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Diploma of Higher Education Open

The Diploma of Higher Education Open enables you to study any subjects you like, in any combination. So whether you decide to study a range of different subjects or specialise in one or two different subjects, you can build a qualification that's unique to you.

Key features of the course

  • Design your own diploma to suit your personal and professional needs, interests and aspirations
  • Choose from a wide range of modules in any subject or focus your studies on one two specific subjects
  • Be able to demonstrate your adaptability to study different subjects
  • Easily change direction if your study interests change
  • Count credit from university-level studies you’ve already completed elsewhere
A nationally recognised qualification in its own right, this diploma of higher education is also equivalent to the first two stages of our BA/BSc (Honours) Open (QD).

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Course Summary

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Diploma

Diploma

  • Widely-recognised qualification.
  • Equivalent to the first two thirds of an honours degree.
  • Enhance your professional and technical skills or extend your knowledge and understanding of a subject.
  • Study for interest or career development.
  • Top up to a full honours degree in just two years.

This type of course may be of particular interest if you’re living or working in Scotland.

Course code
W34
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.
240
How long it takes
Part time – 4 years
Full time – 2 years
Time limit – 12 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This Diploma of Higher Education Open has two stages, each comprising 120 credits. For your diploma you can:

  • study a broad ranges of subjects; or
  • specialise in one subject for half of your diploma and study a broad range of subjects for the other; or
  • specialise in two subjects, dividing your time equally between both.

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.

Stage 2 (120 credits)

Having completed Stage 1, you may have formed some ideas about the direction you want to follow – if so, you can start to focus on one or two subject areas and explore some of the topics you will have encountered at Stage 1 in more depth. Equally, you can continue to be inspired by different subjects, especially if you have previous knowledge or experience. Either way, after you've completed the 120 credits of study required for Stage 2, you’ll have essential analytical and critical thinking skills, and key transferable skills that are highly valued in the workplace. You’ll also be well prepared for further study should you decide to aim for a degree.


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 Diploma 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 page 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

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.


On completion

On completion of this undergraduate course, we'll award you the Diploma 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. 


Compare this course

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification. 

The Diploma 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

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:

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 £11,712*.

*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 optional language modules that include a residential school. For each residential school you must pay an additional charge of £285 (2018/19) to cover the cost of accommodation and meals. You’ll pay this charge when you book the residential school, after you’ve enrolled on the module. You’ll also have to pay for your own travel to and from the venues. If you’re unable to attend a residential school, there will be an online alternative (to which the additional charge doesn’t apply).

This qualification also includes optional science modules that include an optional residential school. For each residential school you choose to attend, you must pay an additional charge to cover the 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 Diploma 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 diploma will help you develop key transferable skills which may include:

  • self management
  • team working
  • problem solving
  • communication and literacy
  • numeracy
  • application of information technology
  • business and customer awareness

Career relevance

The flexibility of our Diploma 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 diploma can help you to develop in your existing employment, or open doors to 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
Credit transfer: apply by 16/08/2018
Credit transfer: apply by 06/12/2018
Credit transfer: apply by 14/02/2019

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