This diploma of higher education has two stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll start Stage 1 with two 30-credit computing and IT modules, followed by a 30-credit mathematics module. You’ll finish Stage 1 with another 30-credit computing and IT module.
- In Stage 2, you’ll study 60 credits in a specific area of computing and IT and complete your diploma with another 60 credits selected from a broader range of modules.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
At Stage 1, you’ll study two introductory computing and IT modules and sample some practical information technologies. You’ll also choose a mathematics module based on your confidence and experience.
At Stage 2, you'll choose an area to focus on and study 60 credits in that area. You’ll also extend your knowledge, understanding and skills in subject areas that suit your needs and interests by choosing a further 60 credits from a range of modules.
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.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The Diploma of Higher Education in Computing and IT uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- 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 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 Design/Engineering Studio).
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
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 of this undergraduate course, we'll award you the Diploma of Higher Education in Computing and IT.
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, you’ll need some basic knowledge of computing, and the ability to read and write to a good standard of English.
In mathematics, your choice of introductory module will depend on your confidence and experience. Visit our MathsChoices website to decide which is right for you.
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
If you work, or would like to work, in information technology, computing, communication technology or related fields, this course is for you. It’s particularly relevant for hardware, software, or systems-based contexts. You’ll gain a sound grasp of these technologies and develop your expertise in particular areas of interest, choosing from options such as software engineering communications, networks or web technologies. You’ll also experience working in a team to tackle a small development task; and gain valuable transferable skills in communication, time management, numeracy, and analysing and solving problems. You’ll be well prepared for further study should you decide to complete a full honours degree.
Finance, government, business, commerce, public services such as health and education, and the voluntary sector are all critically dependent on computing and IT systems. This diploma course is an ideal starting point for a career in any of these sectors, focusing on information technology, computing, communication technology and related fields, or to enhance your existing career.
Research by e-Skills UK has shown that IT and telecommunications now employs 1 in 20 of the UK workforce. It also suggests the digital sector will need nearly 300,000 new recruits by 2020 to meet the demand for skills in this area.
Growth areas and areas of high demand include cyber security, mobile development, cloud computing and the management of Big Data.
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 website are available to see at any time, 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 most careers will require further study, training and/or work experience):
- applications programmer
- information systems manager
- database administrator
- information technology consultant
- multimedia programmer
- software engineer
- systems analyst
- systems designer
- computer support specialist
- applications developer
- web designer
- technical consultant
- network engineer
- technical sales.