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Diploma of Higher Education in History and Politics - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

This is an intermediate programme that aims to provide you with:

  • a thorough grounding in the humanities alongside the development of discipline specific perspectives at OU level 2
  • the development and consolidation of skills of analysis, argument and expression
  • the ability to write well-argued essays and other specified written tasks, including work in formal examinations, and reflect on tutor feedback, and use this feedback to improve on future performance
  • the opportunity to enhance your personal development, both in terms of progressing towards a degree in a named subject through OU level 3 study, and awareness of the transferrable skills you have gained in the process

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this diploma, you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • selected concepts, theories and debates within social science and the application of these to the analysis of political ideas, institutions, practices and processes
  • history as a systematic and reflective discipline producing bodies of knowledge about the past, these being constantly subject to controversy and debate.
  • aspects of politics and history drawn from the period since 1750


Cognitive skills

On completion of this diploma, you will be able to:

  • define and use key concepts, abstract models and theories from politics and history as well as related areas of international relations, development and economics, to study historical and contemporary societal processes and outcomes.
  • analyse complex issues in global history and politics and synthesise and critically evaluate different kinds of evidence from a variety of sources to develop detailed, reasoned arguments
  • critically compare and evaluate competing ideas, arguments and theories and approaches used in historical and political analysis

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this diploma, you will be able to:

  • confidently select, summarise and synthesise information from a range of materials and sources and interpret, read and record/note appropriately
  • express and present complex ideas succinctly and clearly in written form in a coherent and organised manner to develop a logical, substantiated and sustained argument, with sources referenced appropriately
  • perform basic numerical operations and interpret basic descriptive statistics in tables, graphs and diagrams showing awareness of the range of interpretations they might be used to support
  • independently search for, access, critically evaluate and prepare information from a range of sources, including using a range of ICT applications and tools
  • identify and use sources of support and feedback to reflect upon your learning.


Key skills

On completion of this diploma, you will be able to:

  • work without constant direction, in a variety of settings, to assess tasks and make plans across a programme of work and be able to reflect on, plan and use your time strategically in order to fulfil those tasks
  • work independently and in collaboration with others, demonstrating effective communication and adaptability
  • make informed, reasoned choices and judgments applicable to a wide range of situations based on an understanding of historical and political


Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You will 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.

In the programme a range of types of assessment is used, in accordance with the recommendations of the national music benchmarking statement. Most modules include continuous assessment and an examinable component. The tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) that make up the continuous assessment component may take the form of essays, reflective writing, and reports, depending on the module and the level. The examinable component may take the form of a traditional unseen examination or a project.