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Postgraduate Certificate in Humanities

This certificate course, part of our postgraduate programme in the humanities, is for those who want to develop their research and analytical skills and upgrade their qualifications. It will suit anyone with appropriate entry qualifications who has a passion for the arts and is looking for an intellectual challenge. This certificate allows you to tailor your studies to your particular subject interest. 


Course code


  • 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.
How long it takes
1–10 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


For this 60-credit postgraduate certificate, you require:

60 credits from the following modules:

Postgraduate modules Credits Next start
MA Art history part 1 (A843)

This module explores the foundational concepts and recent developments that have shaped art history, with reference to subjects ranging from Renaissance Italy to the contemporary Caribbean.

See full description

60 03 Oct 2015
MA Classical studies part 1 (A863)

This module tackles the question, ‘How do we know what we know’ about ancient Greece and Rome by investigating classical studies as a multidisciplinary field.

See full description

60 03 Oct 2015
MA Music part 1 (A873)

This module introduces a range of music research skills and you will consider written documents about music, musical criticism and performances in western and non-western music.

See full description

60 03 Oct 2015
Postgraduate foundation module in philosophy (A850)

Gain postgraduate-level skills in research, analysis and presentation of an argument, and explore some of the contemporary debates in philosophy on the theme of personhood.

See full description

60 30 Jan 2016

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules A840, A860, A870, AA810, AA820, AA830 or 60 credits of specified modules from the MA in Humanities programme including at least one of the discontinued 30-credit modules A810, A820 or A830

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

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.

Credit transfer

For this qualification, we do not allow you to count credit for study you have already done elsewhere.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Humanities entitling you to use the letters PG Cert (Hum) (Open) after your name.


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.

Entry requirements

To study on our postgraduate humanities programme you must hold a bachelors degree at honours level. Your degree need not be in the subject area you intend to study, but you must have the basic skills expected of a graduate in that area. The part 1 modules or foundation module in each line bring you up to date with the latest ideas and approaches in your subject, but they do not offer remedial undergraduate training for those who have an inappropriate bachelors degree or inadequate experience. Before you enter the degree you must be able to:

  • write clear, concise, grammatically correct and accurately spelt prose
  • read large quantities of text quickly, accurately and critically
  • classify evidence precisely and assess its value and reliability
  • argue logically, consistently and sceptically
  • marshal various sorts of evidence to support a logical argument. 

If you would like help to assess your preparedness you can contact us for advice.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 20 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

Career relevance

Studying the Postgraduate Certificate in Humanities will provide you with an opportunity to build on skills acquired at undergraduate level. It will further develop your capability to read and analyse large amounts of written material and improve on your ability to convert knowledge acquired during your studies into lucid written responses. These transferable skills are in demand in many areas of the public and private sector, such as advertising, marketing and public relations; educational, charity and development; or government and public administration.

Completing the certificate will give you a worthwhile qualification in its own right, and you can also count the credits towards one of our MAs providing you take account of the unique study rule.  

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.