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Thinking of studying for an undergraduate degree starting February 2015?

Register by 8 January 2015 February start degrees

Credit Transfer

Frequently asked questions on credit transfer

First of all what are credits?

Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a study programme or qualification – one credit represents about 10 hours of study. At the OU, you’ll be 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 the full 60 credits, never fewer than this. This usually represents 600 hours of study over 9 months, which is equivalent to about 16 hours per week.

Academic credit in Europe and ECTS points?

Using OU credit in Europe -If you are looking to use your OU credit in Europe, you may be interested to know of the existence of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). This is the system commonly used in the EU for measuring study workload. Since the systems don't compare like with like, and ECTS doesn't take account of academic level, direct comparisons are difficult to make. However, broadly, at any given level, 60 OU credits would be worth 30 ECTS points, and 30 OU credits would be worth 15 ECTS points.

Using ECTS points towards OU study - If you have completed study elsewhere, that is recorded in ECTS points, and you want to count this towards your OU qualification, please contact the Credit Transfer Centre for advice

The tables below shows the typical number of credits required at each level to achieve an OU qualification. There are some exceptions to these general rules, so please check the exact rules for the qualification you are interested in.

Undergraduate qualifications

Qualification Credits  required at Level 1 Credits  required at Level 2 Credits  required at Level 3 Total
OU Certificate 60 - - 60
Certificate of higher education 120  - - 120
OU Diploma 120 - - 120
Foundation degree or diploma of higher education 120 120  - 240
BA or BSc Degree without honours 120 120 60 300
BA or BSc Degree with honours 120 120 120 360

Postgraduate qualifications

Qualification Credits required at Postgraduate level Total
Postgraduate certificate 60 60
Postgraduate diploma 120 120
Masters 180 180

How do I transfer credit from elsewhere?

If you have completed some previous higher-education study at another institution, you may be able to count it towards your OU qualification. We enable you to do this by awarding you a certain amount of ‘transferred credit’. By transferring credit gained from previous study, you can reduce the amount you need from OU study to achieve your qualification. If want to transfer credit, we recommend you investigate the option as soon as possible, as transferred credit may affect your choice of modules.

Credit transfer allows you to use all or part of your previous study in place of OU modules. This will reduce the overall number of OU modules that you have to complete and will bring down the cost of your qualification. For example, some 360-credit honours degrees allow you to transfer up to 240 credits, which means that you would only need to complete a further 120 credits to finish your qualification.

If you are going to study an undergraduate qualification you must apply for the credit transfer and receive the outcome of this before you register for your qualification.

How does it work?

If you’ve successfully completed:

All awards of credit transfer are subject to an individual assessment process, we cannot confirm whether or not you can transfer credit before your application has been considered.

The amount of credit you can transfer will depend on what you have studied previously and what you intend to study in the future. If you want to study the same subject as previously, you are likely to be able to transfer more credit, than if you want to switch subjects.

If you make a successful application for transferred credit it may affect your choice of modules, so you are advised to investigate this option as soon as possible and before you register on a module.  Further information is available on the Credit Transfer website.

Please note that credit transfer arrangements may differ for international students, so you may wish to contact the Credit Transfer Centre for further information. Contact details are on the Credit Transfer website.

What evidence (in addition to a completed application form) do I need to provide for my overseas qualification?

We require an original academic transcript or diploma supplement to support your application. The transcript or diploma supplement should state the title of the qualification you were studying towards, list all of the modules or subjects you studied in each year and the marks or grades you achieved for each module including a key to the grades. If you have completed your study in Europe, please provide official confirmation of the ECTS credit rating for each module.

You may also need to provide syllabus information depending on which OU qualification you wish to transfer credit towards.

Any evidence in a language other than English must be accompanied by a formal translation of the documents. We cannot accept documents that you have translated yourself. If you only partly completed your qualification we will need to see some additional evidence of your study.

What evidence do I need to provide for a part-finished overseas qualification?

We require an original academic transcript or diploma supplement to support your application. The transcript or diploma supplement should state the title of the qualification you were studying towards, list all the modules or subjects you studied in each year and the marks or grades you achieved for each module, including a key to the grades.

If you have studied in Europe, please provide official confirmation of the ECTS credit rating for each module. If your previous study pre-dates ECTS credit ratings, the transcript or diploma supplement should clearly indicate the proportion of the qualification for which you successfully completed the assessment. To help us identify the proportion of study you have successfully completed we may need you to provide confirmation from your previous institution of the overall requirements of the qualification.

The transcript or diploma supplement should be stamped or signed by the registry of your previous institution and be on original letter-headed paper. You may also need to provide syllabus information. If you do not have this information you should contact your previous institution to request it.

Any evidence in a language other than English must be accompanied by a formal translation of the documents. We cannot accept documents that you have translated yourself.

When should I apply for credit transfer?

You need to apply for credit transfer and received the outcome of your application, prior to registering on your first module and qualification.

What happens after I’ve sent my application for credit transfer?

We will send you an email when we receive your application for credit transfer. The application process normally takes around four weeks. Our busiest time is between
July and November. You should expect your application to take at least eight weeks
during this period.

Can I transfer credit to a postgraduate qualification?

Yes but only on study that is less than 16 years old unless you are a continuing student who studied in or before the 2011/12 academic year.

What do I do next?

Further information is available on the Credit Transfer website.