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Postgraduate Certificate in Computing

The Postgraduate Certificate in Computing is an intensive programme of study designed for graduates and professionals with appropriate industrial experience. It will develop your knowledge and skills in computing, support a professional approach to the application of those skills, and demonstrate your capability for advanced-level study. A wide choice of modules enables you to meet your immediate career needs or extend your understanding of this broad subject.

Key features of the course

  • A valuable qualification recognised by industry and frequently attracting students sponsored by their employers.
  • Designed to support your continuing professional development.
  • Provides evidence of your ability to study at postgraduate level.

This certificate is the first stage of a study programme that progresses to a postgraduate diploma and finally a masters degree. You can step off at any point, or study the whole programme.


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
1–2 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


You can study the modules in any order, although we recommend that you begin with a module from List A that is related to your area of interest or experience.

If you intend to continue studying towards our Postgraduate Diploma in Computing (E81) or MSc in Computing (F66) and want to consider a specialist pathway, you should ensure that the modules you choose for this certificate are appropriate for that specialism.

To gain this qualification, you need 60 credits as follows:

30 credits from List A:

List A: optional modules Credits Next start
Data management (M816)

Discover the data management principles, practices and technologies required to develop policies, procedures and systems that control, protect, deliver and enhance the value of an organisation’s data asset.

See full description

30 01 Nov 2019
Information security (M811)

Explore the professional and technical skills necessary to understand, document, manage and implement strategic and operational aspects of your organisation's information security.

See full description

30 02 Nov 2019
Project management (M815)

Postgraduate module for aspiring project managers and practicing project managers who wish to develop their knowledge and skills of managing technological projects. APM accredited.

See full description

30 01 May 2020
Software development (M813)

Gain the fundamental knowledge and understanding, and analysis and synthesis skills that you will need to develop software artefacts fit for a real-world organisational context.

See full description

30 01 May 2020


A further 30 credits from the list A or from List B:

List B: optional modules Credits Next start
Continuing professional development in practice (U810)

This module allows you to evaluate and assess 150 hours prior learning and identify and progress appropriate development opportunities for future continuing professional development. 

See full description

30 04 May 2019
Digital forensics (M812)

M812 covers the history of forensics, both criminal and criminal digital law, digital investigation techniques for desktop and mobile devices as well as forensic readiness.

See full description

30 01 May 2020
Making strategy with systems thinking in practice (TB871) NEW

TB871 builds capability for making strategy within your own chosen area of (professional) practice using ideas and tools from five traditions of systems thinking.

See full description

30 01 May 2020
Managing systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction (TU812)

Enables postgraduate students to take a learning approach to managing change in complex and problematic situations, using systems ideas and their own and other perspectives.

See full description

30 01 Nov 2019 FINAL
Managing technological innovation (T848)

This module explores the processes that underpin technological innovation an understanding of which is crucial whether you are a user or producer of technological innovation.

See full description

30 01 Nov 2019
Network security (T828)

T828 presents the opportunity to jointly study the Cisco CCNA-Security and ISC2 CISSP. You will explore information systems security management and secure internetworked systems.

See full description

30 01 Nov 2019
Software engineering (M814)

Explore the advanced concepts and techniques used throughout the software life cycle, for the effective production and management of large, complex, and long-lived software systems.

See full description

30 01 Nov 2019
Strategic capabilities for technological innovation (T849)

This module draws on a range of theoretical perspectives from both strategic and innovation management to produce a multi-layered, practical, approach to strategic management of technological innovation.

See full description

30 01 Nov 2019

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules T824, T846, T889 and TU811

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.

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 20th March 2019.

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.

Credit transfer

If you have already completed some successful study at postgraduate level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this Open University qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible as it may affect your choice of OU modules. If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete your qualification with us.

Visit our Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.

On completion

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

You may continue your studies by adding a further 60 credits to your postgraduate certificate to gain a Postgraduate Diploma in Computing (E81) then an additional 60 credits to gain an MSc in Computing (F66).


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

You will need a UK bachelors degree (or equivalent) in computing or a related discipline, or relevant industrial experience. If you do not hold a bachelors degree, irrespective of your industrial experience, you will need to study a module from the Postgraduate Certificate in Computing (K22) to demonstrate your ability to study successfully at postgraduate level. On successful completion, you can link your study to this qualification at a later date.

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum overall score of 6 and minimum score of 5.5 in each of the four components: reading, writing, speaking and listening under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the IELTS website for details.

Our badged open course, Succeeding in postgraduate study, will introduce you to the nature of Master's level study. It offers essential preparation for pursuing your learning at this level – and is free.

How long it takes

Most students complete this qualification over one year, which is the minimum time needed, completing 30 credits over two consecutive 6-month periods. The maximum time to complete is two years.

Career relevance

The modules in the postgraduate computing programme are for professional computer specialists, engineers, technical managers and scientists who need to update their skills and knowledge in specific areas, and gain recognised qualifications to develop their careers.

The modules have been developed to combine theoretical and practical aspects of computing, to enable you to become an effective professional in the computing industry. In addition, they encourage you, through the provision of appropriate educational activities, to develop study and transferable skills applicable to your employment and your continuing professional development.

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.