This diploma has two stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- Stage 1 consists of two compulsory modules. The first will introduce you to the study of the arts and humanities, and the second to the social sciences.
- Next, in Stage 2, the two compulsory modules will introduce you to the subjects of history and politics.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
You’ll begin with a stimulating introduction to the arts and humanities, studying diverse topics from multiple cultures and historical periods. You will then progress to studying a range of social science subjects (criminology, economics, environmental studies, geography, international studies, politics, social policy and sociology) and learning the tools of social sciences.
Stage 2 includes two compulsory modules. In your politics module you will explore how political ideas, institutions and processes help govern our world. In your history module you will learn about the British Isles from 1789 to 1914, a period of rapid transformation and when it was the workshop of the world.
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 21 January 2019.
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 History and Politics 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.
- working with specialist reading material such as works of art and musical manuscripts
- working in a group with other students
- undertaking practical work
- using specialist software (for example the Sibelius music writing package 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
If you’ve already completed some study at another university, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. Just tell us what you studied, where and when, and we’ll compare this against the learning outcomes for your chosen course.
For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
On completion of this undergraduate course, we'll award you the Diploma of Higher Education in History and Politics.
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 for this qualification.
At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.
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
Skills for career development
Studying history and politics provides you with an adaptable set of skills that can lead in many directions and are greatly valued by employers. Beyond subject knowledge these include critical thinking, analysis, synthesis and communication. You’ll sharpen your IT, writing, and independent thinking and information auditing skills, as well as develop an ability to assimilate and evaluate relevant information when constructing an argument to a variety of audiences. These are key skills in complex organisations and independent endeavours, and are highly sought after in the world beyond study – whether you’re already working, volunteering, starting, changing or looking to progress your career.
Studying history and politics requires and fosters an understanding of human activities in diverse cultural and political environments and historical contexts. The breadth of study and range of ideas and objects analysed, combined with clear thinking and communication, make the Diploma of Higher Education in History and Politics relevant to a wide range of careers, including:
- public administration, central and local government, the civil and diplomatic service, art and museum institutions, and social services
- advertising, journalism, publishing, creative industries and public relations
- legal work
- business, banking and retail
- human resources
- charities and campaigning.
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 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. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your diploma of higher education:
- arts administrator
- event organiser
- journalist publisher
- public relations manager
- media researcher
- civil servant
- marketing manager