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About us

The Open University (OU) is a unique institution serving the whole of Scotland. Our open admissions policy means no formal entry requirements are needed for most undergraduate qualifications or modules. Many of our new undergraduates join us without standard university entrance level qualifications. Read more about our story.

With our supported personalised open learning, you can choose to study for a degree, diploma or certificate, or take a stand-alone module. We are the most popular choice of university for flexible study in Scotland. Over half of all part-time undergraduate students in Scotland are OU students. 

Stat graphic - 16,465
Stat graphic - new undergraduates joining without standard university entrance qualifications

Geographical reach

The Open University reaches across the whole of Scotland with 16,465 students from the Shetland Isles to Dumfries and Galloway. This gives us an unparalleled ability to undertake nationwide developments, often by working in partnership. 

Who are our students?

We have a diverse student body, attracted by The OU's flexible entry routes and methods of study, as well as the funding support and finance options available.

Stat graphic - 4 OU in Scotland stats

  • 17% of our new undergraduates live in Scotland's 20% most disadvantaged communities.
  • 18% of new undergraduates have a college Higher National Certificate or Higher National Diploma.
  • 22% of OU in Scotland students declare a disability.
  • Almost a quarter of our students in Scotland live in rural towns or areas.     
  • Over 40% of students take Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects; of them 49% are female.
  • We have 60 students studying in 14 secure facilities across Scotland.
  • Over 70,000 OU qualifications have been awarded to students in Scotland since 1971. 

Equality and Diversity at The Open University in Scotland

Social justice is at the heart of The Open University's mission. We are creating an inclusive university community and a society where people are treated with dignity and respect, where inequalities are challenged, and where we anticipate and respond positively to different needs and circumstances, so that everyone can achieve their potential. Find out more

OU staff in Scotland

Stat graphic - ALs in Scotland
Stat graphic - staff based at Edinburgh office

​The student services we provide from our Edinburgh office include: student enrolment; advice on courses and qualifications, and fees and funding; learner support, including disability support; careers and employability information, advice and guidance. 

Our academic staff are grouped in OU faculties:

Stat graphic - we offer over 450 modulesMany of our associate lecturers also work in business and industry or for other Scottish higher education institutions or colleges. They provide guidance, advice and coursework feedback to our students, and can be contacted by phone or online.

Our associate lecturers lead group tutorials and seminars, making use of online teaching technologies to link up student groups across the country.

Some standalone modules have study advisers who students can contact with any academic queries.

A global university

Open University students are not just in Scotland; we have 174,898 students, including more than 7,000 students studying overseas.

The OU is the largest academic institution in the UK by student headcount, qualifies as one of Europe's largest universities, and is among the world's 30 largest universities.

Through its International Development Fund, the Scottish Government is supporting the OU in delivering ZEST, a continuing professional development programme for primary school teachers in Zambia.


The OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. This includes free study units on OpenLearn which, to date, has had 58 million visits; materials on iTunes U which have recorded 73 million downloads; and The OU YouTube channel which has had 38 million views since it was launched in 2008. 

​The OU had 72% of its research assessed as 3 or 4 star in the most recent UK Research Excellence Framework (2014). The high rating indicates that the research undertaken by The OU is world-leading or internationally excellent in terms of quality, impact and environment. 

Future Learn logo​The Open University is a global leader in the development of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in the UK via ‘FutureLearn’ a partnership between The OU and other universities, including Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde, providing free, open, online courses to global audiences. 


*Figures relating to OU in Scotland students are based on Full-Time Equivalent statistics for academic year 2017-18, except for the total number of OU students in Scotland, the number of students studying in secure facilities and the median age of new undergraduates (which are / are based on headcount figures), and the proportion of part-time undergraduates statistic (which is based on 2017-18 HESA data).

General enquiries

Call +44 (0) 131 226 3851  
Email scotland

Study enquiries

Prospective students:
call 0300 303 5303 
visit new student enquiries

For personalised contact details for applied to study/current OU students:
log in to StudentHome

Media enquiries

OU in Scotland enquiries:
contact Kenny Stewart,
Call 0131 549 7961

General OU media enquiries:
contact the Press Office,
Call 01908 654316

Out-of-hours: 07901 515891

Freedom of Information request

Please visit the Freedom of Information webpages.

Request your prospectus

Explore our qualifications and courses by requesting one of our prospectuses today.

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