This certificate of higher education has one stage, comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll normally start Stage 1 with a 30-credit introductory module followed by three further 30-credit modules in pure and applied mathematics and statistics.
Mathematics is a linear subject – it’s important to have a good understanding of the basics before moving on to more advanced topics. You’ll normally begin with an introduction to key mathematical concepts, ideal if you haven’t studied mathematics to an advanced level; or haven’t studied for some time and need to refresh your skills and knowledge. If you’re confident studying mathematics at university level, you can skip the first module and, instead, choose from a selection of other modules
to complete Stage 1. For advice on where to start, see Entry requirements
Stage 1 is the same in many of our mathematics and statistics qualifications. So, you could change qualification at this point if you want to.
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 Certificate of Higher Education in Mathematical Sciences uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- printed material
- online material, including websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities
- using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
- using and producing diagrams and screenshots
- small amounts of practical work and other activities, such as group work with other students on some modules, writing short reports or preparing presentations
- using specialist software
- face-to-face tutorials/day schools and/or online tutorials
- continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of short and long 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 qualification.
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 Certificate of Higher Education in Mathematical Sciences.
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.
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 is no formal pre-requisite study, but you must have the required mathematical skills.
You have a choice of starting module depending on your current skill level: Discovering mathematics (MU123) or Essential mathematics 1 (MST124). You can find out which module is your best starting point here.
You can also check you’re ready for MU123 or MST124, and the topics they cover, at the link above.
Talk to an advisor if you’re not sure you’re ready.
How much time do I need?
This depends on your level of prior knowledge of mathematics and, in general, it is recommend that you build up your pace of study slowly to ensure you gain a good understanding of the more basic topics. How many credits you can complete in a year will depend on your study situation, and this qualification is designed to enable you to vary your study intensity from year to year.
- Most of our students study part time, completing normally 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
Skills for career development
This certificate course provides skills and knowledge required for jobs in a wide range of fields. It will particularly enhance the following transferable and highly valued skills:
- communicating mathematical ideas clearly and succinctly
- explaining mathematical ideas to others
- understanding complex mathematical texts
- working with abstract concepts
- thinking logically
- expressing problems in mathematical language
- constructing logical arguments
- finding solutions to problems
- interpreting mathematical results in real-world terms
- using relevant professional software.
Mathematical knowledge is much sought after by a wide variety of employers in fields such as education, engineering, business, finance, and accountancy.
Career areas directly related to mathematics include:
- market research
- quantitative analysis/risk analysis
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, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience):
- aeronautical engineer
- chartered accountant
- data scientist
- financial risk analyst
- investment analyst
- management consultant
- operational researcher
- pensions administrator
- secondary school teacher
- systems developer.