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Diploma of Higher Education Open

This Diploma of Higher Education is part of our Open qualifications programme – the most flexible programme in the UK because you can study any subjects you like, in any combination. This means you can build a qualification that's unique to you.

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
  • Gain knowledge and skills in a wide range of subjects
  • Count credit from university-level studies you’ve already completed elsewhere.
  • Enhance your employability.

Diploma

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 cost
See Fees & funding
Entry requirements
None

Are you ready for study?
Find out here

Register for this course

Start dates

Credit transfer: apply by 04/12/2014
Credit transfer: apply by 05/02/2015

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Course details

This qualification has two stages, each comprising 120 credits. Stage 1 provides the underpinning knowledge and skills needed for more advanced study at Stage 2.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

You’ll start with one of our ‘key introductory modules’, specially selected to develop the conceptual understanding and study skills you’ll need as you work through your qualification. You then have a free choice from a wide range of OU level 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. Whatever your choice, it will stretch your mind, fire your imagination and enhance your employability.


Recommended starting points (60 credits)

A full list of over 40 key introductory modules is available when you register, but we recommend that you start your course with one of the following:

Arts and Humanities

  • The arts past and present (AA100)

    Study a broad range of arts subject areas (from history to philosophy, music to English) across multiple cultures and historical periods in this university-level introduction.

Business and Management

  • An introduction to business studies (B120)

    This module introduces internal and external elements of a business, explains the context in which a business operates, and explores common aims and characteristics.

Computing and IT

  • My digital life (TU100)

    My digital life takes you on a journey from the origins of information technology through to the familiar computers of today, and on to tomorrow’s radical technologies.

Design

Education, Childhood and Youth

Engineering

  • Engineering the future (T174)

    This module offers an introduction to what engineering is and how it is practised in modern society, and looks at developments that will shape the future.

Environment and Development

Health and Social Care

Health and Wellbeing

Languages

  • Bon départ: beginners' French (L192)

    Learn to speak and understand French in a wide range of practical situations, and explore French life and culture with this carefully structured beginners’ module.

  • Rundblick: beginners' German (L193)

    Learn to speak and understand German in a wide range of practical situations, and explore life in German-speaking communities with this carefully structured beginners’ module.

  • Portales: beginners' Spanish (L194)

    Learn to speak and understand Spanish in various practical situations, and get a real feel for Hispanic cultures with this carefully structured beginners’ module.

Law

  • An introduction to law (W101)

    This module examines the role and function of a legal system by considering why laws develop, how laws are created, interpreted and applied, and what role law plays in regulating and administering justice within a society. 

Mathematics and Statistics

  • Discovering mathematics (MU123)

    Introduces and helps integrate key ideas from statistics, algebra, geometry and trigonometry into your everyday thinking to build your confidence in learning and using mathematics.

  • Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)

    This introductory university-level mathematics module covers key topics including calculus, vectors, matrices, sequences and functions, and assumes you are confident with the underpinning algebraic ideas.

  • Introducing statistics (M140)

    Learn statistical tools and quantitative methods, covering topics such as summarising data; examining relationships; randomness and sampling distributions; probability; testing hypotheses; and estimation.

Psychology and Counselling

Science

  • Exploring science (S104)

    Develop key scientific skills and explore a range of fascinating concepts and topics, including genetics, drugs, global warming, atoms, and the origin of the Universe.

  • Introducing health sciences: a case study approach (SDK125)

    Explore scientific and social aspects of disease and disability through issues like water and health; pain; alcohol; cancer screening; lung disease; trauma; and visual impairment.

Social Sciences

  • Introducing the social sciences (DD102)

    This module is an ideal introduction to the social sciences – psychology, social policy and criminology, geography and environment, politics and international studies, economics and sociology.

Completing Stage 1 (60 credits)

Choose another 60 credits from the list above or from any of our OU level 1 modules. A full list of over 60 OU level 1 modules is available when you register and includes the following:

Business and Management

Education, Childhood and Youth

Engineering

Health and Social Care


Stage 2 (120 credits)

By now, you may have some ideas about where you’re heading. If so, you can focus on one or two subject areas. Equally, you can continue to enjoy a free-ranging approach and let your mind take you where it wants to go. By the end of your studies, 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.

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



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

If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study. It’s not just study completed at a university that can be considered, you can transfer study from a wide range of professional qualifications as well. A full list of the qualifications and institutions we can consider for credit transfer can be found on our credit transfer website.

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 original evidence of your previous study. We will compare this against the learning outcomes for your chosen qualification and inform you of any award.

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, you will be awarded the Diploma of Higher Education Open.

Regulations

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

The only decision you need to make when you register is what to study first.

Study skills for this qualification

The Diploma of Higher Education Open begins with one of a range of key 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 some 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:

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.

Help! I'm not sure I'm ready!

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 choosing one of the following:

Arts and languages 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 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.

The module is divided into three blocks.

Block 1 begins by exploring how language is used to communicate. You will be introduced to language in various spoken and written forms – for example as a tool for learning or as cultural expression – before moving on to access texts in a foreign language. You’ll then examine the theme of popular protest with an initial discussion of a First World War poem, Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen. Next, you will study a diverse range of poetry with an emphasis on protest. Finally, depending on your personal interests and study goals, you can either try your hand at creative writing or try out a foreign language at beginners’ level).

Block 2 extends your study of language to consider popular culture and the language of protest. You’ll also start to think about the persuasive uses of language – seen in politics and the media for instance – and consider what impact dialect and pronunciation has on how meaning is produced, drawing on examples from hip-hop and song. You will then move on to focus on history, in particular, looking at the history of the demand for democracy (government by the people) in Britain from around 1815 through an examination of the Chartist movement. You will be introduced to a small number of the many debates surrounding the interpretation of Chartism and the relevance of the subject today. Finally, you will have the option to study a segment on a foreign language at beginners’ level (from a choice of up to six languages), or to extend your study of history by considering the Suffragette movement in Britain.

Block 3 considers the relationship between art and popular protest. You’ll be introduced to the study of the visual arts by looking at a selection of works that have been nominated for the Turner Prize which will allow you to look at many different types of art and explore the techniques used by art historians and art critics when they analyse a work of art. You’ll then explore four case studies: a painting by Picasso; an example of graffiti; a display at St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art in Glasgow; and the symbolism and language used in football banners. These case studies will give you the opportunity to build on what you have learnt so far and explore the relationship between popular protest and visual art from a wider range of academic disciplines, such as history, religious studies, linguistics and modern foreign language studies.

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 computing 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

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 children and young people, health, law, management, psychology and social sciences.

The module is divided into four blocks:

Block 1: Individuals

In this block, each discipline discusses individuals from a subject-specific perspective or point of view. In Social sciences the individual is presented in relation to cultural and group identities. In Childhood, identity formation is demonstrated through relationships and maturation processes. Lifestyle choices are discussed in relation to individual biological and psychological factors in Health. Psychology takes you on a journey through ways of understanding how individuals think and perceive their world, while Law takes a life course approach to individual rights and responsibilities. Finally, Management takes a very practical view of how you as an individual can begin to organise and develop yourself and others.

Block 2: Families and relationships

Here you’ll encounter a range of perspectives from each of the subject areas on the theme of families and relationships. In Childhood, family and relationships are presented from the point of view of an adult who wants to understand more about the lives of children and young people. The Health perspective explores how family life affects health and considers the care demands on families during illness. Psychology reveals how interaction is key to understanding how families are built and sometimes fall apart. You’ll explore division of labour in families from a Social sciences perspective, and how the nature of family life shapes life chances. In considering parental rights and responsibilities, Law discusses serious cases such as child neglect and abuse. Finally, Management looks at relationships at work and how to manage them effectively.

Block 3: Organisations and communities

This block begins with a Management perspective on organisations, in which you will consider characteristics typical of organisations, including structure, culture, and management tools. Also, you’ll discover how adults support transitions for children and their families when children enter school for the first time or move between different educational settings. In Health, the school is again a focus, along with the built environment, this time for considering health influences and interventions. Having approached organisations and communities from a largely experiential perspective, the block then presents Law, and how rights and responsibilities influence and constrain practice in organisational settings. In Psychology, you consider how roles and groups develop within organisations, coming to a working understanding of certain observable behaviours. Finally, Social Sciences present how people can organise themselves to bring about social change.

Block 4: Society

This block opens with an examination of how social scientists view and consider society, including different types of cultures and how aspects of different cultures spread to different countries. The concept of multiple self is discussed in Psychology, showing how individuals can adapt and change when moving to a different culture. Next, you will consider the growth of fast food diets in Western society, their effect on children and young people, and action to foster healthy eating habits. Health is considered by debating the impact of government policy on the health and well being of society. In Law, you’ll consider the laws of negligence and duty of care within society today, drawing on real life cases that English law courts have judged.

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 visual 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 computing 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

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

What makes Open qualification students stand out is the rich view of the world they develop, the diversity of perspectives they encounter and the breadth of skills they bring to the workplace from having experienced a variety of disciplines.
Whatever your choice of modules, the Diploma of Higher Education Open (W34) will help you develop key transferable skills including:

  • adaptability and flexibility
  • problem solving
  • communication and literacy
  • numeracy
  • information technology (IT)
  • analysis and reporting.

It will also say a lot about your personal qualities – that you’re prepared to take on a challenge and see it through to the end, and that you can prioritise tasks and manage your time. These are exactly the kind of qualities that employers are looking for.

Career relevance

The flexibility of our Open qualifications makes them 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.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, visit the graduate careers website Prospects for hundreds of job ideas.


Study plan - Overview
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