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A guide to our courses

If you’re new to university study in general, or want to get a better idea of how our courses are structured, we’ve got you covered.

Guide to courses

Let’s start with the basics: what courses do we offer?

  • Certificates of Higher Education – these are at level 4 of the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ).
  • Diplomas of Higher Education – these are at level 5 FHEQ.
  • Honours Degrees – these are at level 6 FHEQ.

To put those into context, GCSEs are level 2 FHEQ and A-Levels are level 3.

We offer over 200 highly respected courses in a range of subjects. Our course types page can tell you more about what we offer.

How are they structured?

Modules are the most important part of your course – each one covers a key area of your studies.

Each module is worth 30 or 60 credits.

You’ll need to build up a set number of credits to complete your course.

Each course is made up of one, two or three 120-credit stages.


Certificate of Higher Education

Diploma of Higher Education

Honours Degree

Stage 1

120 credits

Stage 1

120 credits

Stage 1

120 credits

Total of 120 credits

Stage 2

120 credits

Stage 2

120 credits



Total of 240 credits

Stage 3

120 credits





Total of 360 credits


Looking for something other than a qualification?

The majority of our modules can be studied by themselves, on a stand-alone basis. Browse our full list of OU modules.

Academic credit explained

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.



OU study is so flexible. I can study when I want, how I want and where I want, so I can really make it fit around my plans and what I want to do.

James Bransgrove, BA (Hons) Business Management

I liked the idea of studying when I could and the modular structure of the degree fitted around my busy life.

Lynn Neeves, BA (Hons) English Literature

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