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Reputation

Martha Lane-Fox speaking at a graduation ceremonyThe Open University is known for flexible, innovative teaching and world-leading research in the United Kingdom and the 170 countries we have students in. We’re renowned for a number of reasons:

  • The quality of our research: 72% of our research is ranked as world leading or internationally excellent according to the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment.
  • Our history: We’ve been teaching students successfully for fifty years.
  • Our mission: We’re committed to making higher education open to all.
  • Our popularity: Over 120,000 people are currently studying with us, almost 10,000 of whom live outside the UK, with 76% balancing work alongside study.
  • Our work with employers: More than 50,000 employers have so far sponsored staff to enrol on Open University courses.
  • Our thriving partnerships: This is especially true of our partnership with the BBC; there are 250 million views of Open University programmes via the BBC every year.
  • Our willingness to innovate: From late-night television broadcasts in the 1970s through to digital downloads today, we’re known for our innovation. Worldwide, there have been 73 million downloads of our offerings on iTunes U to date, and so far OpenLearn, a free learning resources website from the OU, has had 58 million visits since its launch in 2006.
  • Our accreditation: our Business School is among the top business schools, being one of an elite group to have earned triple accreditation from the world's leading management accreditation associations for the MBA programme.
  • Our expertise: the Open University is the driving force behind FutureLearn, the UK’s largest provider of free online courses.
UK employers rate The Open University highly. A survey published by Times Higher Education in November 2015 ranked the best UK universities as chosen by major UK employers. We came in 13th place, with Oxford and Cambridge taking first and second respectively.

The OU is one of only three UK higher education institutions to gain accreditation in the US, recognised by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). MSCHE is a voluntary, non-governmental membership association that defines, maintains and promotes educational excellence across institutions with diverse missions, student populations and resources. We’ve been a member since 2005, and our accreditation was re-affirmed in November 2015.

In 2018, the World University Rankings declared The OU to be in the top 15% of UK Universities for overall student satisfaction. The same year, we won awards for digital innovation and teaching excellence at the Guardian University Awards. These awards recognise our ability to allow students to complete practical work online by providing remote access to laboratories and observatories. In terms of digital innovation, our accessible interactive media player (AIM) delivers audio-visual content alongside additional features that make it more accessible to disabled people – 24,709 students with disabilities studied with us in 2017/18.
 

Having The Open University on my CV has sparked a question in every interview since I started studying, and has always been seen in a really positive light. The reputation for quality helps.

Jake Smith, Open degree

Learn more about The Open University's reputation

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