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Lawyers outside courtroom
Course type
Certificate  

Certificate

  • Widely recognised qualification.
  • Equivalent to the first third of an honours degree.
  • Study for interest or career development.
  • Shows that you can study successfully at university level.
  • Count it towards further qualifications such as a foundation degree, DipHE or honours degree.
Credits
120  

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
Full-time study – 1-1.5 years*
Time limit – 7 years
*See How much time do I need?
Study method
Distance learning
Entry requirements
Find out more about
Entry requirements

Certificate of Higher Education in Law

Course code: T49

Studying law is stimulating in its own right, and it’s also helpful in a wide range of careers. By the end of your studies, you’ll have gained some knowledge and understanding of criminal and tort law, together with general and legal study skills. Understanding how these laws are made, the importance of legal rights and duties and how law impacts upon society helps you understand society and your own role within it. You’ll also be prepared for further law study or for career development in law, business, government, education, charitable and non-governmental organisations and a wide range of other public facing and regulatory roles.

  • Gives you the opportunity to improve your understanding of the legal system in England and Wales
  • Helps develop key legal skills with identifying legal issues and applying legal principles
  • Can assist your career development by demonstrating your academic ability to potential employers.
A nationally recognised qualification in its own right, this certificate of higher education is also equivalent to the first third of the Bachelor of Laws with Honours (LLB) (R81).
Course type
Certificate  

Certificate

  • Widely recognised qualification.
  • Equivalent to the first third of an honours degree.
  • Study for interest or career development.
  • Shows that you can study successfully at university level.
  • Count it towards further qualifications such as a foundation degree, DipHE or honours degree.
Credits
120  

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
Full-time study – 1-1.5 years*
Time limit – 7 years
*See How much time do I need?
Study method
Distance learning
Entry requirements

Find out more about Entry requirements

This certificate of higher education has one stage comprising 120 credits.

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.

You’ll begin by focusing on a range of criminal offences as well as addressing themes of law reform, human rights and issues relevant to the Criminal Justice System of England and Wales. You’ll then develop an understanding of the range of civil laws, as well as the operation of the civil justice system and explore various torts including negligence, nuisance and defamation.

You cannot study W111 and W112 at the same time. If you wish to study on a full-time basis you can start with W111 in October and then start W112 in the following February.

Stage 1 modules
ModulesCredits
You'll study both of the following:
Criminal law and the courts (W111)60
Civil justice and tort law (W112)60

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 12 January 2024.


Accessibility

Our qualifications are as accessible as possible, and we have a comprehensive range of support services. Our Bachelor of Laws (Honours) 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 and essays.
  • 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
  • Online tutorials
  • Group-work

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.

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

On completion

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Certificate of Higher Education in Law.

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. 


There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.

At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.

Even though there are no entry requirements, there are some skills that you'll need to succeed. If you're not quite ready for OU study we can guide you to resources that prepare you, many of which are free.

Answer a few quick questions to check whether you're ready for study success

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.
  • If you wish to study full time, it will take you a minimum of one year if you start in October or 18 months if you start in February. This is to separate studying the two modules at Stage 1.

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:

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

Certificate of Higher Education in Law

Years of  study

1 year 2 years

Current fee per year in England

£6,924* £3,462*

How we worked out the cost

A certificate of higher education is worth 120 credits. The fee per year is based on studying 60 credits per year for 2 years. A certificate of higher education is worth 120 credits. The fee per year is based on studying 120 credits per year for 1 years.

Total fee for qualification at current prices

£6,924*

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

That’s 1/4 less than the cost of an equivalent qualification offered at most other universities in England.

See comparison table

*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.


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 £25,000.
  • The amount you repay is tied to how much you earn. For example, if you earn £27,000 you’ll pay just £15.00 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 your 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 the internet to access our learning resources and to participate in online tutorials.

Additional support

You may be eligible for:

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 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 qualification will provide you with knowledge and understanding of the legal system of England and Wales and a range of legal and other skills, including being able to identify legal issues and apply legal principles and developing your time management and self-motivation abilities.

Career relevance

The knowledge and skills you will gain from studying this certificate are recognised and highly respected by many employers. The certificate will prepare you for career development in law, business, government, education, charitable and non-governmental organisations and a wide range of other public facing and regulatory roles. Roles in finance, human resources, local government or general management all benefit from a legal background and from the discipline of studying law.

You can continue your legal studies by completing the full Bachelor of Laws with Honours (LLB) qualification and this qualification will help you with a legal career. It is necessary to complete further undergraduate legal studies successfully and meet all other requirements of the regulatory authorities in order satisfactorily to complete your training as a solicitor or barrister. Further information about future legal careers can be found in the Bachelor of Laws with Honours (LLB) qualification.

If you want to become a barrister in England and Wales, or a solicitor or barrister in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to complete the LLB within six years.

Other careers

Studying law is a gateway to a career as a solicitor or barrister, but it's not the only path you can choose. Many options are available to you beyond the legal profession, including finance, human resources, local government or general management.

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. This includes 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. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience.

  • barrister
  • barrister's clerk
  • legal executive
  • paralegal
  • company secretary
  • licensed conveyancer
  • detective
  • solicitor advice worker
  • chartered accountant
  • civil service administrator
  • patent attorney
  • trading standards officer
  • forensic computer analyst
  • mediator.

Thinking of studying this course?

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


Request a prospectus

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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