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Certificate of Higher Education in Language Studies

This certificate offers a flexible introduction to the study of languages, introduces you to key concepts in language learning, and develops your study skills. You can choose French, German and Spanish at beginners’ and intermediate levels, or you can increase your knowledge and skills in using English for academic study. By the end of the course, you’ll have moved well beyond the basics in at least one of your chosen languages.

Key features of the course

  • Develops you into an independent user (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages level B1) of at least one modern language
  • Introduces you to the cultures that use your chosen languages
  • Extends your competence in intercultural communication
  • Builds a solid foundation for studying languages at more advanced levels

Course Summary

+Shortlist Course

Certificate

Certificate

  • Widely recognised qualification.
  • Equivalent to the first third of an honours degree.
  • Study for interest or career development.
  • Shows that you can study successfully at university level.
  • Count it towards further qualifications such as a foundation degree, DipHE or honours degree.
Course code
T21
Credits

Credits

  • 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.
120
How long it takes
Part time – 3 years
Full time – 1 to 2 years
Time limit – 7 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This qualification has one stage, comprising 120 credits.

  • In Stage 1, you’ll study a compulsory 30-credit or 60-credit module. If you intend to progress onto the BA (Honours) or Diploma of Higher Education, your choice of module depends on if you intend to combine English language studies with a modern language or study two modern languages. You’ll choose your remaining 90 or 60 credits from a range of language modules.

Prepare for OU study with an Access module

We offer two starting points depending on how confident you are or how long it’s been since you last studied. Choose to dive straight in at Stage 1, or if you’d prefer some extra preparation, you can get started with an optional Access module. See Entry requirements for more details.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

If you intend to progress onto the BA (Honours) or Diploma of Higher Education, you’ll need to either combine English language studies with one modern language (French, German or Spanish) or combine two of these modern languages.

For modern language modules, your choices at Stage 1 will depend on your current level of language proficiency. If you are unsure about your current level, you can use our languages self-assessment quiz to check.

Beginners and Intermediate language modules are both 30-credit modules, both starting in October and ending in June. Intermediate language modules are pedagogically designed to follow on from Beginners language modules.

We strongly recommend that you do not study a Beginners and Intermediate modules at the same time, unless you already have sufficient prior knowledge of the language to study at Intermediate level.

English language studies and a modern language

English and French; English and German; or English and Spanish
ModulesCredits
You'll study the following:
Introducing English language studies (L101)60
You'll choose 60 credits from the following lists (at least 30 credits must be from list B):
List A
Bon départ: beginners' French (L192)30
Rundblick: beginners' German (L193)30
Portales: beginners' Spanish (L194)30
Exploring languages and cultures (L161)30
English for academic purposes online (L185)30
List B
French studies 1 (intermediate) (L112)30
German studies 1 (intermediate) (L113)30
Spanish studies 1 (intermediate) (L116)30

Two modern languages

French and German; French and Spanish; or German and Spanish
ModulesCredits
You'll study the following:
Exploring languages and cultures (L161)30
You'll choose 90 credits from the following lists (at least 30 must be from list B):
List A
Bon départ: beginners' French (L192)30
Rundblick: beginners' German (L193)30
Portales: beginners' Spanish (L194)30
Introducing English language studies (L101)60
English for academic purposes online (L185)30
List B
French studies 1 (intermediate) (L112)30
German studies 1 (intermediate) (L113)30
Spanish studies 1 (intermediate) (L116)30


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 17 March 2021.


Accessibility

We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The Certificate of Higher Education in Language Studies uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:

  • studying a mixture of printed and online material. Online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
  • working in a group with other students
  • continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of essays, short answer questions, and in some cases an examination
  • using feedback: continuous assessment involves receiving detailed feedback on your work from your tutor and using this feedback to improve your performance.

For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills

The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.

It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.

For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


On completion

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Certificate of Higher Education in Language Studies.

International recognition

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Find out more about international recognition of Open University qualifications.

Regulations

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

There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.

There’s a choice of starting points in your chosen modern language(s) – your choice will depend on your current level of confidence and proficiency. See our guidance on choosing the right modern language level, which includes a self-assessment quiz to help you decide between beginners’ or intermediate French, German and Spanish.

Talk to an advisor if you’re not sure you’re ready.

How much time do I need?

  • Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.

Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner

Preparing for study with an Access module

Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to Stage 1 of their qualification. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
  • support from a dedicated team throughout your study
  • detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:

Arts and languages Access module

What you will study

This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the arts, humanities and languages. It's perfect preparation for your study with The Open University as you'll develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. From the perspective of its central theme, ‘popular protest’, it explores a range of subjects, including art history, English, English language studies, history, and popular music. The module also offers an opportunity to explore other subjects, such as modern languages, classical studies, religious studies and creative writing.

View full details of Arts and languages Access module

How much will it cost in England?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • Most OU students study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £3,168*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits, which is equivalent to a year's full-time study, is £6,336*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £6,336*.
  • .

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2022. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

If your income is not more than £25,000 or you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you start studying.


Skills for career development

This certificate raises your awareness of cultural differences and similarities – a key employability skill when people with different language and cultural backgrounds are increasingly meeting and working together. You’ll develop language skills in at least one modern foreign language and there is also a strong emphasis on communication in our digital age.

Career relevance

Languages and intercultural skills are key assets in tourism, international business and administration, and the diplomatic service. They are also highly valued by employers in a wide range of other sectors, who place a premium on the ability to make contact and communicate with global trade partners and to understand overseas business environments – and who often acknowledge this with higher salaries. According to the National Centre for Languages, knowing foreign languages opens the doors to a wide range of economic, social and personal benefits. Being able to communicate effectively with our customers, colleagues and business partners is critical to competitiveness and social cohesion. The languages most in demand in UK industry are French, German, Spanish and Mandarin, though knowledge of any other language will also give you the edge.

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience):

  • PR consultant
  • journalist
  • editor
  • advertising account manager
  • marketing officer
  • copywriter
  • tour manager
  • event organiser
  • travel agency manager.

Thinking of studying this course?

It is not possible to register for this qualification at the moment. We expect to open for registrations in March 2022. If you would like to be kept updated, register your interest.


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