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Psychology, social science and wellbeing Access module

An Access module is a great place to start if you want to prepare for Open University undergraduate study. It can also help you find out more about your interests and where you want your learning to take you.

This Access module gives you the chance to dip into some of our most popular subjects, such as psychology, childhood and youth, early years, health and social wellbeing, sport, education, and social sciences. You'll be introduced to discussions of theory and engage with real-world events to build up your knowledge and understanding of these wide-ranging topics. The areas you'll cover are introduced and explained at a gentle pace, which is perfect if you want to discover something new or brush-up on your study skills.

Choose to study this Access module if you:

  • want to gradually build up to university-level study with the OU
  • would like learning materials prepared with new learners in mind 
  • need time to decide your future study plans while developing your study skills.

Study for free

If you are resident in England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland, you may be eligible to study an access module for free. See Entry requirements for more information.




Module code


  • 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.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.
0 N/A N/A
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

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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 psychology, childhood and youth studies, health and social wellbeing, sport, education and social sciences.

The module is divided into three blocks:

Block 1: Who am I?

This block, which you will study in print, considers identity and the overarching question of “Who am I?” Our identities are explored in a number of different ways, including an introduction to genetics and demographics. These assigned or biological factors are combined with social elements such as gender, class and our psychological outlook on life. As well as engaging with some key concepts, the idea of individuals as learners and agents who shape their life to varying degrees is also considered. There is an emphasis on developing skills that form the foundation for academic communication in a variety of forms.

Block 2: Is it fair?

Block 2 moves to online study and addresses the topic of fairness in several different ways. Building on the issue of identity, the social context in which an individual exists begins an exploration of difference and inequality. From the way in which the places we are born and the environment in which we are raised affects our life chances, to the differences between bodies and minds, the physical, practical and psychological differences mean that our ‘playing field’ may not always be equal. While exploring these concepts, your online learning skills are developed, including reading and note-taking, and academic skills focus on constructing an essay.

Block 3: What can be done?

Continuing online, the key issues you studied in the previous two blocks are considered in practical terms. The tensions between nature and nurture, and the dynamic society in which we live means that there are choices we can all make in our homes, neighbourhoods, countries, and the planet as a whole. However, some of these changes may not be as simple as they appear because of the issues outlined previously. Looking holistically at these issues and the previous material, academic skills of critical evaluation and comparison are developed and the opportunity to plan and write an essay consolidates essential skills.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will keep in touch by a combination of telephone, written correspondence and, if you want, email. There are no face-to-face tutorials; all tutorials are conducted on a one-to-one basis between you and your tutor. You may have an opportunity to experience a group tutorial and use online rooms. Your tutor will help you to plan your work and to think about the ideas explored in the module. Your tutor will also comment on and help you with your written work. At the end of the module, you will discuss your progress with your tutor, and you will work together to review your learning.


You do not have to sit an examination for this module. Assessment consists of short written assignments (TMAs) and online activities (iCMAs):

  • TMA stands for Tutor Marked Assignment. There are four TMAs for this module. Your tutor will give you constructive written feedback to develop your study skills and confidence, and a score. 
  • iCMA stands for Interactive Computer-Marked Assignment. There are five iCMAs for this module. Typically these are short, online, multiple choice quizzes.

The study materials give you lots of support and practice, and detailed feedback from your tutor will help to hone your study skills and build your confidence. You’ll submit most of your assignments online through our eTMA system – the Assessment Guide gives full details.

Future availability

Psychology, social science and wellbeing starts three times a year – in February, May and October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2023. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2031.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Course work includes:

    4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    5 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
    No examination
    No residential school

    Entry requirements

    No special knowledge or previous experience is required.

    You can study our Psychology, social science and wellbeing Access module on a standalone basis or to prepare for your OU qualification. We know that students who start with an Access module are more likely to succeed with their next modules. Choosing to study Access as an extra module at the start of your learning journey with us is well worth the investment of your time.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, or would like help registering, you can speak to an adviser by calling +44 (0)300 303 0069 or you can book a call back.

    The study materials have been prepared with the needs of new learners in mind, so it’s great if you’re a beginner or returning to study. You’ll use your general knowledge and interests to gradually build up to university-level study. This module will develop key study skills such as time management, note taking, reading for study purposes and reflection on your own learning.

    This module is only available if you live in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, the Republic of Ireland, or if you have a British Forces Post Office (BFPO) address.

    Study your Access module for free

    You can study an Access module for free if you:

    • live in the UK (excluding Channel Islands and Isle of Man) or have a British Forces Post Office address
    • have a personal income of less than £25,000 (or receive qualifying benefits)
    • have completed less than one year of a full-time undergraduate programme at FHEQ or CQFW Level 4/SCFQ level 7 or above, and not completed 30 credits or more of OU study.

    Follow the online instructions as you register or, if you are unsure if you meet the criteria to study for free, you can check with one of our friendly advisers on +44 (0)300 303 0069 or you can book a call back.


    Start End Fee
    - - -

    No current presentation - see Future availability

    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2031.

    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 your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2023. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 06/10/2022.

    What's included

    You'll have access to a module website, which includes:

    • a week-by-week study planner
    • course-specific module materials
    • audio and video content
    • assignment details and submission section

    You'll also be provided with a printed module book, a study planner and assessment guide.

    Digital copies (PDFs and web versions) of most study materials, and transcripts of the DVD can be found on the website.

    You will need

    You will require access to a phone and the use of a computer with internet access.

    Computing requirements

    You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11), or macOS (11 'Big Sur' or higher).

    Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

    To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

    Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

    Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

    It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying Y034 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Disability support website.