STEM: science, technology, engineering, mathematics

BSc (Honours) Combined STEM

This flexible degree combines science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Build your own degree from a wide range of STEM modules and study routes and create a qualification that’s unique to you. Our BSc (Hons) Combined STEM allows you to study more than just one STEM subject – to fit your personal and professional needs, interests and aspirations. You’ll gain an appreciation of the interconnections between the STEM disciplines you choose. The flexibility of this degree makes it relevant to a wide range of careers and industries – many of which require proficiency in a range of STEM-based skills. It can help you develop your existing career or start a new one.

Key features of the course

  • Choose modules from across STEM subjects or focus on one or two areas.
  • Switch direction if your needs or interests change.
  • Count university-level credits you’ve gained from elsewhere.

Course Summary

+Shortlist Course

Degree

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code
R28
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.
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits:

  • In Stage 1, you'll choose 60 credits from a range of key introductory STEM modules, followed by 60 credits from a free choice of OU level 1 modules.
  • Next, in Stage 2, you'll choose 60 credits from a broad range of STEM modules at OU level 2, followed by 60 credits from a free choice of OU level 2 modules.
  • Finally, in Stage 3, you'll conclude your degree by choosing 120 credits from a broad range of OU level 3 STEM 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)

You’ll start Stage 1 with 60 credits from a wide and varied choice of introductory STEM modules – specially designed to develop your subject knowledge and study skills in preparation for further OU study. To complete this stage, you’ll choose a further 60 credits from any of our Stage 1 modules – you could expand your study of a particular subject beyond the key introductory modules, or choose modules from a different subject area,depending on your Stage 2 study plans. Consider your choice of modules carefully to get the most out of your studies in Stage 2.

Introductory STEM modules

ModulesCredits
You’ll choose 60 credits from:
Choose from this list of Stage 1 key introductory option modules60

All Stage 1 modules

ModulesCredits
You’ll choose 60 credits from:
Choose from this list of Stage 1 option modules60

Stage 2 (120 credits)

Having completed Stage 1, you may have formed some ideas about the direction you want to follow. If so, you can start to focus on one or two particular subject areas and explore in more depth some of the STEM topics you'll have encountered at Stage 1. Equally, you can continue to be inspired by non-STEM subjects, especially if you have previous knowledge or experience. Either way, after you've completed the 120 credits required for Stage 2, you’ll have enhanced your critical thinking and analytical skills. Consider your choice of modules carefully, as to get the best from your studies in Stage 3, you'll build on your study from Stage 2. At least 60 credits must be from STEM modules and up to 60 credits can be from any Stage 2 modules.

STEM modules

ModulesCredits
You'll choose 60 credits from:
Choose from this list of Stage 2 STEM option modules60

All Stage 2 modules

ModulesCredits
You'll choose 60 credits from:
Choose from this list of Stage 2 option modules60

Stage 3 (120 credits)

Stage 3 is focused on the study of specialist topics and issues in STEM. During this stage you’ll develop significantly as an independent learner and acquire high-level thinking skills in preparation for graduate-level employment or postgraduate study. To complete the 120 credits of study required for Stage 3, we recommend that you build on your study from Stage 2. All 120 credits at Stage 3 must be from STEM modules.

STEM modules

ModulesCredits
You'll choose 120 credits from:
Choose from this list of Stage 3 STEM option modules120

If you’re interested in exploring some suggested subject-based routes through the qualification, expand the Routes through the degree section below.

Routes through the degree

If you’d like to study two STEM subjects, you could choose to combine 180 credits of subject-specific study from one route with 180 credits of subject-specific study from another. Alternatively, you can choose to study 60 credits of non-STEM at Stages 1 and 2, but you must plan to study 120 credits of STEM at stage 3.

Following a suggested subject route or combining two can be particularly beneficial if you’re keen to specialise in a particular subject(s). However, please be aware that the subject(s) you study won’t be included on your degree certificate or in the name of your degree.

We’ve provided some recommended subject-specific study routes through the BSc (Honours) Combined STEM. These currently include:

  • Astronomy and planetary science
  • Applied mathematics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Communications and networking
  • Computer science
  • Design
  • Earth sciences
  • Engineering
  • Environmental technology
  • Environmental science
  • Health science
  • Mathematics education
  • Mathematics and statistics
  • Mathematics and statistics education
  • Pure mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Software development
  • Sport and fitness
  • Web development

Biology

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Questions in science (S111)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 1 option modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Cell and molecular biology (S296) – planned for Oct 202330
The biology of survival (S295)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 2 option modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Biological science: from genes to species (S317)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 3 STEM option modules60

Engineering

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Engineering: origins, methods, context (T192)30
Engineering: frameworks, analysis, production (T193)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 1 option modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Core engineering A (T271)30
Energy and sustainability (T213)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 2 option modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Nanoscale engineering (T366)30
Renewable energy (T313)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 3 STEM option modules60

Environmental technology

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Environment: journeys through a changing world (U116)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 1 option modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Energy and sustainability (T213)30
Environmental management: systems and sustainability (T220)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 2 option modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Renewable energy (T313)30
Environmental management 2 (T319)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 3 STEM option modules60

Mathematics and statistics

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Discovering mathematics (MU123)30
Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 1 option modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Mathematical methods (MST224)30
Analysing data (M248)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 2 option modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Applications of probability (M343)30
Deterministic and stochastic dynamics (MS327)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 3 STEM option modules60

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 15 March 2022.


Accessibility

We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BSc (Honours) Combined STEM degree uses a variety of study materials and may have the following elements, depending on the modules you choose:

  • studying online – some modules have a mixture of printed and online material, and others are entirely online. Online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
  • face-to-face tutorials/day schools/workshops and/or online tutorials
  • using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • working in a group with other students
  • using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
  • practical work
  • finding external/third party material online
  • using technology for research purposes involving access to catalogues and databases online
  • working with specialist reading material such as works of art and musical manuscripts
  • 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
  • engagement with learning and assessment within a pre-determined schedule or timetable – time management will be needed during your studies and the University will help you to develop these skills throughout your degree
  • some modules may require you to use specialist software
  • using an online laboratory or design/engineering studio.

All qualifications require you to complete learning and assessment activities within a required timescale and according to pre-determined deadlines. You will therefore need to manage your time effectively during your studies and the University will help you to develop this skill throughout your degree. Information on assessment will be available to you at the start of each module.

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've already completed some university-level study somewhere else, you may be able to count it towards this 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. For more details and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our BSc (Honours) Combined STEM.

The class of honours (first, upper-second, lower-second or third) will depend on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

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. 


Compare this course

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements to study this degree; however, having some basic skills before you begin can help you get the best from your studies. For example, if you choose one of our science, maths or engineering modules you might want to check if your IT and mathematical skills are up to scratch. For some subject areas, we offer online diagnostic tools to help you to decide if you’re ready, or if you could do with some extra preparation:

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:

Science, technology and maths Access module

What you will study

This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the sciences, technology and mathematics. It’ll help develop your study skills in advance of your OU qualification, and you get to explore a number of STEM subjects including science, engineering and design, environment, mathematics, and computing and IT.

View full details of Science, technology and maths Access module

Psychology, social science and wellbeing Access module

What you will study

This multidisciplinary module provides an excellent introduction to studying with The Open University; you'll get to cover a wide range of subject areas, including psychology, childhood and youth studies, health and social wellbeing, sport, education and social sciences.

View full details of Psychology, social science and wellbeing Access module

Fees and funding in England

80% of our students pay nothing upfront by financing their studies with a student loan.

In this section:
Tuition fee
What are my funding options?
Other costs to think about
Additional support

Tuition fee

BSc (Honours) Combined STEM

Years of  study

3 years 6 years

Current fee per year in England

£6,456* £3,228*

How we worked out the cost

A degree is worth 360 credits. The fee per year is based on studying 60 credits per year for 6 years. A degree is worth 360 credits. The fee per year is based on studying 120 credits per year for 3 years.

Total fee for qualification at current prices

£19,368*

You’ll fund your modules as you study them – you won’t have to pay for your whole qualification up front

That’s 1/3 less than the cost of an equivalent qualification offered at most other universities in England.

See comparison table

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2023. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.


What are my funding options?

There are several ways to fund your study, often without paying anything upfront.

Student loan

The most common way for our students to fund their study

  • A student loan is used by 80% of our students.
  • Open to everyone – it’s not means-tested and there’s no age limit.
  • You don’t pay anything upfront. Student Finance England pay your fees directly to the OU for you.
  • You won’t pay back a penny until you earn over £27,295.
  • The amount you repay is tied to how much you earn. For example, if you earn £29,000 you’ll pay just £12.79 per month.

Other options

Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA)

Repay in monthly instalments while you study.


Credit/debit card or bank transfer

Pay before each module starts. You can also combine card or bank transfer payments with other payment methods.


Employer sponsorship

More than 1 in 10 OU students are sponsored by their employer.


Enhanced Learning Credits (ELCs)

If you’re a serving member of the British Armed Forces (or you’ve recently left), you may be eligible to use ELCs to cover up to 100% of your course fees.

Which funding options could I be eligible for?



Other costs to think about

Your course fees cover your tuition, assessment and study materials, but there are still a few additional costs that can come with studying. If you’re income is less than £25,000 or you receive a qualifying benefit, you could get help with some of these costs after you start studying.

  • You’ll need a computer and internet access for online resources and tutorials.
  • You may need to pay for travel to face to face tutorials if you choose to attend these during your course.
  • This qualification has option modules that include learning events (like field schools, laboratory schools and residential schools). For these schools, you have to pay an additional charge. You must also pay for your travel to and from the venue.

Additional support

You may be eligible for:

  • help with study-related costs like travel to tutorials, set books, and internet access
  • a free introductory Access module to build your confidence and skills
  • funding to study an OU qualification for free from our Carers’ Scholarships Fund if you are, or have recently been, an unpaid carer
  • a Carers’ Bursary towards study-related costs if you provide unpaid care to a friend or family member
  • a Care Experienced Bursary of £250 towards study-related costs if you’ve previously been, or are currently, in care
  • a Sanctuary Scholarship to study an OU qualification for free if you’ve been displaced from your homeland for political, economic, ethnic, environmental, or human rights pressures
  • funding from our Scholarship for Black Students to study an OU qualification for free if you identify as being from a Black background

If you have a disability

  • The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is a government grant to cover study support costs if you have a disability. It’s not means-tested, and there’s no age limit. Visit our Supporting students with disabilities page to find out more.
  • If your disability is a result of being injured in, or due to, military service, you could be eligible for our Disabled Veterans’ Scholarship Fund.

Need more information?

Talk through your funding options with one of our advisors

Contact us

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 throughout the course could be online, face-to-face or a mixture of the two, 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

In today’s highly competitive job market, our Combined STEM degree will equip you with a wide range of expertise, skills and capabilities much sought after by employers. A Combined STEM degree on your CV will show more than your level of knowledge; employers will know that you’re flexible and adaptable, having studied across subjects. It will also demonstrate that you have gained valuable transferable skills, which could include:

  • self-management
  • team working
  • problem solving
  • communication and literacy
  • numeracy
  • application of information technology

Career relevance

The flexibility of our Combined STEM degree makes it relevant to a wide range of careers and industries – many of which require proficiency in a range of STEM-based skills. It can help you to develop in your existing employment, or be a passport to a whole new career. Its flexibility particularly suits people with multi-faceted work roles; and anyone needing to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding to manage changes in their current job or future career path.

A degree is always valuable, no matter what you study. Around 70% of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any discipline – particularly roles in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

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 and 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 where this qualification might take you, visit the graduate careers website Prospects for hundreds of job ideas.


Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 08/12/2022
Credit transfer: apply by 09/02/2023

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Our prospectuses help you choose your course, understand what it's like to be an OU student and register for study.

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