England.  Change location

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 | Communication and cultures | Counselling and social care | Creative writing | Digital marketing | Digital transformation | Film, media and photography | Languages – Arabic | Chinese | French | German | Italian | Spanish | Welsh | Law | Music

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.

Office workers discussing a project on a whiteboard

Analytical thinking for problem solving

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

Office workers in an open-plan office

Behavioural insights for the workplace

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

Woman talking to a group of office workers

Business agility foundations

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

Man talking to a group of people

Business agility intermediate

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

Women talking to camera

Business design for the digital world

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

Office workers meeting around a desk

Collaboration skills for the workplace

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

Women using a computer

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.

Customer in a retail store

Creating a successful and sustainable business

Learn about the approaches and methodologies for sustainable business and how to implement a sustainable impact for positive change.

Workers using virtual reality headsets

Creative thinking for the workplace

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

People looking at a virtual model of a car

Design thinking in the digital world

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

Manager coaching a co-worker

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.

Workers high fiving each other

Developing a coaching culture

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

Workers collaborating in a retail store

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.

Women writing on a whiteboard

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.

Warehouse workers in conversation

Developing team leader skills

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

Women working in a cafe

Evaluating financial performance

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

Office workers sitting around a board table

Leadership in the digital world

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

Worker in a framing shop

Managing a budget

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

People taking part in a conference

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.

Women working in a coffee shop

Managing uncertainty through monitoring and control

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

Workers in a team meeting

Managing uncertainty through policy implementation

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

Two men having an argument

Organisational behaviour in the workplace

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

Owner of a fashion store

Start your own business

Gain the knowledge and practical skills to turn your small business ambitions into reality.

Women giving a lecture

The impact of storytelling in business

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

Man looking at a computer screen

Understanding financial statements

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


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.

Women touching a computer screen

AI language technology in the workplace

Explore Language Technology, a rising form of Artificial Intelligence, and its impact in our working lives.

Home automation screen

An introduction to artificial intelligence

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

Two people exchanging hand gestures in a street

An introduction to intercultural competence

Improve your intercultural communication skills in the workplace.

Women entering a building wearing a face mask

The languages of crises

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


Counselling and social care

Gain an introductory understanding or enhance your continuing professional development with our short courses in counselling and social care.

Counsellor talking to a client

Advanced therapeutic relationships

Develop an advanced understanding of how to work effectively with the therapeutic relationship.

Counsellor having a video conference with a client

Online counselling: getting started

Learn how to set up and offer safe and effective video- and phone-based counselling.

Man having an online counselling session

Online counselling: advancing your knowledge

Advance your understanding of how to provide online counselling effectively and safely.

Counsellor having a conversion with her client

Trauma-informed counselling

Enhance your understanding of trauma-informed counselling, including the importance of self-awareness.

Social care worker with client

Introduction to social

Gain an introduction to social care and the role of paid and unpaid care work in today’s social care sector.


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. We also have a short course if you enjoy reading crime fiction and have an interest in authors from different European countries. 

Women writing in a journal

Introduction to creative writing

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

Person writing notes in a journal

Travel writing

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

Crime fiction book

Introduction to European crime fiction

Discover new ways of looking at crime fiction texts by European authors.


Digital marketing

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. 

Colleagues working with a laptop and tablet computer

Introduction to digital marketing

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

Man working in a sound studio

Digital marketing content creation

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

Women checking email on her mobile phone

Email marketing eCRM

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

Man working at a desk

Online display advertising

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

Women sitting at a desk working on a computer

Search marketing

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

Young people sitting on a wall checking their social media

Social media marketing

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

Works in a creative meeting

Digital marketing strategy

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

Women working with a computer

Digital marketing analytics and measurement

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


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.

Women presenting to colleagues in a meeting

Introduction to digital transformation

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

Colleague pointing something out on a co-workers laptop screen

Digital transformation foundations

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

Women collaborating with colleagues

Digital transformation readiness

Discover how to implement strategic initiatives and develop your organisation’s readiness to transform.

Man collaborating with colleagues

Digital transformation performance

Drive the performance of digital transformation through measurement, innovation, iteration, and continuous improvement.

Women writing notes on a post-it note

Digital transformation design thinking

Learn how to use design thinking to improve decision-making, solve problems, and foster innovation as part of digital transformation.

Colleagues having a discussion

Data in digital transformation

Explore the role of data, artificial intelligence (AI), and the principles of data science for digital transformation.

Women using a 3D printer

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).

Film reels in an archive

A story of documentary film

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

Women filming on set

Reading the screen: an introduction to the art of film

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

Film posters

Cinema in the Spanish-speaking world

Discover the cultural impact of the cinematic landscapes of Spain, Argentina, and Chile.

Protesters with placards

Media, politics and society

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

Man editing video on a computer

Storytelling with video editing

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

Wooded forest

Investigating place with psychogeography

Discover how emotions and actions are tied up in places, exploring practice and theory to inform your creative practice centred on place.

Women with a camera in the countryside

Digital photography

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

Image of black and white photographic artwork

Photography as language

Embrace a visual language through practice and theory to better understand the meaning of images and photos you see and make.



Discover the beauty of the Arabic language and deepen your understanding of Arab culture.

Arabic script

Introduction to Arabic language and culture

Learn to speak, read, write, and understand basic Arabic language and culture.



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

Neon-lit street scene in China

Beginners Chinese 1:
开始吧 kāishĭ ba!

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

Image of the Great Wall of China

Beginners Chinese 2:
开始吧 kāishĭ ba!

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

Tiananmen Square

Beginners Chinese 3:
开始吧 kāishĭ ba!

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

Man in a central business district surrounded by sky scrappers

Chinese business culture essentials

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

Chinese lantern

Elementary Chinese 1:
入门了 rùmén le!

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

Street market scene

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).

Two people exchanging a greeting card

Elementary Chinese 3:
入门了 rùmén le!

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



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.

Eiffel Tower

Beginners French 1:
eh oui!

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

Sign for Mont-Saint-Michel

Beginners French 2:
bien sûr!

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

Couple sitting outside a French café

Beginners French 3:

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

Arc de triomphe roundabout

Elementary French 1:

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

Women on a bridge looking down river

Elementary French 2:
en avant!

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

Group of women in casual conversation

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.

German outdoor market

Beginners German 1:
fang an!

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

Women overlooking a German city

Beginners German 2:
mit Vergnügen!

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

The brandenburg gate

Beginners German 3:
richtig so!

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

Women in traditional German outfits

Elementary German 1:
sprechen und verstehen

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

Young people taking a selfie

Elementary German 2:
sprich weiter!

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

Historical German street

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.

The Colosseum

Beginners Italian 1:
primi passi

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

Italian diners eating outside

Beginners Italian 2:
in cammino

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

Venice, Italy

Beginners Italian 3:
stai andando bene!

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

Chef cooking pastor in a kitchen

Elementary Italian 1:
in campo!

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

Two women in conversation

Elementary Italian 2:
avanti tutta!

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

Man using a tablet computer

Elementary Italian 3:

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



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.

Women looking up at Sagrada Família

Beginners Spanish 1:

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

Gaudi street scene

Beginners Spanish 2:
¡En marcha!

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

Red wine glasses on a dining table

Beginners Spanish 3:

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

Wall shadow of a Spanish dancer

Elementary Spanish 1:
¡en camino!

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

Three young women dancing

Elementary Spanish 2:
¡vamos a seguir!

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

Spanish street scene

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.

Sandcastle on a Welsh beach

Discovering Wales and Welsh

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



These courses are designed for individuals seeking to learn about UK immigration law and practice as a qualified immigration adviser at the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).

Women at passport control

Foundations of UK immigration law (OISC Level 1)

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

Immigration law

Advanced UK immigration law (OISC Levels 2 and 3)

Learn more about UK immigration law and develop the skills to work at OISC Levels 2 and 3.



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.

Image of Dolly Parton painted on a wall

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.


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


Photography as language

This course is delivered by the OU's Open College of the Arts.

View this course on the Open College of the Arts website

Investigating place with psychogeography

This course is delivered by the OU's Open College of the Arts.

View this course on the Open College of the Arts website