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Course type
Foundation Degree  

Foundation Degree

  • Widely recognised qualification.
  • Enhance your professional and technical knowledge and skills.
  • Equivalent to the first two thirds of an honours degree.
  • Use it to support your current role or progress your career.
  • Combine work-based learning with academic study – you need to be employed or volunteering in a relevant work setting.
  • Top up to an honours degree in just two years.

We offer most of our foundation degrees as diplomas of higher education for students living or working in Scotland.

Credits
240  

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 – 4 years
Full-time study – 2 years
Time limit – 12 years
Study method
Distance learning
Entry requirements
Find out more about
Entry requirements

Foundation Degree in Combined Professional Studies

Course code: X13

This flexible qualification enables you to develop lifelong learning skills that will open doors to further study and career development. You can choose from a wide variety of fascinating modules in any subjects you like, depending on your interests and career aspirations – including work-related modules to help you in your current role and enhance your future employability.

  • Gain an understanding of your subjects in ethical, social, intellectual, academic and employment contexts
  • Develop critical and reflective awareness of your own learning and professional practice
  • Learn to be creative and open to new possibilities – especially in the workplace
  • Builds a solid foundation for further study

The structure of this Foundation Degree is the same as our Diploma of Higher Education in Combined Professional Studies (W13).

Course type
Foundation Degree  

Foundation Degree

  • Widely recognised qualification.
  • Enhance your professional and technical knowledge and skills.
  • Equivalent to the first two thirds of an honours degree.
  • Use it to support your current role or progress your career.
  • Combine work-based learning with academic study – you need to be employed or volunteering in a relevant work setting.
  • Top up to an honours degree in just two years.

We offer most of our foundation degrees as diplomas of higher education for students living or working in Scotland.

Credits
240  

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 – 4 years
Full-time study – 2 years
Time limit – 12 years
Study method
Distance learning
Entry requirements

Find out more about Entry requirements

This foundation degree has two stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • In Stage 1, you’ll study a 30-credit work-based learning module, choose a 30-credit key introductory module and choose 60 credits from a free choice of stage 1 modules.
  • In Stage 2, you’ll choose 90 credits chosen from a free choice of stage 2 modules and study a 30-credit work-based learning module.

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.

You’ll study a 30-credit work-based learning module, choose a 30-credit key introductory module and choose 60 credits from a free choice of stage 1 modules.

Stage 1 modules
ModulesCredits
You’ll study the following:
Career development and employability (T122)30
You’ll choose one from:
Key introductory option modules30
You’ll choose 60 credits from:
Stage 1 option modules60

You’ll choose 90 credits chosen from a free choice of stage 2 modules and study a 30-credit work-based learning module.

Stage 2 modules
ModulesCredits
You’ll choose 90 credits from:
Stage 2 option modules90
You’ll study the following:
Change, strategy and projects at work (T227)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 14 March 2023.


Accessibility

Our qualifications are as accessible as possible, and we have a comprehensive range of support services. Our Foundation Degree in Combined Professional Studies 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 &ndash 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 software
  • Mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • Online tutorials
  • Group-work
  • Practical work
  • Residential school

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

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.


On completion

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Foundation Degree in Combined Professional Studies.

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. 


Compare this course

There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification. However, you are responsible for obtaining permission to use your workplace as a basis for your studies prior to registering for the first module.

Also, to successfully complete the first module you must:

  • be engaged in suitable full-time or part-time employment – either paid or voluntary
  • have permission to carry out work-based learning tasks in your work setting
  • confirm that the work you submit is based on your practice in that setting
  • have regular access to a computer connected to the internet.

Further detailed information will be sent to you once you have registered for the module.

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 our:

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

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

View full details of Psychology, social science and wellbeing 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 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 typical fee for 60 credits is £3,462*.
  • Our typical fee for 120 credits, which is equivalent to a year's full-time study, is £6,924*.
  • This means, at current prices, the typical total cost of your qualification would be £13,848*.
  • This qualification also includes one or more option modules with a lower than typical cost. If you choose to study one of these modules, the total cost of your qualification will be lower.

*The fee and funding information provided here is valid for courses starting before 31 July 2024. Fees normally increase annually. For further information about the University's fee policy, visit our 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 are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you start studying.

Field schools

This qualification has modules (S206/SXF206, S209 and/or S295) with optional field schools. For each school, you must pay an additional charge. You must also pay for your travel to and from the venue.


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

This foundation degree course can help you to develop your existing career, or be a passport to a whole new one. 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. Unlike more traditional courses, the Foundation Degree in Combined Professional Studies enables you to tailor your study to your current employment or to the sector you hope to enter in the future. You will develop enthusiasm for learning and professional development; understanding of your subjects in a broad social, academic and employment context; the skills of critical analysis and synthesis; and reflective awareness.

Career relevance

This foundation degree is relevant to huge range of different careers and career paths. You will have the opportunity to design a personalised study programme, allowing you to develop skills needed to help you in your current workplace, or to work towards a complete change in career.

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, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser.  Some areas of the website are available to see at any time, 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 this qualification and where it might take you, visit the careers website Prospects for hundreds of job ideas.


Thinking of studying this course?

Registration will open in March. If you would like to be kept updated, register your interest.


Request a prospectus

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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