This certificate of higher education has one stage, comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll study 120 credits from the standard start or basic mathematics start.
You’ll study 120 credits from the standard or basic mathematics start. Read the Entry requirements to decide which start is right for you.
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 1 June 2023.
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 Mathematics and Physics uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
- using and producing diagrams and/or screenshots
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- in some modules undertaking small amounts of practical work or working in a group with other students
- some modules may require you to use specialist mathematical or statistical software
- online tutorials
- continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of short and long answer questions, and in most 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.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
- Knowledge and understanding.
- Cognitive skills.
- Practical and professional skills.
- Key skills.
If you’ve already completed some university-level study somewhere else, you may be able to count it towards this 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. For more details 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 Mathematics and Physics.
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 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
This course has two starts:
We recommend the standard start if you have a GCSE grade 4 or above in mathematics (or equivalent). This start provides an interdisciplinary foundation before you focus on physics.
The standard start begins with Questions in science (S111) and Essential mathematics 1 (MST124):
Basic mathematics start
We recommend the basic mathematics start if you don’t have a GCSE grade 4 or above in mathematics (or equivalent). This start develops your maths skills from a basic level to prepare you for more advanced study.
The basic mathematics start begins with Discovering mathematics (MU123):
Are you ready for MU123?
How much time do I need?
This depends on your level of prior knowledge of mathematics and, in general, we 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 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
As a graduate of this certificate, you’ll be able to demonstrate that you are multi-skilled and adaptable, with the ability to work effectively in a multidisciplinary environment. This qualification will help you develop transferable skills highly valued in the labour market, including analytical, numerical and communication skills, teamwork, time management, problem-solving, and proficiency in using relevant software.
Graduates are well-placed to enter both scientific and non-scientific jobs. The logical, reasoned approach needed for science study is relevant to a wide range of financial, business and public sector employment. For this reason, science graduates – particularly those with good communication and interpersonal skills – are in demand.
Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training or work experience beyond your certificate.
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 most careers will require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your certificate):
- aeronautical engineer
- app developer
- automation engineer
- control and instrumentation engineer
- cyber security manager
- data analyst
- electronic engineer
- financial services professional
- laboratory technician
- manufacturing engineer
- network administrator
- research scientist
- secondary school teacher
- software developer
- systems developer.