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Diploma of Higher Education in Materials Fabrication and Engineering

This diploma brings together qualifications offered by The Welding Institute (TWI) – the world centre for materials joining technology – with engineering and mathematics modules from The Open University. If you’ve recently been awarded a TWI Diploma at Technologist level, or expect to complete one shortly, you can count it towards our diploma. You’ll be awarded 90 credits for your TWI qualification, and you’ll study an additional 150 credits from Open University modules to complete the diploma.

Key features of the course

  • Develops the intermediate technical and professional skills that are in demand from employers
  • Combines academic study with work-based learning
  • Builds a solid foundation for further study

This diploma will be of particular interest to those living and working in Scotland. The same programme of study is also available as the Foundation Degree in Materials Fabrication and Engineering (X12).

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Course code


  • 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.
90 (TWI Diploma) + 150 (OU study) = 240
How long it takes
Part time – 3–4 years (OU study)
Time limit – 5 years (OU study)
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
See Fees & funding
Entry requirements
For details see Am I ready?


To register for this qualification, please refer to the entry requirements and contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service (online registration is not available).

Next start date Feb 2015 - Registration closes 08/01/2015
Credit transfer: apply by 04/12/2014

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Course details

This qualification has two stages. Stage 1 provides the underpinning knowledge and skills needed for more advanced study at Stage 2.

Stage 1 (60 credits)

We recommend that you start with an introduction to university-level mathematics, although you can choose an introductory engineering module instead if your mathematics is sufficiently advanced. You’ll then begin planning your professional development as you move towards professional engineering status, and focus on the sector in which you work by looking at aspects of how your organisation functions.

Optional module (30 credits)

Select one of:

Compulsory module (30 credits)

  • Engineering at work (T198)

    Improve your performance at work while gaining academic credit for the practical and professional skills learned and developed in your engineering workplace.

Decision to make

Your choice of optional modules will depend on your experience and confidence with mathematics.

Stage 2 (90 credits)

You’ll deepen your study of how engineers find solutions for technical problems, covering aspects of the mechanics of solids and fluids and the structure and properties of materials; and consider how to manage and contribute positively to change.

To complete this qualification, you’ll need to transfer 90 credits from your TWI Diploma, which you must have completed within five years of applying to transfer your credit. You can do this at any time before or during your Open University studies.

A nationally recognised qualification in its own right, the diploma of higher education is also equivalent to the first two thirds of an honours degree – see the Top-up Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Q78) for more information.

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

To complete this qualification, you’ll need to transfer 90 credits from your TWI Diploma, which you must have completed within five years of starting your OU study. You can do this at any time before or during your studies.

For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.

On completion

On completion of this undergraduate course, you will be awarded the Diploma of Higher Education in Materials Fabrication and Engineering.


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

This diploma is only for students who gain credit through The Welding Institute (TWI) Diploma at Technologist level and are in engineering-related employment.

You will need to apply for credit transfer within five years of completing your TWI qualification in order to be able to count it towards this OU diploma. You will have a five-year time limit to complete your Open University modules. For further information, please visit the Credit Transfer website.

Study skills for this qualification

The Diploma of Higher Education in Materials Fabrication and Engineering begins with modules in mathematics or engineering which are designed to build a solid foundation for further study. Although they’re introductory modules, to get the best from your study you’ll need some knowledge of mathematics, and the ability to read and write to a good standard of English.

Visit our Maths for Engineering website to help you decide if you could do with some extra preparation before you begin.

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.

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Study for free

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:

Science, technology and maths 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 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.

The module is divided into three blocks:

Block 1: Life

Block 1 starts with biology and ecological ideas and uses varied examples to describe interrelationships between plants, animals and the wider environment while developing your study skills. You will learn about the unique role of humans, and explore how we have changed the environment to suit our needs through farming or conservation. You’ll consider how we can tell what effect current lifestyles have on the environment by introducing the ecological footprint model and look at sustainable living and how we can conserve declining species and habitats. This block also introduces key mathematical ideas and you will learn techniques to help you tackle everyday mathematical problems.  

Block 2: Water

Water is essential for life and fundamental to what we do. In Block 2 you’ll investigate how water has shaped our planet and our lives. You will learn and develop skills that will aid your understanding and use of a variety of tools used in science. You will also access the Open University Library and the wide variety of materials that this can offer. You will investigate the presence of water in potatoes and how water is required for yeast to respire in some home experiments, and through these home experiments, learn about how we can use experimental data to develop and refine hypotheses. Underpinning this is some essential mathematics and further computing skills to develop your study of science, technology and mathematics.

Block 3: Home

Block 3 introduces you to the subjects of design, engineering and computing around the central concept of home. You will find out how homes are designed, and can be designed better, through the use of engineering and computing. Block 3 is a practical block where you will complete a number of design, engineering, and computing activities and experiments. You’ll also be introduced to an online design studio where you will keep a portfolio of the work you do. You’ll also continue to learn mathematics and IT skills to support your developing knowledge of some computing and engineering concepts.

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 IT 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 us on +44 (0)1908 659253 or request 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. 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.

*The fee information provided here is valid for courses starting before 31 July 2015. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation. Fees information for courses starting between 1 August 2015 – 31 July 2016 will be available in March 2015.

  • 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 £10,528* based on our current fees.

Additional costs

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.

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 for courses starting before 1 August 2015. Updated information for courses starting after this will be available in March 2015.

How many credits are you planning to study per year? You will need [xxx] credits to complete this qualification

Part time study

Full time study

Do you already hold a degree?

Are you employed?

British Forces

  • Only currently serving members of the British armed forces, who are temporarily and unavoidably working abroad and using BFPO addresses, are eligible to pay UK course fees for the total time spent outside the UK. Other students who are able to use BFPO addresses need to contact the Student Registration and Enquiry Service (SRS) Pricing Area Team on +44 (0)300 303 5303 for UK fee eligibility to be assessed.
* The fee and funding information provided here is valid for courses starting before 31 July 2015. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation. Fees for courses starting from 1 August 2015 will be available in March 2015.

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

If you’re working at a technical level in welding and joining, have certified expertise and want to climb further up the career ladder, the Diploma of Higher Education in Materials Fabrication and Engineering is for you. It combines traditional academic skills with the needs of your workplace, and includes two work-based modules which guide you through activities and projects closely linked to your own role. You’ll also be well prepared for further study should you wish to progress to an honours degree with our Top-up Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Q78).

Career relevance

People with engineering expertise are much in demand for their rigorous approach to problem solving and high level of numeracy. This diploma has a strong focus on professional development planning, and can be a route to gaining additional responsibilities or promotion at work, or a move to a more challenging role.

Other careers

You’ll also develop a wide range of transferable skills, including information handling and numeracy, IT and communication, analysing and solving problems, team working, planning and organising. These skills open up a wide range of other career opportunities – for example in management or finance – as well as in engineering itself.

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 most careers will require further study, training and/or work experience):

  • welder and fabricator
  • railway engineer
  • architectural fabricator
  • sheet metalworker
  • metallurgist
  • construction engineer
  • aerospace engineer
  • civil engineer
  • ship builder
  • fabrication workshop manager
  • foreman/forewoman
  • testing technician
  • agricultural engineer
  • civil engineer
  • quality control inspector.

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.


Study plan - Overview