Degrees and courses for international students
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Previous study

Open University qualifications are gained by receiving study ‘credits’. You receive credits upon successful completion of a module.

These credits correlate to the workload required for the successful completion of your studies; one credit represents approximately 10 hours of study.

Example: if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you’ll be awarded sixty credits. Typically, this represents 600 hours of study over nine months, which is equivalent to approximately 16–18 hours per week.

Transferred credit

If you’ve completed any higher education studies elsewhere, your previous study may count towards your Open University qualification. We make this possible by awarding you a certain amount of ‘transferred credit’.

It’s not only study completed at a university that can be considered; you can transfer study from a wide range of professional qualifications as well.

Apply for credit transfer before you register with us, at least four weeks before the registration closing date. We’ll need to know what you studied, where and when – and you’ll need to provide original evidence of your previous study.

We’ll compare your previous study against the learning outcomes for your chosen qualification and inform you of any credit transfer we can give.

For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.

European Credit Transfer System

If you’re keen to use your Open University credit in Europe, you may be interested to know of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). This is the system commonly used in the European Union for measuring study workload. Since the systems don't compare like with like – and ECTS takes no account of academic level – direct comparisons are difficult to make.

However, broadly speaking, at any given level, 60 Open University credits would be worth 30 ECTS points, and 30 Open University credits would be worth 15 ECTS points.

If you’ve completed study elsewhere which is recorded in ECTS points, and you’d like to count this towards your Open University qualification, please contact us in advance of registration for advice.

The following tables show the typical number of credits required at each level to achieve an Open University qualification. There are some exceptions to these general rules, so, again, please check the exact rules for the qualification in which you’re interested in advance.

Undergraduate qualifications

Qualification Credits
required at
OU level 1
required at
OU level 2
required at
OU level 3
OU Certificate 60–120 (depending on the certificate, may include modules at OU levels 1, 2 or 3) 60–120
Certificate of Higher Education 120 120
Foundation Degree or Diploma of Higher Education 120 120 240
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


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, OU graduate

Learn about how to apply.