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Postgraduate Diploma in Humanities


This diploma course, part of our postgraduate programme in the humanities, will suit anyone with appropriate entry qualifications who has a passion for the arts and is looking for an intellectual challenge. It is designed to allow you to tailor your qualification to a particular subject interest. At present our postgraduate diploma includes subject lines in English, history and philosophy.

Planning your studies

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 in the programme but you must have the basic skills expected of a graduate in that area. Foundation modules or, in the case of the new degrees, Part 1 modules bring you up to date with the latest ideas and approaches in each 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
  • evaluate evidence precisely and assess its value and reliability
  • argue logically, consistently and sceptically
  • weigh up often conflicting evidence and construct a coherent and logical argument from it
  • find and use different sorts of evidence to support your argument.

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

You must begin your studies with a postgraduate foundation module or a 120-credit Part 1 module. If starting with a foundation module, we strongly recommend that you take no more than 60 credits of study each year. We cannot guarantee that the same selection of modules will continue to be available.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 40 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

Career relevance and employability

Studying for a diploma course 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 enable you to apply your skills through the production of a project. 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 diploma will give you a worthwhile qualification in its own right, and you can also count the credit 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.


For this 120-credit postgraduate diploma you require:


120 credits from one of the following modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
MA English part 1 (A815)

Expand on your previous study and prepare for your dissertation through an exploration of a rich variety of literary texts, from the ancient past to the present.

See full description

120 Oct 2015
MA History part 1 (A825)

Explore British and Irish histories from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries and increase your understanding of a range of key approaches to studying history.

See full description

120 Oct 2015

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations the discontinued module A880


60 credits from the following module:

Postgraduate module Credits Next start
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 Jan 2016 FINAL

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules A810, A820, A830, A840, A860, A870, AA810, AA820, AA830

And 60 credits from the following module:

Postgraduate module Credits Next start
Issues in contemporary social and political philosophy (A851)

Building on the philosophy foundation module, explore issues going beyond simply academic philosophy – citizenship, nationalism, democracy and more – developing your critical skills in the process.

See full description

60 Jan 2016

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations the discontinued modules A811, A812, A813, A821, A822, A823, A824, A831, A832, A833, A834, A841, A861, A871, D850, D851, D852, D854, D857

Learning outcomes

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 for previous study elsewhere

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 Diploma in Humanities entitling you to use the letters PG Dip (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.

How to register

If you want to study for this qualification, read the description and check you meet any specific requirements (for example, some of our qualifications, require you to be working in a particular environment, or be sponsored by your employer). Then select the module you wish to study first and ensure it is suitable for you before following the registration procedure for that module. During the registration procedure you will be asked to declare which qualification you are studying towards.

See a full list of modules available for this qualification

About this Diploma
Code D35
Level Postgraduate
Made up of 120 credits

Get a prospectus

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