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Get started with an Access module

Access modules provide the perfect introduction to distance learning and studying with The Open University. You'll get a broad overview of the subject that interests you, refresh your learning skills and build your self-confidence.

You may even be eligible to study for free.

Request a prospectus
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Boost your confidence with an Access module

An Access module is a great place to start if you want a gentle introduction to Open University study – you may even be able to study for free.

Designed specifically for OU students, an Access module can help you to find out more about your interests and where you want your learning to take you.

There are three Access modules to choose from, and they start in February, May and October. They’re usually 30 weeks long, and most students study for about nine hours a week.

If a fast track option is available, you can complete your Access module in just 18 weeks by increasing your study time. We recommend that you apply early to guarantee your place.

Designed to inspire you

You’ll explore a range of broadly related subjects within one module. That means you’ll have the time and space to discover where your natural interests lie before settling on your ultimate qualification goal.


You're in control of your starting point

We’re different to other universities because we’re open to people based on their potential rather than their prior qualifications. Most of our courses have no formal entry requirements and our students come from a diverse range of educational backgrounds. So, we offer a choice of starting points depending on how confident you are in your study skills.

You can either dive straight in at Stage 1, or you might prefer a gentler start with some extra preparation, in which case, an Access module is ideal. You just need to live in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Republic of Ireland, or have a British Forces Post Office address.

Distance, not distant

You won’t be alone. When you study an Access module you’ll have:

  • One-to-one tutorials with a dedicated tutor, who can tailor their approach to your individual needs. Your personal phone tutorials take place at a time that suits you, and you’ll get written feedback on your work.
  • A student support team staffed by specialist advisers, able to help with any issues you might experience while studying with us.
  • The opportunity to share ideas with other students through our online forums.

No exam

To study an Access module, you just need a phone and access to a computer with a good internet connection, that’s it. Your work on the Access module will be assessed through four short written assignments and some activities online.

Skills development built in

Our study materials will develop not only your knowledge, but your skills and confidence too. They’re designed specially to help with things like:

  • Refreshing your study techniques – it might have been a while since you last studied, or you might prefer getting to grips with online and distance learning at a gentler pace. Whatever your circumstances, an Access module is excellent preparation for the next step of your student journey with us.
  • Using computers – if you’re not confident with computers, an Access module gives you lots of help and advice as it guides you through tasks such as: internet searches, online quizzes and talking to fellow students through our online forums.

Did you know?

Students who start with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to OU Stage 1 study.



Register online

Simply visit the module pages below to register and book your place - we have three Access modules to choose from. You may even be eligible to study your Access module for free.

If you have any questions about Access modules, please speak to an adviser by calling +44 (0)1908 659253 or you can request a call back.

Select your module

Ancient ruins

Arts and languages

Kick start your OU study with this introduction to literature, history, art history and English language. You’ll also touch on other arts disciplines such as classical studies, creative writing and religious studies.

Man teaching young children

People, work and society

Develop a foundation for future OU study in areas such as psychology, childhood and youth, social science, health, business and law. You'll get to explore and experience some of our most popular subjects.

An array of fibre-optic lights

Science, technology and maths

Develop your knowledge of science, engineering and design, environment, mathematics, and computing and IT. A mix of theoretical and practical experiments help prepare you for studying STEM subjects with the OU.

Can you study an Access module for free?

In order to qualify you must:

  • be resident in England
  • be registered on a qualification
  • have a household income of less than £25,000 (or receive qualifying benefits)
  • have not completed one year or more on any full-time undergraduate programme at FHEQ Level 4 or above, or completed 30 credits or more of OU study

If you are unsure if you meet the criteria to study for free, you can discuss with an adviser by calling +44 (0)1908 659253 or you can request a call back.

Paying for your study

Your place will be reserved while you confirm how you want to pay. If you’re not eligible to study for free, there are flexible ways to spread the cost including monthly payments through OUSBA or, if you are registered on a qualification, a part-time tuition fee loan. Visit Fees and Funding to explore all the options available.

Choose your Access module