Degrees and courses for international students
You are viewing information for England.  Change country or region.
A mathematics student using a calculator and hand-writing mathematics

Certificate of Higher Education in Mathematical Sciences

This certificate provides the basic skills you need for further study in mathematics and statistics, and is ideal if you need some mathematics to underpin your studies in other areas. You’ll be introduced to pure mathematics, applied mathematics and statistics; using mathematical software; working with abstract ideas; and modelling real-world problems using mathematics.

Key features of the course

  • Introduces essential topics in pure mathematics, applied mathematics and statistics
  • Builds your confidence working with abstract ideas; modelling real-world problems and using relevant software
  • Offers a choice of start points to suit your level of mathematical knowledge
  • Builds a solid foundation on which to continue on to a higher qualification

Course Summary

Certificate

Certificate

  • Widely recognised qualification.
  • Equivalent to the first third of an honours degree.
  • Study for interest or career development.
  • Shows that you can study successfully at university level.
  • Count it towards further qualifications such as a foundation degree, DipHE or honours degree.
Course code
T14
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.
120
How long it takes
Part time – 2–3 years
Full time – 1 year
Time limit – 7 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This certificate of higher education has one stage, comprising 120 credits.

  • You’ll normally start Stage 1 with a 30-credit introductory module followed by three further 30-credit modules in pure and applied mathematics and statistics.

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)

Mathematics is a linear subject – it’s important to have a good understanding of the basics before moving on to more advanced topics. You’ll normally begin with an introduction to key mathematical concepts, ideal if you haven’t studied mathematics to an advanced level; or haven’t studied for some time and need to refresh your skills and knowledge. If you’re confident studying mathematics at university level, you can skip the first module and, instead, choose from a selection of other modules to complete Stage 1. For advice on where to start, see Entry requirements.

Stage 1 is the same in many of our mathematics and statistics qualifications. So, you could change qualification at this point if you want to.


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 2020.


Accessibility

We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The Certificate of Higher Education in Mathematical Sciences uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:

  • Printed material.
  • Online material, including websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities.
  • Using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques.
  • Using and producing diagrams and screenshots.
  • Small amounts of practical work and other activities, such as group work with other students on some modules, writing short reports or preparing presentations.
  • Using specialist software.

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

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.


On completion

On completion of this undergraduate course, we'll award you the Certificate of Higher Education in Mathematical Sciences.

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 is no formal pre-requisite study, but you must have the required mathematical skills.

You have a choice of starting module depending on your current skill level: Discovering mathematics (MU123) or Essential mathematics 1 (MST124). You can find out which module is your best starting point here.

You can also check you’re ready for MU123 or MST124, and the topics they cover, at the link above.

Talk to an advisor if you’re not sure you’re ready.

How much time do I need?

This depends on your level of prior knowledge of mathematics and, in general, it is recommend that you build up your pace of study slowly to ensure you gain a good understanding of the more basic topics. How many credits you can complete in a year will depend on your study situation, and this qualification is designed to enable you to vary your study intensity from year to year.

  • Most of our students study part time, completing normally 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 £6,192*.
  • .

*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 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

This certificate course provides skills and knowledge required for jobs in a wide range of fields. It will particularly enhance the following transferable and highly valued skills:

  • communicating mathematical ideas clearly and succinctly
  • explaining mathematical ideas to others
  • understanding complex mathematical texts
  • working with abstract concepts
  • thinking logically
  • expressing problems in mathematical language
  • constructing logical arguments
  • finding solutions to problems
  • interpreting mathematical results in real-world terms
  • using relevant professional software.

Career relevance

Mathematical knowledge is much sought after by a wide variety of employers in fields such as education, engineering, business, finance, and accountancy.

Career areas directly related to mathematics include:

  • banking
  • bioinformatics
  • economics
  • insurance
  • investments
  • market research
  • pensions
  • quantitative analysis/risk analysis
  • retail
  • stockbroking/trading
  • tax.

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):

  • actuary
  • aeronautical engineer
  • auditor
  • chartered accountant
  • data scientist
  • financial risk analyst
  • investment analyst
  • lecturer
  • management consultant
  • meteorologist
  • operational researcher
  • pensions administrator
  • secondary school teacher
  • statistician
  • systems developer.

Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 10/12/2020

Download a prospectus

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

Download prospectus