This certificate has one stage, comprising 90 credits.
The course starts with the big ideas of physics, setting them in contemporary and historical context. You’ll also do some practical science and take part in a team project.
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 17 March 2021.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The Certificate in Physics uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying 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 in a group with other students
- using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
- undertaking practical work or using an online laboratory
- using specialist software.
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. 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; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
On completion of this undergraduate course, we'll award you the Certificate in Physics.
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.
There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification. However, this is an OU level 2 certificate. You should ensure that you have adequate study skills, such as gained from OU level 1 study or its equivalent, before you begin. Having studied physics and maths to A-level standard and/or Physics and space (SM123) would significantly improve your readiness to start this certificate.
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.
Skills for career development
Employees with science qualifications are in demand in the jobs market, particularly if they also have good interpersonal skills and some workplace experience. In addition to specialist knowledge and understanding in the area of physics, this certificate will develop skills in basic scientific literacy and numeracy, locating and interpreting scientific data, and using a computer to find and communicate information. It also offers a sound foundation for progressing to an honours degree in a relevant area.
This certificate is particularly useful if you’re required to teach secondary school physics but your background is in another area of science, or if you’re thinking about training to be a physics teacher.
This certificate is endorsed by the Institute of Physics.
The Institute regards this qualification as providing sufficient content to support the teaching of secondary school physics to A-level; and as providing sufficient content for those seeking to be physics specialists on entry to PGCE studies.
People with science qualifications are well placed to enter both scientific and non-scientific jobs. The logical, reasoned approach needed for science study is relevant to a wide range of financial, business and public sector employment.
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 – including 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.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience):
- science teacher
- research assistant
- laboratory technician
- science communicator
- technical consultant.