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Diploma of Higher Education in Social Sciences

In this diploma you'll discover how social scientists answer some of today’s most pressing questions, and how they find evidence to test their ideas and theories. Through investigating topics such as consumption, parenting, and globalisation you'll explore the way our lives are shaped by individuals, groups and institutions By the end of your studies, you’ll have changed the way you look at the world forever and you’ll have gained a range of valuable analytical and evaluative skills, opening up employment opportunities in private, public and voluntary sector organisations. 

Key features of the course

  • Draws on ideas from criminology, economics, geography, politics, psychology and sociology.
  • Gives fascinating insights into our everyday lives and how they are shaped by the worlds in which we live
  • Enhances your employability with valued skills, including analysing and evaluating evidence, communicating ideas and information to different audiences
  • Provides an ideal stepping stone towards further study

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
W68
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 has two stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • You’ll start Stage 1 with an introductory social sciences module, and then you'll choose one module from a range of subjects that includes psychology, mathematics and personal finance.
  • Next, at Stage 2, you’ll begin by choosing one module from a range of subjects that includes psychology, economics and politics before completing your diploma with an interdisciplinary social sciences module. 

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

Stage 1 (120 credits)

You will start with a broad introduction to the social sciences that explores a wide range of factors shaping the nature of contemporary society. You’ll then choose between exploring the social world in more depth, an introduction to psychology, or studying a combination of modules covering mathematics and personal finance. 

Stage 2 (120 credits)

You’ll start this stage by choosing one module from a wide choice of subject areas. Your final module will deepen your understanding of how social science interprets and explains the social world – for example, how issues like obesity or smoking become a basis for public concern. 

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 in Social Sciences 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
  • 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 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’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 Social Sciences.

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 Essential Documents website. 


Compare this course

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.

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 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

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.


Skills for career development

As well as specific knowledge related to social sciences, this diploma course will help you to develop a wide range of transferable and work-related skills that are highly valued by employers. These include:

  • clear written communication
  • critical thinking
  • retrieval, analysis and evaluation of information using ICT
  • problem solving
  • time management and self-motivation
  • ability to debate arguments effectively
  • manipulating numbers and basic statistical data
  • use of critical feedback to reflect and improve
  • working collaboratively
  • report writing and giving presentations.

Career relevance

A qualification in social sciences can open up employment opportunities in business, banking, insurance, education, the health professions, administration, law, social services, voluntary and campaigning organisations, the media, public relations, public service organisations and government (national and local), planning and environmental management, the criminal justice system and social welfare organisations.

This diploma is equivalent to the first two years of a full degree. A valuable qualification in its own right, it also provides a sound basis for further study. For example, you could progress to the BA (Hons) Social Sciences (R23) or another of our social sciences degrees.

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 some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience):

  • teacher
  • lecturer
  • social worker
  • advertising planner
  • marketing executive
  • human resources manager
  • researcher
  • counsellor
  • retail manager
  • occupational psychologist
  • television broadcaster
  • journalist
  • charity campaigner
  • lawyer
  • civil servant.

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 16/08/2018
Credit transfer: apply by 06/12/2018

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