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Short courses

You only need a few hours a week to study a short course with The Open University. Choose from a range of subjects that can help you build a new skill set, discover a new hobby, or give your career a boost through continued professional development.

Choose from: Business and management | Chinese | Communication and cultures | Counselling | Creative writing | Digital transformation | Film, media and photography | French | German | Italian | Law | Marketing | Music | Spanish | Welsh

Business and management

We've short courses in analytical thinking, business design, budgeting, coaching, and strategy development which can benefit your business or the employees within your organisation.

Analytical thinking for problem solving

Develop the analytical and problem-solving skills needed to contribute effectively in organisations.


Behavioural insights for the workplace

Learn how and why people interact in different ways and how this contributes to the successful working of organisations.


Business agility foundations

Discover the essential elements of business agility and how it can improve performance, create efficient teams, and benefit organisations.


Business agility intermediate

Discover the frameworks and tools to help you develop business agility in leadership, culture, people, strategy, and governance.


Business design for the digital world

Learn the process of new business design and creation to deliver the right kind of value.


Collaboration skills for the workplace

Consider your own approach to collaboration and explore collaboration within organisations.


Communication skills in the digital world

Explore changes in the way we communicate in the digital era and the tools to make more effective communications.


Creating a successful and sustainable business

Learn the process of new business design and creation to deliver the right kind of value.


Creative thinking for the workplace

Reflect on your creative journey, and learn new tools, skills and approaches to add value to organisations.


Design thinking in the digital world

Learn what ‘design thinking’ is, how it can create value and explore how it is used.


Introduction to business and workplace coaching

This is ideal if you've little or no coaching experience and want to use coaching to develop people, ensure wellbeing and enable performance.


Developing a coaching culture

Develop your people, their wellbeing and the organisation you work in using a coaching approach.


Developing a purpose driven approach in the workplace

Develop the skills to reflect on your working life and contribute more effectively to your organisation's strategic direction.


Developing strategy to manage uncertainty

This course will teach you what a strategy is, who can be a strategist and how to develop a strategic mindset.


Developing team leader skills

Learn various techniques to develop teamworking skills and understand the challenges of teamworking in ever-changing environments.


Evaluating financial performance

This course deals with performance measures that can be calculated from information in published and audited financial statements.


Leadership in the digital world

Explore aspects of leadership and the importance of effective leadership in a digital era.


Managing a budget

Learn how to use financial techniques in managerial decision-making and become more confident about dealing with finance professionals.


Managing change in the digital world

Discover the different aspects of managing change and planning for change – even when the nature of the change is unknown.


Managing uncertainty through monitoring and control

Learn about the importance of strategic monitoring and control systems to effective strategy implementation.


Managing uncertainty through policy implementation

Discover why public policies and services have become so important and the relationship between policy and organisational life.


Organisational behaviour in the workplace

This course focuses on interactions in and around organisations, and the variety of environments that organisations network with.


The impact of storytelling in business

In this course, you'll consider aspects of storytelling at the personal, organisational, and social levels.


Understanding financial statements

Develop a general knowledge of financial reports and accounting concepts to understand the uses of financial statements.



Discover a language and culture steeped in history and tradition with a short course learning Mandarin Chinese. Our short courses are suitable for beginners.

Beginners Chinese 1:
开始吧 kāishĭ ba!

Start learning Mandarin Chinese on a short course that’s perfect for beginners (CEFR level A1).


Beginners Chinese 2:
开始吧 kāishĭ ba!

Expand your Mandarin vocabulary by exploring topics like food and leisure activities (CEFR level A1).


Beginners Chinese 3:
开始吧 kāishĭ ba!

Ideal for those with a grasp of beginners’ Mandarin to improve their skills (CEFR level A1).


Chinese business culture essentials

Build positive, long-term business relationships using knowledge of Chinese culture and values.


Elementary Chinese 1:
入门了 rùmén le!

Step up your basic knowledge of Chinese with our elementary course in Mandarin (CEFR level A1).


Elementary Chinese 2:
入门了 rùmén le!

Take your Mandarin up a level with new topics such as feelings and opinions (CEFR level A2).


Elementary Chinese 3:
入门了 rùmén le!

Develop your Mandarin vocabulary, including how to apologise formally and give presents (CEFR level A2).


Communication and cultures

Communication helps build connections and understanding of the world we live in, both now and in the future. Develop this key skill with a short course.

AI matters

Examine historical, ethical and social issues around Artificial Intelligence technology.


An introduction to intercultural competence

Improve your intercultural communication skills in the workplace.


The languages of crises

Examine the role of languages and cultures in situations of crisis across the world, including the COVID-19 pandemic.



Our short courses in counselling can help practitioners learn how to start online counselling, develop their understanding of trauma-informed counselling and working with the therapeutic relationship.

Advanced therapeutic relationships

This course supports practitioners to work in an advanced way with the therapeutic relationship in counselling and psychotherapy.


Online counselling: getting started

Written in partnership with leading professional bodies, this course introduces practitioners to online counselling and setting up an video/phone provision with clients.


Trauma-informed counselling

This course provides practitioners with an understanding of trauma-informed counselling, including recognising the importance of self-awareness.


Creative writing

Whether you want to develop your writing skills professionally or just for fun, our creative writing short courses will support and inspire you on your creative journey.

Introduction to creative writing

Develop your creative writing skills as you explore poetry, fiction and scriptwriting.


Travel writing

Learn how travel writers bring their journeys to life and begin writing about a journey of your own.


Digital transformation

Start to learn how integrating digital technology into all areas of your business can change how you operate and deliver value to your customers.

Introduction to digital transformation

Learn how digital transformation works and the factors that impact an organisation’s successful transformation.


Digital transformation foundations

Understand the core building blocks that are essential for successful digital transformation.


Innovation for digital transformation

Develop your ability to innovate by generating creative ideas and putting them into action.


Film, media and photography

Delve into the fascinating world of film, media and photography with a short course, including some exciting new courses written in partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI).

A story of documentary film

Trace the history of documentary film in Britain using the collection held by the BFI National Archive.


Film and the environment

Explore film’s fascinating relationship with the environment, from its fossil-fuel reliant past to potentially, eco-friendlier future.


Media, politics and society

Discover how the relationship between media, politics and society impacts your everyday life.


Reading the screen: an introduction to the art of film

Learn how a filmmakers’ choices help create their characters, narratives and ‘story-worlds’.


Digital photography

Broaden your photography skills with a course produced with The Royal Photographic Society (RPS).


Storytelling with video editing

Learn the basics of video editing through a series of practical activities using Adobe Premiere Pro.



From food to fashion, discover the French language and culture in your own time with a short course delivered through bite-sized blocks perfect for beginners.

Beginners French 1:
eh oui!

Kick-start your learning journey with this introduction to French designed for beginners (CEFR level A1).


Beginners French 2:
bien sûr!

Continue to build your French skills for communicating in everyday situations (CEFR level A1).


Beginners French 3:

Enhance your knowledge of French to prepare for further language study (CEFR level A2).


Elementary French 1:

Start to understand and produce more complex language with an elementary course (CEFR level A2).


Elementary French 2:
en avant!

Explore exciting new subjects in French, such as employment and studying (CEFR level B1).


Elementary French 3:
vous y êtes!

Learn to talk about your health and improve your grammar by using different tenses (CEFR level B1).



Say ‘ja’ to learning one of Europe's most widely used languages with a German short course ideal for beginners.

Beginners German 1:
fang an!

Discover key German phrases and the cultural diversity of German-speaking countries (CEFR level A1).


Beginners German 2:
mit Vergnügen!

Study new topics like food, seasons, and time to build up your German vocabulary (CEFR level A1).


Beginners German 3:
richtig so!

Further your German knowledge by learning to give your opinion on new and varied topics (CEFR level A2).


Elementary German 1:
sprechen und verstehen

Learn to express your opinions and start mastering everyday situations in German (CEFR level A2).


Elementary German 2:
sprich weiter!

Step up your German language-learning by taking on more complex conversations (CEFR level B1).


Elementary German 3:
weiter geht’s

Hone your German language skills with our third elementary level short course (CEFR level B1).



Learn to read, write, and speak Italian while immersing yourself in the lifestyle, cuisine, historic cities, art, and culture of Italy. These courses are suitable for beginners.

Beginners Italian 1:
primi passi

A perfect 'aperitivo'! Learn Italian starting with simple topics such as reading menus (CEFR level A1).


Beginners Italian 2:
in cammino

Build on your study and learn to talk about time, work, transport, and holidays in Italian (CEFR level A1).


Beginners Italian 3:
stai andando bene!

Delve further into Italian language and culture by exploring geography, food and festivals (CEFR level A2).


Elementary Italian 1:
in campo!

Step up your progress in Italian with new vocabulary and key expressions (CEFR level A2).


Elementary Italian 2:
avanti tutta!

Develop your Italian skills, including talking about the past and childhood (CEFR level B1).


Elementary Italian 3:

Explore more complex topics in Italian, including social media and Italian migration (CEFR level B1).



This course is designed for individuals seeking to learn more about the UK’s immigration law and practice as a qualified immigration adviser at Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) Level 1.

Foundations of UK immigration law (OISC Level 1)

Explore the skills and knowledge expected of an OISC Level 1 Immigration Adviser.



Whether you're new to digital marketing or need some specific help with your marketing campaigns, we've a range of short courses for you. 

Introduction to digital marketing

Build core digital marketing skills and knowledge to plan and implement first-class digital campaigns.


Digital marketing content creation

Gain the practical skills to create effective online content that engages your audience and delivers business objectives.


Email marketing eCRM

Learn how to build high-performing email marketing campaigns, from targeting the right audience to email analytics and analysis.


Online display advertising

Gain the skills to create, manage and optimise successful online display advertising campaigns that deliver results.


Search marketing

Unlock the skills needed to make effective use of search engine optimisation and paid search in your marketing campaigns.


Social media marketing

Accelerate your social media marketing skills across a range of channels, measure your success, and optimise your approach.


Digital marketing strategy

Learn how to plan and build an effective digital marketing strategy using PR Smith’s SOSTAC® framework.


Digital marketing analytics and measurement

Learn to use web and channel analytics to plan, implement and optimise effective digital marketing campaigns.



Broaden your understanding and appreciation of music, from how it is created, the equipment used, to the impact in our everyday lives and on society as a whole.

Computer audio: sound and music in the digital world

Discover the history of computer audio and music from the earliest computers to modern technology.


Dolly Parton: music, identity and culture

Explore the relationship between music, identity, and culture through the work of the country musician and songwriter Dolly Parton.


Sound systems in popular music: from Jamaican dub to stadium rock

Learn about the cultural context and diversity of a variety of different sound systems.



Over 500 million people worldwide speak Spanish. You too can learn one of the globe’s most popular languages with a short course perfect for beginners.

Beginners Spanish 1:

Discover one of the world’s most widely spoken languages with a short course (CEFR level A1).


Beginners Spanish 2:
¡En marcha!

Learn to talk about time, your daily and weekly routine, work, interests and hobbies (CEFR level A1).


Beginners Spanish 3:

Begin conversing in this popular language using new topics to build your vocabulary (CEFR level A2).


Elementary Spanish 1:
¡en camino!

Build on your beginners’ Spanish with new topics, including sport and grammar (CEFR level A2).


Elementary Spanish 2:
¡vamos a seguir!

Advance your Spanish language skills with new topics, situations and phrases (CEFR level B1).


Elementary Spanish 3:
¡muy bien!

Develop your Spanish further, including learning to use the past tense (CEFR level B1).



In a few hours of study, a short course can open your world to other cultures. Discover hidden histories and forgotten traditions from around the world.

Discovering Wales and Welsh

Learn basic Welsh language skills while exploring key aspects of Welsh culture.


Microcredentials may also interest you

In addition to our short courses, we offer a growing range of microcredentials. These professional development courses help you upskill and quickly develop in-demand career skills and knowledge in just 10-12 weeks. Choose from leadership and business management, computing, climate change, teaching, health and social care, and more.

Find out more about microcredentials