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Diploma of Higher Education in Law

Studying law is stimulating in its own right, and it’s also helpful in a wide range of careers. By the end of your studies, you’ll achieve a general knowledge and understanding of the English legal system and a specialist insight into contract law, the law of torts, public law and criminal law. You’ll also develop a range of skills that'll prepare you for further career development or study. You may choose to continue on to complete our Bachelor of Laws with Honours (LLB) qualification.

Please note that if you are considering studying this diploma as part of a qualifying law degree (QLD) you'll need to complete your studies within four years to enable you to complete your degree within the required timescale.   

Key features of the course

  • Develops your understanding of the English legal system and how legal cases are argued and decided.
  • Provides a specialist knowledge of Contract Law, the Law of Torts, Public Law and Criminal Law.
  • Helps develop key legal skills with identifying legal issues and applying legal principles
  • Can assist your career development by demonstrating your academic ability to potential employers.
A nationally recognised qualification in its own right, this diploma of higher education is also equivalent to the two thirds of the Bachelor of Laws with Honours (LLB) (Q79).

Course Summary

+Shortlist Course

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
W56
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 qualification has two stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • You’ll start Stage 1 with an introductory law module followed by a module that builds your knowledge of the concepts of law, law making and legal skills. 
  • At Stage 2, you’ll study two modules covering contract and tort law, and public and criminal law. 

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

Stage 1 (120 credits)

You’ll start with an introduction to the study of law – exploring why laws exist; how they’re applied and interpreted; key concepts such as legal personality, culpability and legal liability; and the role played by the legal system. You’ll then consider the nature of legal obligations; morality and justice; and the meaning of justice in a legal system. 

Stage 2 (120 credits)

Stage 2 covers four of the seven ‘Foundations of Legal Knowledge’: Contract and Restitution, Tort, Criminal law and Public law. 

You’ll learn how contracts are formed, their terms and how they end. You’ll also examine a range of torts including negligence, nuisance and trespass and the growing range of commercial torts.

The second module explores the relationship between the state and its citizens and critically analyses the principles underpinning constitutional and criminal law.

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 11 June 2019.


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 in Law 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
  • working in a group with other students
  • using and producing diagrams or screenshots
  • finding external/third party material online

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

Credit transfer

If you’ve already completed some study at another university, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. Just tell us what you studied, where and when, and we’ll compare this against the learning outcomes for your chosen course.

For more details and 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 in Law.

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 for this qualification.

At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.

Please note that whilst it is possible to study both Stage 1 modules at the same time, students who complete An introduction to law (W101) before Law: concepts and perspectives (W102) acquire the legal knowledge, understanding of legal terminology and legal study skills needed for successful study of W102.  If you choose to study the modules together, you may therefore find studying W102 to be more challenging initially. Studying the two modules together is the equivalent of full-time study and you'll need to be able to study for up to 35 hours each week. Also there may be some occasions when the face-to-face tutorials on the two modules conflict by being on the same date.

Even though there are no entry requirements, there are some skills that you'll need to succeed. If you're not quite ready for OU study we can guide you to resources that prepare you, many of which are free.

Answer a few quick questions to check whether you're ready for study success

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:

People, work and society Access module

What you will study

This multidisciplinary module provides an excellent introduction to a wide range of subject areas, including childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, business and law.

View full details of People, work and society 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 £3,012*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study – is £6,024*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £12,048*.
  • .

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2020. 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 computer, 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

This qualification will provide you with a knowledge and understanding of the English legal system, including the way in which legal cases are argued and decided, and a specialist knowledge and understanding of four substantive legal areas: Contract Law, the Law of Torts, Public Law and Criminal Law. You will also develop a range of legal and other skills, including being able to identify legal issues and apply legal principles and developing your time management and self-motivation abilities.

Career relevance

This qualification could count towards part completion of the academic stage of legal training as recognised by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). It is necessary to complete further undergraduate legal studies successfully and meet all other requirements of the BSB and the SRA in order satisfactorily to complete the academic stage of training.

If you want to become a solicitor or barrister, you’ll need to complete the full Batchelor of Laws with Honours (LLB) qualification within six years.

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. This includes 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. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience.

  • barrister 
  • barrister's clerk
  • chartered legal executive (England and Wales)
  • company secretary
  • detective
  • licensed conveyancer
  • paralegal
  • solicitor
  • advice worker
  • chartered accountant
  • civil service administrator
  • data analyst/scientist
  • forensic computer analyst
  • patent attorney
  • trading standards officer .

Want to see more jobs? Use the career explorer for job ideas from the National Careers Service, Prospects and Plan IT


Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 15/08/2019
Credit transfer: apply by 12/12/2019

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