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Foundation Degree in Combined Professional Studies

This flexible qualification enables you to develop lifelong learning skills that will open doors to further study and career development. You can choose from a wide variety of fascinating modules in any subjects you like, depending on your interests and career aspirations – including work-related modules to help you in your current role and enhance your future employability.

Key features of the course

  • Gain an understanding of your subjects in ethical, social, intellectual, academic and employment contexts
  • Develop critical and reflective awareness of your own learning and professional practice
  • Learn to be creative and open to new possibilities – especially in the workplace
  • Builds a solid foundation for further study

A nationally recognised qualification in its own right, this foundation degree is also equivalent to the first two-thirds of an honours degree.

Course Summary

+Shortlist Course

Foundation Degree

Foundation Degree

  • Widely recognised qualification.
  • Enhance your professional and technical knowledge and skills.
  • Equivalent to the first two thirds of an honours degree.
  • Use it to support your current role or progress your career.
  • Combine work-based learning with academic study – you need to be employed or volunteering in a relevant work setting.
  • Top up to an honours degree in just two years.

We offer most of our foundation degrees as diplomas of higher education for students living or working in Scotland.

Course code
X13
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.
240
How long it takes
Part time – 4 years
Full time – 2 years
Time limit – 12 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This foundation degree has two stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • You’ll start Stage 1 with a 30-credit modules 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 degree with a further 30-credit work-based learning module.

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 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.
ModulesCredits
You’ll study the following work-based learning module:
Career development and employability (T122)30
You’ll also study a 30-credit introductory module:
Choose from this list of Stage 1 key introductory option modules30
You’ll also study a further 60 credits from a wide range of options:
Choose from this list of Stage 1 option modules60

Stage 2 (120 credits)

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 foundation degree 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.
ModulesCredits
You’ll study 90 credits from a wide range of options:
Choose from this list of Stage 2 option modules90
You’ll complete your diploma with this 30-credit work-based learning module:
Change, strategy and projects at work (T227)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 Foundation Degree 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

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 Foundation Degree in Combined Professional 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. 


Compare this course

Entry requirements

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

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 £12,672*.

*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.

Residential schools

This qualification has option modules that include learning events (like field schools, lab schools and residential schools). For these schools, you may have to pay an additional charge (see module descriptions for further information). You must also pay for your travel to and from the venue. Due to the ongoing pandemic, we may replace face-to-face events with online alternatives.


Skills for career development

This foundation degree 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 courses, the Foundation Degree 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.

Career relevance

This foundation degree 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 website are available to see at any time, 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.


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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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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