Getting started with OU postgraduate study
We offer supported distance learning – that means, we’ll provide you with all the resources you need to study, alongside the support you need to be successful.
About two weeks before your official module start date, you’ll gain access to your module website.
On there, you’ll have access to:
- A week-by-week study planner.
- The assessment section, outlining what you’ll do for each assignment and when they’re due.
- The tutorial booking system, online tutorial room and your tutor’s contact details.
- Module forums where you can discuss topics with other students, complete collaborative work and get some extra help if you’re stuck.
- All the online, PDF and accessible formats of your module materials and resources.
Your study planner will have most of your module’s key dates already, but you may have to wait a little longer for any residential school or exam dates. Don’t worry though, we’ll make sure you have these in plenty of time.
If your module has printed module materials, you’ll also be sent these before your module starts.
Studying your module
Your study will either be entirely online, or a combination of online and printed module materials and practice-based learning.
If you have additional requirements, we offer alternative format materials. We’ll ask you to let us know before you start your first module.
Your module website will be broken down into study weeks. Each week you’ll have a mixture of reading, videos/recordings and interactive activities to go through. Some modules also offer the opportunity to engage with remotely operated experiments. Wherever you can get an internet connection, you’ll be able to study.
Module-specific tutors will support you throughout your studies. We cover off how your tutor supports you and how you’ll be assessed on our Tutors and assessment page.
Key study skills
To be successful in your postgraduate studies, you’ll generally need to be able to:
- find and read research material aimed at experts, rather than students
- critically analyse findings – including statistical analysis
- follow academic convention when presenting findings and ideas, references and bibliographies
- carry out reflective practice.
Not all of these skills will be appropriate to the subject area you’re looking to study. That said, an undergraduate degree (or equivalent level) or professional experience in a related area, is excellent preparation.
Of course, being a student at the OU means you’ll have access to a wealth of resources outside just your module materials.
We offer specialist support in the form of our Student Computing Helpdesk and career planning services. You’ll even be able to use our career services for another three years after you stop studying with us.
You’ll have your own StudentHome page, which you log into through the OU website. On there, you can:
- See all the courses and modules you’ve studied or are studying.
- Access your module website.
- Submit and collect your assignments.
- Choose and enrol on your next module.
- Find instructions on how to download free Microsoft Office 365 software, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more.
- Get access to our online Help Centre, a fantastic resource that offers general study skills advice and information about OU study.
Our online library will give you worldwide access to trusted, quality online resources, selected by subject specialists, to support your study.
- Journals, magazines, academic books, newspapers, dictionaries and encyclopedias.
- Library helpdesk, available seven days a week with a 24/7 chat service.
- Access to other university libraries in the UK and Ireland.