Postgraduate Certificate in Humanities

If you have a passion for the arts and are looking for an intellectual challenge, this certificate course provides you with an excellent opportunity to upgrade your qualifications. You will deepen your understanding of either art history, classical studies, philosophy, music or creative writing, while developing advanced research and analytical skills that will give you the edge in today’s competitive jobs market and prepare you for further academic study. 

Key features of the course

  • Extends knowledge and skills acquired at undergraduate level
  • A choice of pathways enables you to focus on a particular subject of interest
  • Develops critical thinking skills that are highly prized by employers
  • Gives you credit towards a masters degree if you wish to study further.


Course code


  • 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
1 year
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


If you plan to study humanities beyond this certificate, we recommend that you read the relevant qualification descriptions from the following options before choosing your module:

MA in Art History (F33), MA in Classical Studies (F27), MA in Creative Writing (F71)MA in Music (F32) or MA in Philosophy (F30)

To gain this qualification, you'll study one of the following:

Optional modules Credits Next start
MA Art History part 1 (A843)

This first part of the MA will teach you the research methodologies and theoretical concepts of Art History.  

See full description

60 07 Oct 2023
MA Classical Studies part 1 (A863)

This module tackles the question, ‘How do we know what we know’ about ancient Greece and Rome by investigating classical studies as a multidisciplinary field.

See full description

60 07 Oct 2023 FINAL
MA Creative Writing part 1 (A802)
This online module is an exciting opportunity to develop your skills in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and scriptwriting, using practical writing, reading and research activities.

See full description

60 07 Oct 2023
MA Music part 1 (A873)

This module introduces skills for studying musics from a wide range of times and places, as well as writing and other material relating to these musics.

See full description

60 07 Oct 2023 FINAL
MA Philosophy part 1 (A853)

This module introduces you to graduate-level philosophy through studying the beauty of nature; a classic text – Plato’s Meno; the nature of consciousness; and issues around global justice. 

See full description

60 07 Oct 2023

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules A840, A841, A850, A860, A870, AA810, AA820, AA830 or 60 credits of specified modules from the MA in Humanities programme including at least one of the discontinued 30-credit modules A810, A820 or A830.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.

Credit transfer

For this qualification, we do not allow you to count credit for study you have already done elsewhere.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Humanities entitling you to use the letters PG Cert (Hum) (Open) after your name.

You can progress from this Postgraduate Certificate in Humanities to our MA in Art History (F33), MA in Classical Studies [F27], #MA in Creative Writing (F71), MA in Music (F32) or MA in Philosophy (F30).


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. 

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.

Entry requirements

You must hold an honours degree to study for this qualification. Although your degree need not be in humanities, you must have the basic skills expected of a graduate in that area. All of the modules will bring you up to date with the latest ideas and approaches in humanities but does not offer remedial undergraduate training if your qualifications and/or experience are inadequate. 
Before you begin the certificate you must be able to:
  • write clear, concise, accurate prose
  • read large quantities of text quickly, accurately and critically
  • classify evidence precisely and assess its value and reliability
  • argue logically, consistently and sceptically
  • marshal various sorts of evidence to support a logical argument.

If you would like help to assess your preparedness you can contact us for advice.

How long it takes

You will be able to complete this qualification within one year.

Career relevance

Studying the Postgraduate Certificate in Humanities will provide you with an opportunity to build on skills acquired at undergraduate level. It will further develop your capability to read and analyse large amounts of written material and improve on your ability to convert knowledge acquired during your studies into lucid written responses. These transferable skills are in demand in many areas of the public and private sector, such as advertising, marketing and public relations; educational, charity and development; or government and public administration.

Completing the certificate will give you a worthwhile qualification in its own right, and you can also count the credits towards one of our MAs providing you take account of the unique study rule.  

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.