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BA/BSc (Honours) Open degree

Do you want the freedom to study a range of subjects? Then our Open qualifications are ideal. The BA/BSc (Honours) Open is an honours degree with a difference. Free from the restriction of a subject-specific specialism, you can set the direction of your learning. By choosing modules from over 16 subject areas, you’ll create a bespoke qualification that reflects your interests, or helps you stand out in the competitive job market.

"The fact that the OU has the option of choosing an Open degree is fabulous. So many people I have spoken to wish they’d had this option at university rather than going down one route." Carol Dow, BSc (Honours) Open

Key features of the course

  • Tailor your qualification to suit your needs
  • Choose modules from a wide range of subject areas
  • Study that fits your evolving career ambitions or personal interests
  • Count previous university study towards your qualification

Course Summary

+Shortlist Course

Degree

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code
QD
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.
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits. For your BA/BSc (Honours) Open degree you can:

  • study a broad range of subjects; or
  • specialise in one subject area, and pick from a wide range of subjects to complete your qualification; or
  • specialise in two subject areas, dividing your time equally between both.

If you’re interested in exploring some predefined subject-based routes through the qualification, expand the Routes through the degree section below.

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 start Stage 1 with 60 credits from a wide choice of introductory modules. This can include Making your learning count (YXM130) which gives you the chance to count study from a variety of subjects towards your qualification. All introductory modules are worth 30 or 60 credits, and have been carefully selected to develop your subject knowledge and study skills in preparation for further OU study.

To complete this stage, you’ll choose a further 60 credits from a wider selection of our other Stage 1 modules. Many students focus broadly on one discipline, such as science or the humanities – but there’s nothing to stop you studying modules from entirely different subject areas.

Key introductory Stage 1 modules

ModulesCredits
You'll choose 60 credits from:
Choose from this list of Stage 1 key introductory option modules60

All Stage 1 modules

ModulesCredits
You'll choose 60 credits from:
Choose from this list of Stage 1 option modules60

Stage 2 (120 credits)

Having completed Stage 1, you may have formed some ideas about the direction you want to follow – if so, you can start to focus on one or two subject areas and explore some of the topics you will have encountered at Stage 1 in more depth. Equally, you can continue to be inspired by different subjects, especially if you have previous knowledge or experience. Either way, after you've completed the 120 credits required for Stage 2, you will have enhanced your critical thinking and analytical skills.

All Stage 2 modules

ModulesCredits
You'll choose 120 credits from:
Choose from this list of Stage 2 option modules120

Stage 3 (120 credits)

Stage 3 is focused on the study of specialist topics and issues. During this stage you will develop significantly as an independent learner and acquire high-level thinking skills in preparation for graduate-level employment or postgraduate study. To complete the 120 credits of study required for Stage 3, we recommend that you build on previous modules to get the best from your studies.

All Stage 3 modules

ModulesCredits
You'll choose 120 credits from:
Choose from this list of Stage 3 option modules120

Routes through the degree

If you want to mainly focus your Open degree on just one subject, you can choose 180 credits of subject-specific study across the three stages (as detailed in the example routes given below), combined with 180 credits from a wide range of modules. Alternatively, if you’d like to study two specific subjects, you could choose to combine 180 credits of subject-specific study from one route with 180 credits of subject-specific study from another.

These routes are optional and are provided just to give you a few ideas, other subjects and module choices are available when you register.

Following a suggested subject route, or combining two together, can be particularly beneficial if you’re keen to develop a specialism in a particular subject(s). However, please be aware that the subject(s) you study won’t be included on your degree certificate or in the name of your degree.

Art history

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Discovering the arts and humanities (A111)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 1 option modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Exploring art and visual culture (A226)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 2 option modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Art and its global histories (A344)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 3 option modules60

Biology

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Science: concepts and practice (S112)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 1 option modules 60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Cell biology (S294)30
The biology of survival (S295)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 2 option modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Biological science: from genes to species (S317)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 3 option modules60
S112 is not a key introductory module. If you’re interested in studying this route, you’ll need to have completed 60 credits of key introductory modules in another subject.

Business and management

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
An introduction to business and management (B100)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 1 option modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Shaping business opportunities (B207)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 2 option modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Strategic management (B302)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 3 option modules60

Childhood and youth studies

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Introduction to childhood studies and child psychology (E102)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 1 option modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Exploring childhood and youth (E232)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 2 option modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Issues in research with children and young people (EK313)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 3 option modules60

Design

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Design thinking: creativity for the 21st century (U101)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 1 option modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Design essentials (T217)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 2 option modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Innovation: designing for change (T317)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 3 option modules60

Economics

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
You and your money (DB125)30
Economics in context (DD126)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 1 option modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Running the economy (DD209)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 2 option modules 60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Doing economics: people, markets and policy (DD309)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 3 option modules60
DD126 is not a key introductory module. If you’re interested in studying this route, you’ll need to have completed 60 credits of key introductory modules in another subject.

Engineering

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Engineering: origins, methods, context (T192)30
Engineering: frameworks, analysis, production (T193)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 1 option modules 60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Core engineering A (T271)30
Energy and sustainability (T213)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 2 option modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Nanoscale engineering (T366)30
Renewable energy (T313)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 3 option modules60

Environmental technology

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Environment: journeys through a changing world (U116)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 1 option modules 60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Energy and sustainability (T213)30
Environmental management: systems and sustainability (T220) – planned for October 202230
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 2 option modules 60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Renewable energy (T313)30
Environmental management 2 (T319)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 3 option modules60

French

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Bon départ: beginners' French (L192)30
French studies 1 (intermediate) (L112)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 1 option modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
French studies 2: language and culture of the French-speaking world (L222)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 2 option modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
French studies 3: language and culture of the French-speaking world (L332) – planned for October 202260
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 3 option modules60

Health and social care

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Introducing health and social care (K102)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 1 option modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Critical issues in health and wellbeing (K219)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 2 option modules 60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Leading, managing, caring (K318)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 3 option modules60

Law

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Criminal law and the courts (W111)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 1 option modules 60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Public law (W211) – planned for October 202230
Contract law (W212) – planned for October 202230
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 2 option modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Trusts law (W311) – planned for October 202330
Land law (W312) – planned for February 202430
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 3 option modules60

Mathematics and statistics

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Discovering mathematics (MU123)30
Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 1 option modules 60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Mathematical methods (MST224)30
Analysing data (M248)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 2 option modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Applications of probability (M343)30
Deterministic and stochastic dynamics (MS327)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 3 option modules60

Psychology

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Investigating psychology 1 (DE100)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 1 option modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Living psychology: from the everyday to the extraordinary (DD210)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 2 option modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Advancing social psychology (DD317)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 3 option modules60
DE100 is not a key introductory module. If you’re interested in studying this route, you’ll need to have completed 60 credits of key introductory modules in another subject.

Sport and fitness

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Introduction to sport and fitness (E117)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 1 option modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Applying sport and exercise sciences to coaching (E236)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 2 option modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Athletic development: a psychological perspective (E312)60
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of Stage 3 option modules60

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 10 September 2021.


Accessibility

We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA/BSc (Honours) Open degree uses a variety of study materials and may have the following elements, depending on the modules you choose to study:

  • 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
  • using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • working in a group with other students
  • using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
  • practical work
  • finding external/third party material online
  • using technology for research purposes involving access to catalogues and databases online
  • working with specialist reading material such as works of art and musical manuscripts
  • 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
  • using specialist software (for example the Sibelius music writing package)
  • using an online Laboratory or Design/Engineering Studio
  • some modules may require you to attend a residential school.

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:

  • 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.


Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our BA (Honours) Open or our BSc (Honours) Open.

Whether you receive a BA (Honours) Open degree or a BSc (Honours) Open degree will depend on the modules you choose:

  • For BA (Bachelor of Arts) designation, at least 180 credits must come from modules suitable for a BA (module codes starting with A, B, D, E, K, L, M, U, W or YXM).
  • For a BSc (Bachelor of Science) designation, at least 180 credits must come from modules suitable for a BSc (module codes starting with B, D, E, K, M, S, T, U, W or YXM).

Of these 180 credits, at least 120 must be at OU level 2 or above, and at least 60 of these must be at OU level 3.

The class of honours (first, upper-second, lower-second or third) will depend on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.

You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

International recognition

If you intend to use your Open University qualification 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.

The BA/BSc (Honours) Open degree begins with one of a range of introductory modules, which are all designed to build a solid foundation for further study. Although this first module will provide the foundation for your qualification, having some basic skills before you begin can help you get the best from your studies. If, for example, you choose one of our science, maths or engineering modules, we recommend that you check with us that your IT and mathematical skills are at an appropriate level.

For the following subject areas, we offer online diagnostic tools to help you to decide if you’re ready, or if you could do with some extra preparation:

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 either:

Arts and languages Access module

What you will study

This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the arts, humanities and languages. It's perfect preparation for your study with The Open University as you'll develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. From the perspective of its central theme, ‘popular protest’, it explores a range of subjects, including art history, English, English language studies, history, and popular music. The module also offers an opportunity to explore other subjects, such as modern languages, classical studies, religious studies and creative writing.

View full details of Arts and languages Access module

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 £19,008*.

*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

A BA/BSc (Honours) Open degree equips you with a wide range of expertise, skills and capabilities that are much sought after in today’s highly competitive job market. An Open degree on your CV shows more than your level of knowledge about a subject; employers know that you are flexible and adaptable, having studied across a range of subjects. It also allows you to develop a diverse range of transferable skills including:

  • self management
  • team working
  • problem solving
  • communication and literacy
  • numeracy
  • application of information technology
  • business and customer awareness

Research* shows that when recruiting graduates, ‘attitude and aptitudes for work’ ranks consistently higher than any other factor – far above factors such as degree subject, degree result or university attended.

*Education and learning for the modern world, CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey report 2019

Career relevance

The flexibility of our BA/BSc (Honours) Open degree makes it relevant to a wide range of careers and industries – many of which do not require qualifications to be subject-specific. It can help you to develop in your existing employment, or be a passport to a whole new career. 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.

Other careers

A degree is always valuable, no matter what you study. Around 70% of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any discipline – particularly roles in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

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.

You can also visit the graduate careers website Prospects for hundreds of job ideas.


Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 09/12/2021
Credit transfer: apply by 10/02/2022

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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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