This diploma of higher education has two stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll start Stage 1 with a 30-credit work-based learning module, followed by a 30-credit introductory module of your choice. You’ll finish Stage 1 with a further 60 credits chosen from a wide range of modules.
- In Stage 2, you’ll study 90 credits chosen from a wide range of modules before finishing your diploma with a further 30-credit work-based learning module.
You’ll be introduced to the special requirements of part-time work-based learning, developing good study practices and general learning skills. You’ll plan a learning programme according to your interests and career aspirations (which may evolve as you study), choosing additional modules to suit. So, if you want to develop your IT and Spanish language skills, or combine humanities with engineering and management, you can.
At Stage 2, you can build on subjects you studied at Stage 1 or explore new avenues. Whatever route you choose, you’ll continue developing your intellectual and critical abilities and gain transferable skills that are much prized in the workplace. You’ll complete your diploma with a second work-based learning module, enabling you to realise the skills, knowledge and experience you’ve gained throughout your studies – applying your new capabilities to a work-based project.
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.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The Diploma of Higher Education in Combined Professional Studies uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- 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
- working in a group with other students
- using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
- finding external/third party material online
- using technology for research purposes involving access to catalogues and databases online
- 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 (for example the NetBeans IDE)
- some modules may require you to attend a residential school.
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. Contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.
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
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 successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Diploma of Higher Education in Combined Professional Studies.
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.
There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification. However, you are responsible for obtaining permission to use your workplace as a basis for your studies prior to registering for the first module.
Also, to successfully complete the first module you must:
- be engaged in suitable full-time or part-time employment – either paid or voluntary
- have permission to carry out work-based learning tasks in your work setting
- confirm that the work you submit is based on your practice in that setting
- have regular access to a computer connected to the internet.
Further detailed information will be sent to you once you have registered for the module.
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:
People, work and society 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 childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, business and law.
View full details of People, work and society Access module
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
Skills for career development
This diploma course can help you to develop your existing career, or be a passport to a whole new one. 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. Unlike more traditional diploma courses, the Diploma of Higher Education in Combined Professional Studies enables you to tailor your study to your current employment or to the sector you hope to enter in the future. You will develop enthusiasm for learning and professional development; understanding of your subjects in a broad social, academic and employment context; the skills of critical analysis and synthesis; and reflective awareness.
This diploma is relevant to huge range of different careers and career paths. You will have the opportunity to design a personalised study programme, allowing you to develop skills needed to help you in your current workplace, or to work towards a complete change in career.
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, visit the careers website Prospects for hundreds of job ideas.