.

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

Stage 1 (120 credits)

You’ll start Stage 1 with 60 credits from a wide choice of introductory modules. Worth 30 or 60 credits, these modules have been carefully selected to develop your subject knowledge and study skills in preparation for further OU study.

To complete this stage, you’ll choose a further 60 credits from any of our other Stage 1 modules. Many students focus broadly on one discipline, such as science or the humanities – but there’s nothing to stop you studying modules from entirely different subject areas. 


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 17 September 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 of Higher Education Open uses a variety of study materials and may have the following elements, depending on the modules you choose to study:

  • 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
  • working with specialist reading material such as works of art and musical manuscripts
  • working in a group with other students
  • using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
  • undertaking practical work
  • finding external/third party material online
  • using specialist software (for example the Sibelius music writing package)
  • using an online Laboratory or Design/Engineering Studio.

For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support with any of the elements above, visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer. Please 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 of Higher Education Open.

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. 

The Certificate of Higher Education Open begins with one of a range of introductory modules, which are all designed to build a solid foundation for further study. Although they’re introductory modules, having some basic skills before you begin can help you get the best from your studies. For example, if you choose one of our science, maths or engineering modules you might want to check if your IT and mathematical skills are up to scratch.

For the following subject areas, we offer online diagnostic tools to help you to decide if you’re ready, or if you could do with some extra preparation:

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:

Arts and languages Access module

What you will study

This 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.

View full details of Arts and languages Access module

People, work and society Access module

What you will study

This is a multidisciplinary module that allows you to develop your subject knowledge and your general study skills. It provides an excellent introduction to a wide range of subject areas, including childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, management and law.

View full details of People, work and society Access module

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 £5,856*.

*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

A Certificate of Higher Education Open equips you with a wide range of expertise, skills and capabilities that are much sought after in today’s highly competitive job market. Whatever your choice of modules, this certificate will help you develop key transferable skills, which may include:

  • self management
  • team working
  • problem solving
  • communication and literacy
  • numeracy
  • application of information technology.

Career relevance

The flexibility of our Certificate of Higher Education Open makes it relevant to a wide range of careers and industries – many of which do not require qualifications to be subject-specific. This certificate can help you to develop in your existing employment, or be the first step towards a whole new career. Its flexibility particularly suits people with multi-faceted work roles; and anyone needing to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding in their current job or future career path.

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.

Visit the graduate careers website Prospects for hundreds of job ideas.


Register for this course

Start dates

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Our prospectuses help you choose your course, understand what it's like to be an OU student and register for study.

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