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Studying science at the OU

Our long established, quality distance-learning methods use innovative technologies to provide a modern, blended learning experience. We’re designing our new Science modules with on-screen delivery in mind, taking advantage of year-on-year developments in new technologies to make your studies with us even more engaging and flexible - on computer, mobile and tablet devices. Watch the videos below.

Course material

This short video provides an introduction to the production of our study material.

Practical science

Modules include practical elements. Watch this video  to find out more about practical science at The Open University

You will be immersed in interactive activities during your studies, using a mix of high quality text, graphics, audios and videos to support your learning. And you won’t be on your own – you’ll be joining the UK’s largest student community, supported throughout your studies by dedicated science tutors as well a specialist team of Student Support Advisers and University staff active in research.

Bespoke websites are available for the modules you’re studying, where you can explore your learning and share ideas with fellow students and colleagues. What’s more, we have a science online community where you can talk to students and get advice throughout your studies. You can also join OUSA (The Open University Students Association) to meet other students and help shape how your university is run.

Our OpenScience Laboratory brings interactive practical science to students anywhere and anytime the internet is available. The laboratory features investigations based on on-screen instruments, remote access experiments and virtual scenarios using real data. You’ll be introduced to some of these practicals during your studies, as well as gaining practical skills from home experiments and online activities.

Try one of the examples below.

Histology & histopathology

Elementary flame test

 measuriny the Milky Way

The Interactive Brain

Fine Beam Tube

There may also be the option to attend a residential school or field trip.

You can also refine your practical observational and investigative skills outside of your studies by contributing to some great citizen science projects run by The Open University and our partners – such as


OU students have a wealth of information and resources at their fingertips through The Open University Library. Anytime, anywhere – you’ll have worldwide access to trusted, quality educational resources such as online journals, ebooks and other online academic resources to support and enhance your studies.

Meet some of our science students

Vicky Bowskill
What subject are you studying?
I’m studying towards BSc Environmental Science and at the time of writing this I’m just starting my Level 3 modules.
How has OU study changed your life?
I’m definitely not the same person I was when I started – you learn as much about yourself with the OU as you do about your subject. Studying on top of full time work really makes you think about what you spend your time on and what is important in your life.

I was lucky enough to get a job in my chosen sector whilst I was less than two years into my OU journey. The fact I was studying was definitely part of that, along with other skills I’d picked up in my previous career.
See full interview

Michael Howard
What subject are you studying?
A combination of biological and environmental science.
Share one or two highlights of your time studying with the OU?
Passing the first exam that I had taken for 40 years. I was quite nervous and had suddenly lost the sight in one eye a few weeks before. The result felt like a massive achievement. Recently getting a Microbiology Prize was a real high. It has made me want to push my learning boundaries, even further.
See full interview

Dr Mandy Bailey
What subject did you study?

I graduated in 2008 with a BSc (Hons) in Natural Sciences (Physics).
Share one or two highlights of your time studying with the OU?
One of the greatest things I got from my studies (apart from the knowledge) was getting to know so many people from all over the country, both tutors and my fellow students. I have made some great friends for life through the OU, we are always there for each other.

I never dreamt I would do the things I have, the observing residential school in Mallorca was a turning point – I knew then what I really wanted to do.
See full interview