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STEM: science, technology, engineering, mathematics

BSc (Honours) Combined STEM

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The flexibility of our Combined STEM degree allows you to build your own degree from a wide range of STEM modules and study routes, including psychology and sports science – this means you can build a qualification that's unique to you.

Key features of the course

  • Highly personalised – design your own qualification to suit your personal and professional needs, interests and aspirations
  • Wide-ranging choice – study modules from across STEM subjects or focus on one or two specific areas
  • Hugely flexible – you can switch direction easily if your needs or interests change
  • Allows you to count university-level credits you’ve already gained from elsewhere

Course Summary



  • 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


  • 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 – 6–8 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits:

  • In Stage 1, you'll choose 60 credits from a range of key introductory STEM modules, followed by 60 credits from a free choice of OU level 1 modules.
  • Next, in Stage 2, you'll choose 60 credits from a broad range of STEM modules at OU level 2, followed by 60 credits from a free choice of OU level 2 modules.
  • Finally, in Stage 3, you'll conclude your degree by choosing 120 credits from a broad range of OU level 3 STEM modules.

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.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

You’ll start Stage 1 with 60 credits from a wide and varied choice of introductory STEM modules – specially designed 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 any of our Stage 1 modules – you could expand your study of a particular subject beyond the key introductory modules, but there’s nothing to stop you choosing modules from entirely different subject areas.

Introductory STEM modules

You’ll choose 60 credits from:
Choose from this list of options60

All Stage 1 modules

You’ll choose 60 credits from:
Choose from this list of options60

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 particular subject areas and explore in more depth some of the STEM topics you'll have encountered at Stage 1. Equally, you can continue to be inspired by non-STEM subjects, especially if you have previous knowledge or experience. Either way, after you've completed the 120 credits required for Stage 2, you’ll have enhanced your critical thinking and analytical skills. Consider your choice of modules carefully, as to get the best from your studies in Stage 3, you'll build on your study from Stage 2. At least 60 credits must be from STEM modules and up to 60 credits can be from any Stage 2 modules.

STEM modules

You'll choose 60 credits from:
Choose from this list of options60

All Stage 2 modules

You'll choose 60 credits from:
Choose from this list of options60

Stage 3 (120 credits)

Stage 3 is focused on the study of specialist topics and issues in STEM. During this stage you’ll 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 your study from Stage 2. All 120 credits at Stage 3 must be from STEM modules.

STEM modules

You'll choose 120 credits from:
Choose from this list of options120

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

Routes through the degree

If you’re interested in focusing on one or two specific subjects as part of your BSc (Honours) Combined STEM degree, we have provided some recommended subject-specific study routes below.

If you want to focus your degree on just one subject, you can choose 180 credits of subject-specific study (as detailed in the example routes given below), combined with 180 credits from a wide range of subjects. 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.

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.


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


Stage 1 (120 credits)
Engineering: origins, methods, context (T192)30
Engineering: frameworks, analysis, production (T193)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Core engineering A (T271)30
Energy and sustainability (T213)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Nanoscale engineering (T366) – planned for October 202130
Structural integrity: designing against failure (T357)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of modules60

Environmental technology

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

Mathematics and statistics

Stage 1 (120 credits)
Discovering mathematics (MU123)30
Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of modules60
Stage 2 (120 credits)
Mathematical methods (MST224)30
Analysing data (M248)30
Plus choose 60 credits from this list of modules60
Stage 3 (120 credits)
Applications of probability (M343)30
Linear statistical modelling (M346)30
Plus choose 60 credits 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 14 September 2020.


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

  • 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 scientific papers and reports
  • working in a group with other students
  • using and producing diagrams and screenshots
  • undertaking practical work
  • finding external/third party material online
  • using specialist software
  • using an online laboratory or design/engineering studio

All qualifications require you to complete learning and assessment activities within a required timescale and according to pre-determined deadlines. You will therefore need to manage your time effectively during your studies and the University will help you to develop this skill throughout your degree. Information on assessment will be available to you at the start of each module.

For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.

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; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you've already completed some university-level study somewhere else, you may be able to count it towards this 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. For more details and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.

Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BSc (Honours) Combined STEM degree. The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third-class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.

You'll 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.


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

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements to study this degree; however, having some basic skills before you begin can help you get the best from your studies. For example, if you choose one of our science, maths or engineering modules you might want to check if your IT and mathematical skills are up to scratch. For some 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.

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 £3,096*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study – is £6,192*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £18,576*.

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2021. 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 £300 (2020/21) 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).

If this qualification also includes science modules, they could include or be 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

In today’s highly competitive job market, our Combined STEM degree will equip you with a wide range of expertise, skills and capabilities much sought after by employers. A Combined STEM degree on your CV will show more than your level of knowledge; employers will know that you’re flexible and adaptable, having studied across subjects. It will also demonstrate that you have gained valuable transferable skills, which could include:

  • self-management
  • team working
  • problem solving
  • communication and literacy
  • numeracy
  • application of information technology

Career relevance

The flexibility of our Combined STEM degree makes it relevant to a wide range of careers and industries – many of which require proficiency in a range of STEM-based skills. 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.

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.

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 and 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.

In the meantime, if you want to do some research around where this qualification might take you, visit the graduate careers website Prospects for hundreds of job ideas.

Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 11/02/2021

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Our prospectuses are your essential guide to studying with us, covering courses, fees and funding, career prospects and more.

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