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Course type
Certificate  

Certificate

  • Qualification unique to The Open University.
  • Focus on a particular profession or subject area.
  • Study for interest or career development.
  • A wide range of subjects and levels.
Credits
90  

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.
How long it takes
Part-time study – 2 years
Time limit – 6 years
Study method
Distance learning
Entry requirements
Find out more about
Entry requirements

Professional Certificate in Chemistry

Course code: S34

In studying this certificate, you’ll gain a foundation in the main branches of chemistry and an appreciation of chemistry in all aspects of our lives. You’ll explore the synthesis of organic compounds, spectroscopic analysis, the Periodic Table and reactivity, bonding and molecular shape, thermodynamics and kinetics. Online and remote experiments and a compulsory 2.5-day laboratory-based residential school at our Milton Keynes campus will build your investigative and practical skills. This certificate is beneficial if you’ll be teaching chemistry up to Key Stage 4 and your background is in another science. Or if you are thinking about training to be a chemistry teacher.

  • Gain a foundation in organic, inorganic and analytical chemistry
  • Develop investigative and laboratory skills using our state-of-the-art multi-award-winning OpenSTEM Labs
  • Practice hands‑on skills at laboratory schools, and meet other OU chemistry students
Course type
Certificate  

Certificate

  • Qualification unique to The Open University.
  • Focus on a particular profession or subject area.
  • Study for interest or career development.
  • A wide range of subjects and levels.
Credits
90  

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.
How long it takes
Part-time study – 2 years
Time limit – 6 years
Study method
Distance learning
Entry requirements

Find out more about Entry requirements

This certificate has one stage, comprising 90 credits.

You’ll study one 60-credit and one 30-credit module and attend a laboratory school.

Stage 1 modules
ModulesCredits
You'll study all three of the following:
Concepts in chemistry (S218) – planned for October 202460
Investigative approaches in biology and chemistry (S285)30
Laboratory skills for chemistry (SS021)0

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 April 2023.


Accessibility

Our qualifications are as accessible as possible, and we have a comprehensive range of support services. Our Professional Certificate in Chemistry uses a variety of study materials and includes the following elements:

  • Online study – most modules are online; some have a mix of printed and online material. Online learning resources could include websites, audio/video, and interactive activities
  • Pre-determined schedules – we’ll help you to develop your time-management skills
  • Assessment in the form of short-answer questions, essays, and examinations
  • Feedback – continuous assessment includes feedback from your tutor and using this to improve your performance
  • Using and producing diagrams and screenshots
  • Finding external/third-party material online
  • Accessing online catalogues and databases
  • Mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • Online tutorials
  • Group-work
  • Practical work
  • Onsite laboratory school

Every module has its own Accessibility Statement with more detailed accessibility information – you’ll find these on individual module descriptions.

Visit our Disability support page to learn about our services.


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.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here

On completion

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Professional Certificate in Chemistry.

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. 


  • UK bachelors degree (or equivalent) in a STEM subject, or
  • A level Chemistry at Grade C or above (or equivalent).

Check you’re ready for Chemistry: essential concepts (S215), your first module in this certificate.

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

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 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 £3,462*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits, which is equivalent to a year's full-time study, is £6,924*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £5,193*.

*The fee and funding information provided here is valid for courses starting before 31 July 2024. Fees normally increase annually. For further information about the University's fee policy, visit our Fee Rules.

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.

Laboratory schools

This qualification has laboratory school(s) you must attend. There’s no additional cost for these, but you must pay for your travel.


How will I study this course?

With our unique approach to distance learning, you can study from home, work or on the move.

You’ll have some assessment deadlines to meet, but otherwise, you’ll be free to study at the times that suit you, fitting your learning around work, family, and social life.

For each of your modules, you’ll use either just online resources or a mix of online and printed materials.

Each module you study will have a module website with

  • a week-by-week study planner, giving you a step-by-step guide through your studies
  • course materials such as reading, videos, recordings, and self-assessed activities
  • module forums for discussions and collaborative activities with other students
  • details of each assignment and their due dates
  • a tutorial booking system, online tutorial rooms, and your tutor’s contact details
  • online versions of some printed module materials and resources.

If you have additional needs, we can also provide most module materials in alternative formats. Find out more about materials on our accessibility webpage.


Tutor support

You’ll have a tutor for each module, who will introduce themselves before the module begins.

Throughout the module, they will:

  • mark your assignments and give feedback to help you improve
  • guide you to learning resources
  • support you, whether with general study skills or help with a specific topic.

Tutorials

Tutorials usually take place online, and they’re always optional.

Online tutorials are live presentations with module tutors in dedicated online tutorial rooms and are sometimes recorded.


Assessment

Our assessments are all designed to reinforce your learning and help you show your understanding of the topics. The mix of assessment methods will vary between modules.

Computer-Marked Assignments

  • Usually, a series of online, multiple-choice questions.

Tutor-Marked Assignments

  • You’ll have a number of these throughout each module, each with a submission deadline.
  • They can be made up of essays, questions, experiments or something else to test your understanding of what you have learned.
  • Your tutor will mark and return them to you with detailed feedback.

End-of-Module Assessments

  • The final, marked piece of work on most modules.
  • Modules with an end-of-module assessment won’t usually have an exam.

Exams

  • Some modules end with an exam. You’ll be given time to revise and prepare.
  • You’ll be given your exam date at least 5 months in advance.
  • Most exams take place remotely, and you will complete them at home or at an alternative location.
  • If a module requires you to take a face-to-face exam, this will be made clear in the module description, and you will be required to take your exam in person at one of our exam centres.

Progressing to a point where I felt more comfortable writing my assignments, and having my scores reflecting that, made me quite happy because it showed the hard work was being rewarded.

Patrick ‘Ricky’ Skene, BSc (Hons) Sport, Fitness and Coaching

Other support and resources

Throughout your studies, you’ll have access to our subject-specific Student Support Teams.

They’ll help you with any general questions about your study and updates to your OU account.

To help with your studies, you’ll also have access to:

  • our online library, with high-quality online resources to support your study
  • other university libraries in the UK and Ireland
  • the online Help Centre, which has general information about OU study and support, along with study skills advice
  • free Microsoft Office 365 software
  • IT and computing support from our Computing Helpdesk.

Find out more about student support and being a part of the OU community.

Skills for career development

This certificate will provide you with a solid foundation in chemistry and an appreciation of the broad scope of the subject which touches all aspects of our lives. The experimental nature of chemistry is emphasised throughout the qualification.

Career relevance

This certificate is particularly useful if you are required to teach secondary school chemistry, but your background is in another science discipline, or if you’re thinking about training to be a chemistry teacher.

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 beyond this qualification):

  • science teacher
  • science technical writer
  • analytical scientist
  • forensic scientist
  • nanotechnologist
  • food technologist
  • pharmaceutical development scientist
  • science communicator
  • environmental consultant
  • patent attorney.

Thinking of studying this course?

Registration will open in March. If you would like to be kept updated, register your interest.


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