Degrees and courses for international students
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Structure

In order to achieve your chosen qualification, you’ll be required to accumulate a certain number of study ‘credits.’

Credits are gained by successfully completing a series of modules. Some modules offer more credits than others. Some modules are compulsory, while others are optional.

Both undergraduate and postgraduate courses are comprised of study credits as follows:

Undergraduate

Qualification Number of study credits required
Certificate 120 credits
Diploma 240 credits
Degree without honours 300 credits
Degree with honours 360 credits

To register for your undergraduate course, you’ll need to select a 'Pathway' for the course you want to study.

‘Pathways’ are particular combinations of modules that enable you to complete your qualification, and they allow you to specialise in particular subjects.

Modules are set at different 'levels', which indicate a module’s relative complexity and/or depth of learning. Most modules are worth either 30 or 60 credits and are set at Levels 1, 2 and 3, which roughly equate to studying in the first, second and third year at a campus-based university respectively.

Typically, for a typical three-stage honours degree, the following would be studied:

  • 120 credits at Stage 1, taking modules worth 30 or 60 credits at Level 1,
  • 120 credits at Stage 2, taking modules worth 30 or 60 credits at Level 2, and
  • 120 credits at Stage 3, taking modules worth 30 or 60 credits at Level 3.

In this example, each stage could consist of two 60-credit modules or one 60-credit module and two 30-credit modules, or four 30-credit modules.

Postgraduate

Qualification Number of study credits required
Certificate 60 credits
Diploma 120 credits
Masters degree 180 credits

To register for your chosen postgraduate course, you’ll need to select one of the modules shown in your course of interest.

Modules are set at different 'levels', which indicate a module’s relative complexity and/or depth of learning. Most modules are worth either 30 or 60 credits and are set at different levels.  For postgraduate qualifications, most modules will be at postgraduate level, although a small number may be at level 3, which is the equivalent of the final year of a full-time honours degree.

I’d started a degree at a campus-based university when I was younger and The Open University awarded me 120 credits for that, so I only needed another 240 for a Business Studies degree.

Matthew Groves, Business Studies
Previous higher education qualifications can sometimes be counted towards an Open University qualification, thus reducing the number of modules you need to complete.
We call this ‘credit transfer’.  Find out more at credit transfer.
 

Learn more about qualification structure

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