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Facts and figures

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. Almost a fifth of new undergraduates join us without standard university entrance level qualifications.

With our supported 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. 

15,000 OU students in Scotland National Student Survey - student satisfaction graphic

Geographical reach

The Open University reaches across the whole of Scotland with 15,000 students from Shetland to Stranraer. 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.

Four stat cluster

Photo of OU graduate

  • 17% of our new undergraduates live in Scotland's 20% most disadvantaged communities.
  • 16% of new undergraduates have a college Higher National Certificate or Higher National Diploma.                                            
  • 20% of OU in Scotland students have 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 46% are female.
  • We have 78 students studying in 17 secure facilities across Scotland.
  • Over 67,000 students in Scotland have been awarded a qualification from The OU 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.

Click here for The Open University's Equality and Diversity website, which includes information about our Equality Scheme, our outcome-focused equality objectives and our equality statistics.

OU staff in Scotland

Staff group photoOver 120 OU in Scotland academic, academic-related and support staff are based at our office in Edinburgh's West End. Our academic staff are grouped in OU faculties:

​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. 

We have around 450 associate lecturers living across Scotland, many of whom 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 over 175,000 students enrolled with us, 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 40 largest universities.
  • Through its International Development Fund, the Scottish Government has supported The OU in delivering Access to Teaching Saltire Scholarships, which provided a pathway for rural women in Malawi into teaching.


  • 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 more than 39 million visits; materials on iTunes U which have recorded more than 70 million downloads; and The OU YouTube channel which has had over 30 million views since it was launched in 2008. 
  • Future Learn logo​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. 
  • ​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.

Contacting us

Visit our Contact Us page for details of how to get in touch with The Open University in Scotland.

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*Figures relating to OU in Scotland students are based on Full-Time Equivalent statistics for academic year 2015-16, except for the total number of OU students in Scotland (which is a headcount figure), and the proportion of part-time undergraduates statistic (which is based on 2014-15 HESA data).