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BA/BSc (Honours) Open degree

The BA/BSc (Honours) Open is our most flexible degree programme because you can study any subjects you like, in any combination. This means you can build a qualification that's unique to you.

“I selected the Open Degree because of the flexibility it offered. I was able to tailor my degree to suit the needs of my employer and study subjects I was passionate about.” – Mohammad Ali Salik, Open degree graduate

Key features of the course

  • Design your own qualification to suit your personal and professional needs, interests and aspirations
  • Choose from a wide range of modules in any subject or focus your studies on one or two specific subjects
  • Be able to demonstrate your ability to study different subjects
  • Easily change direction if your study interests change
  • Count credit from university-level studies you’ve already completed elsewhere

Course Summary

Degree

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code
QD
Credits

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.
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits. For your BA/BSc (Honours) Open degree you can:

  • study a broad range of subjects; or
  • specialise in one subject area for half of your degree and study a broad range of subjects for the other; or
  • specialise in two subject areas, dividing your time equally between both.

Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

You’ll start Stage 1 with 60 credits from a wide choice of introductory modules. Worth 30 or 60 credits, these modules have been carefully selected to develop your subject knowledge and study skills in preparation for further OU study. To complete this stage, you’ll choose a further 60 credits from a wider selection of our other Stage 1 modules. Many students focus broadly on one discipline, such as science or the humanities – but there’s nothing to stop you studying modules from entirely different subject areas.

Key introductory Stage 1 modules

ModulesCredits
You'll choose 60 credits from:
List of available introductory Stage 1 modules60

All Stage 1 modules

ModulesCredits
You'll choose 60 credits from:
Complete list of available Stage 1 modules60

Stage 2 (120 credits)

Having completed Stage 1, you may have formed some ideas about the direction you want to follow – if so, you can start to focus on one or two subject areas and explore some of the topics you will have encountered at Stage 1 in more depth. Equally, you can continue to be inspired by different subjects, especially if you have previous knowledge or experience. Either way, after you've completed the 120 credits required for Stage 2, you will have enhanced your critical thinking and analytical skills.

All Stage 2 modules

ModulesCredits
You'll choose 120 credits from:
Complete list of available Stage 2 modules120

Stage 3 (120 credits)

Stage 3 is focused on the study of specialist topics and issues. During this stage you will develop significantly as an independent learner and acquire high-level thinking skills in preparation for graduate-level employment or postgraduate study. To complete the 120 credits of study required for Stage 3, we recommend that you build on previous modules to get the best from your studies.

Alternatively, if you’re interested in exploring some predefined subject-based routes through the qualification, expand the Routes through the degree section below.

All Stage 3 modules

ModulesCredits
You'll choose 120 credits from:
Complete list of available Stage 3 modules120

Routes through the degree

If you want to focus your Open degree on just one subject, you can choose 180 credits of subject-specific study across the three stages (as detailed in the example routes given below), combined with 180 credits from a wide range of modules. Alternatively, if you’d like to study two specific subjects, you could choose to combine 180 credits of subject-specific study from one route with 180 credits of subject-specific study from another.

These routes are optional and are provided just to give you a few ideas, other subjects and module choices are available when you register.

Following a suggested subject route, or combining two together, can be particularly beneficial if you’re keen to develop a specialism in a particular subject(s). However, please be aware that the subject(s) you study won’t be included on your degree certificate or in the name of your degree.

Some of the modules listed in the following suggested routes are currently only available to residents of the UK, Republic of Ireland and Western Europe.

Art history

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Discovering the arts and humanities (A111)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Exploring art and visual culture (A226)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Art and its global histories (A344)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60

Biology

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Questions in science (S111)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Cell biology (S294)30
The biology of survival (S295)30
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Biological science: from genes to species (S317)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60

Business and management

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
An introduction to business and management (B100)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Shaping business opportunities (B207)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Strategic management (B302)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60

Childhood and youth studies

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Introduction to childhood studies and child psychology (E102)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Childhood (E212)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Issues in research with children and young people (EK313)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60

Computer science

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Introduction to computing and information technology 1 (TM111)30
Introduction to computing and information technology 2 (TM112)30
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Object-oriented Java programming (M250)30
Algorithms, data structures and computability (M269)30
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Data management and analysis (TM351)30
Interaction design and the user experience (TM356)30
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60

Design

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Design thinking: creativity for the 21st century (U101)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Design essentials (T217)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Innovation: designing for change (T317)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60

Economics

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Investigating the social world (DD103)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Running the economy (DD209)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Doing economics: people, markets and policy (DD309)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
DD103 is not a key introductory module. If you’re interested in studying this route, you’ll need to have completed 60 credits of key introductory modules in another subject.

Engineering

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Engineering: origins, methods, context (T192)30
Engineering: frameworks, analysis, production (T193)30
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Core engineering A (T271)30
Energy and sustainability (T213)30
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Engineering small worlds: micro and nano technologies (T356)30
Structural integrity: designing against failure (T357)30
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60

Environmental technology

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Environment: journeys through a changing world (U116)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Energy and sustainability (T213)30
Environmental management 1 (T219)30
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Renewable energy (T313)30
Environmental management 2 (T319)30
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60

French

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Bon départ: beginners' French (L192)30
French studies 1 (intermediate) (L112)30
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
French studies 2: language and culture of the French-speaking world (L222)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Mises au point: advanced French (L310)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60

Health and social care

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
An introduction to health and social care (K101)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Critical issues in health and wellbeing (K219)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Leadership and management in health and social care (K313)60

Promoting public health: skills, perspectives and practice (K311)
60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60

Law

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
An introduction to law (W101)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Public law and criminal law (W203)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
European Union law (W330)30
Law, society and culture (W340)30
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60

Mathematics and statistics

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Discovering mathematics (MU123)30
Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)30
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Mathematical methods (MST224)30
Analysing data (M248)30
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Applications of probability (M343)30
Linear statistical modelling (M346)30
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60

Psychology

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Investigating psychology 1 (DE100)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Living psychology: from the everyday to the extraordinary (DD210)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Advancing social psychology (DD317)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
DE100 is not a key introductory module. If you’re interested in studying this route, you’ll need to have completed 60 credits of key introductory modules in another subject.

Sport and fitness

ModulesCredits
Stage 1 (120 credits)
Introduction to sport and fitness (E117)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Sport and conditioning science into practice (E217)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Exploring psychological aspects of athletic development (E313)60
You'll choose 60 credits of free choice from this list of modules60

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 20 March 2019.


Accessibility

We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA/BSc (Honours) Open degree uses a variety of study materials and may have the following elements, depending on the modules you choose to study:

  • studying a mixture of printed and online material. Online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
  • using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • working with specialist reading material such as works of art and musical manuscripts
  • working in a group with other students
  • using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
  • undertaking practical work
  • finding external/third party material online
  • using specialist software (for example the Sibelius music writing package)
  • using an online Laboratory or Design/Engineering Studio.

For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support with any of the elements above, visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer. Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.


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

The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll 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; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

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.


Classification of your degree

On successful completion of 360 credits you will be awarded either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science honours degree.

Whether you qualify for a BA (Hons) Open degree or a BSc (Hons) Open degree will be determined by the number of credits you have from modules suitable for a BA or for a BSc.

For a BA, at least 180 credits must come from modules suitable for a BA (that is with module codes starting with A, B, D, E, K, L, M, U or W).

For a BSc, at least 180 credits must come from modules suitable for a BSc (that is, with module codes starting with B, D, E, K, M, S, T, U or W).

Of these 180 credits, at least 120 must be at OU level 2 or above, and at least 60 of these must be at OU level 3.

Your honours degree will be classified either as first-class honours, upper second-class honours, lower second-class honours or third-class honours. The class is determined by the grades you achieve in up to 240 credits from OU modules above level 1. At least 120 of those credits must come from modules at level 3.

At the end of your studies you will receive a detailed record of modules you have studied and the results. You will have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
 

Recognition in your country

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. Read recognition in my country.

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. 

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification. However, you can choose to start your studies with either an optional Access module, or directly at Stage 1.

The BA/BSc (Honours) Open degree begins with one of a range of introductory modules, which are all designed to build a solid foundation for further study. Although this first module will provide the foundation for your qualification, having some basic skills before you begin can help you get the best from your studies. If, for example, you choose one of our science, maths or engineering modules, we recommend that you check with us that your IT and mathematical skills are at an appropriate level.

For the following subject areas, we offer online diagnostic tools to help you to decide if you’re ready, or if you could do with some extra preparation:

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.

Counting previous study

You could save time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study towards this qualification, if you have:

  • already studied at university level (even if you didn't finish your studies)
  • other professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs

Find out more about credit transfer

Your next step

Call us on +44 300 303 0266 or book a call back. Our friendly team of advisers will discuss your study options with you, and help you decide on the best starting point for you. 

In this section:
How much will it cost?
Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

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, or even reduce, 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.
  • If, like most OU students, you study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year, you'll take six years to complete an honours degree.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £3,012*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study – is £6,024*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £18,072*.

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2020. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.

Residential schools

This qualification includes optional language modules that include a residential school. For each residential school you must pay an additional charge of £293 (2019/20) to cover the cost of accommodation and meals. You’ll pay this charge when you book the residential school, after you’ve enrolled on the module. You must also pay for your travel to and from the venue. If you can’t attend the school for reasons beyond your control, there will be an online alternative (to which the additional charge doesn’t apply).

This qualification also includes science modules that include or are associated with an optional residential/laboratory school. For each school you choose to attend, you must pay an additional charge to cover costs such as tuition, accommodation and meals (see individual module descriptions for more information). You must also pay for your travel to and from the venue.


Skills for career development

A BA/BSc (Hons) Open degree equips you with a wide range of expertise, skills and capabilities that are much sought after in today’s highly competitive job market. An Open degree on your CV shows more than your level of knowledge about a subject; employers know that you are flexible and adaptable, having studied across a range of subjects. It also allows you to develop a diverse range of transferable skills including:
  • self management
  • team working
  • problem solving
  • communication and literacy
  • numeracy
  • application of information technology
  • business and customer awareness

Research* shows that the most important considerations when businesses are recruiting graduates are having the right attitude to work (86%), aptitude for work (63%) and general academic ability (43%). 

* Inspiring Growth CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey 2017.

Career relevance

The flexibility of our BA/BSc (Hons) Open degree makes it relevant to a wide range of careers and industries – many of which do not require qualifications to be subject-specific. It can help you to develop in your existing employment, or be a passport to a whole new career. 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.

Other careers

A degree is always valuable, no matter what you study. Around 70% of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any discipline – particularly roles in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills.

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. This includes online forums, website, interview simulation, 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.

You can also visit the graduate careers website Prospects for hundreds of job ideas.


Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 15/08/2019
Credit transfer: apply by 12/12/2019
Credit transfer: apply by 13/02/2020

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