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An image to illustrate the Graduate Certificate in Theoretical Statistics and Probability
Course type
Certificate  

Certificate

  • An OU level 3 qualification.
  • Designed for graduates.
  • Provides knowledge to work at a professional level.
  • Only qualification of its type offered by the OU.
Credits
60  

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.
How long it takes
Part-time study – 1 year
Full-time study – N/A
Time limit – 4 years
Study method
Distance learning
Entry requirements
Find out more about
Entry requirements

Graduate Certificate in Theoretical Statistics and Probability

Course code: S04

This certificate teaches the theory that underpins statistical inference and probability, equipping you to understand the assumptions and limitations of a range of statistical models. You’ll gain a thorough understanding of the theory you need as a professional statistician. Study the mathematical theory underlying methods and concepts used in practical statistical analyses while learning to develop probability models and investigate their properties.

  • Cover analytical approaches, classical and Bayesian statistics and the underpinning mathematical theory
  • Learn about distribution theory and a range of probabilistic models
  • Understand the theory behind statistical inference
  • Gain the skills to comment critically on analyses and model choices
Course type
Certificate  

Certificate

  • An OU level 3 qualification.
  • Designed for graduates.
  • Provides knowledge to work at a professional level.
  • Only qualification of its type offered by the OU.
Credits
60  

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.
How long it takes
Part-time study – 1 year
Full-time study – N/A
Time limit – 4 years
Study method
Distance learning
Entry requirements

Find out more about Entry requirements

This certificate has one stage, comprising 60 credits.

  • You’ll study two 30-credit modules.

You’ll study two 30-credit modules.

Stage 1 modules
ModulesCredits
You'll study both of the following:
Applications of probability (M343)30
Mathematical statistics (M347)30

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 19 March 2024.


Accessibility

Our qualifications are as accessible as possible, and we have a comprehensive range of support services. Our Graduate Certificate in Theoretic Statistics and Probability uses a variety of study materials and includes the following elements:

  • Online study – most modules are online; some have a mix of printed and online material. Online learning resources could include websites, audio/video, and interactive activities
  • Pre-determined schedules – we’ll help you to develop your time-management skills
  • Assessment in the form of short-answer questions, essays, and examinations
  • Feedback – continuous assessment includes feedback from your tutor and using this to improve your performance
  • Using and producing diagrams and screenshots
  • Finding external/third-party material online
  • Accessing online catalogues and databases
  • Specialist material
  • Specialist software
  • Mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • Online tutorials
  • Group-work

Every module has its own Accessibility Statement with more detailed accessibility information – you’ll find these on individual module descriptions.

Visit our Disability support page to learn about our services.


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.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here

On completion

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Graduate Certificate in Theoretical Statistics and Probability.

International recognition

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.

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. 


You must have an undergraduate degree with a substantial amount of mathematical and/or statistical content.

You need a high degree of mathematical competence in the following areas:

  • logarithmic and exponential functions
  • calculus (including Taylor series)
  • algebra (including manipulation of inequalities)
  • matrices.

In addition, you’ll need a working knowledge of the following statistical topics:

  • histograms and scatterplots
  • Normal, Poisson and binomial distributions
  • the central limit theorem
  • point estimation
  • maximum likelihood estimation
  • confidence intervals
  • hypothesis testing
  • simple linear regression
  • correlation.

If you meet these entry requirements and wish to study this qualification, download the application form.

You can also check you’re ready to study, and see the topics each module covers, here.

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

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 the cost.

  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • Most of our students study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £3,636*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £3,636*.

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2025. Fees typically increase annually. In England, fees are subject to the part-time fee limit, as set out in section C of the University's Fee Rules.

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 receive a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you start studying.


How will I study this course?

With our unique approach to distance learning, you can study from home, work or on the move.

You’ll have some assessment deadlines to meet, but otherwise, you’ll be free to study at the times that suit you, fitting your learning around work, family, and social life.

For each of your modules, you’ll use either just online resources or a mix of online and printed materials.

Each module you study will have a module website with

  • a week-by-week study planner, giving you a step-by-step guide through your studies
  • course materials such as reading, videos, recordings, and self-assessed activities
  • module forums for discussions and collaborative activities with other students
  • details of each assignment and their due dates
  • a tutorial booking system, online tutorial rooms, and your tutor’s contact details
  • online versions of some printed module materials and resources.

If you have additional needs, we can also provide most module materials in alternative formats. Find out more about materials on our accessibility webpage.


Tutor support

You’ll have a tutor for each module, who will introduce themselves before the module begins.

Throughout the module, they will:

  • mark your assignments and give feedback to help you improve
  • guide you to learning resources
  • support you, whether with general study skills or help with a specific topic.

Tutorials

Tutorials usually take place online, and they’re always optional.

Online tutorials are live presentations with module tutors in dedicated online tutorial rooms and are sometimes recorded.


Assessment

Our assessments are all designed to reinforce your learning and help you show your understanding of the topics. The mix of assessment methods will vary between modules.

Computer-Marked Assignments

  • Usually, a series of online, multiple-choice questions.

Tutor-Marked Assignments

  • You’ll have a number of these throughout each module, each with a submission deadline.
  • They can be made up of essays, questions, experiments or something else to test your understanding of what you have learned.
  • Your tutor will mark and return them to you with detailed feedback.

End-of-Module Assessments

  • The final, marked piece of work on most modules.
  • Modules with an end-of-module assessment won’t usually have an exam.

Exams

  • Some modules end with an exam. You’ll be given time to revise and prepare.
  • You’ll be given your exam date at least 5 months in advance.
  • Most exams take place remotely, and you will complete them at home or at an alternative location.
  • If a module requires you to take a face-to-face exam, this will be made clear in the module description, and you will be required to take your exam in person at one of our exam centres.

Progressing to a point where I felt more comfortable writing my assignments, and having my scores reflecting that, made me quite happy because it showed the hard work was being rewarded.

Patrick ‘Ricky’ Skene, BSc (Hons) Sport, Fitness and Coaching

Other support and resources

Throughout your studies, you’ll have access to our subject-specific Student Support Teams.

They’ll help you with any general questions about your study and updates to your OU account.

To help with your studies, you’ll also have access to:

  • our online library, with high-quality online resources to support your study
  • other university libraries in the UK and Ireland
  • the online Help Centre, which has general information about OU study and support, along with study skills advice
  • free Microsoft Office 365 software
  • IT and computing support from our Computing Helpdesk.

Find out more about student support and being a part of the OU community.

Skills for career development

Statistics is important for everyday problem solving and decision making. This certificate will equip you with the important mathematical underpinning for statistical methods, so you’ll have the theoretical knowledge to prepare you for work as a statistician. Applications of probability theory include patterns of events that occur in both time, such as earthquakes; and space, for example the occurrence of a species of plant; together with areas such as genetics and changes in stock market prices.

Career relevance

Qualified statisticians are in great demand in the workplace – in particular, those with the theoretical underpinning to ensure the correct analysis is undertaken are in short supply in all areas, including the sciences, economics, education, engineering, environmental studies, finance, government statistics, logistics, medicine and pharmaceuticals.

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 and 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 where this qualification might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your qualification):

  • actuary
  • business analyst
  • business manager
  • climate scientist
  • data scientist
  • environmental scientist
  • financial consultant
  • health professional
  • marketing professional
  • meteorologist
  • policy maker
  • research analyst
  • sport scientist
  • teacher

Register

To apply for this qualification, please refer to the Entry requirements (online registration is not available).

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