Degrees and courses for international students
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Length of study

Learning with The Open University is designed to be flexible. We want you to be able to fit your studies around existing commitments, such as family and work. This is why it can take a while to complete a course of study with The Open University.

To give you an idea of how long it might take you to complete your studies, we’ve prepared the tables below as a guide.

The tables assume that you’ll study for approximately 18 hours weekly for a part-time course, and 36 hours weekly for a full-time course.

Remember, you can vary the amount of time spent studying from year to year, or even take a break for a while, if you so wish.

Please note the tables are estimates. In most cases, you can vary the number of study credits taken per year and thus the time taken to complete the course.

Undergraduate courses

Qualification Credits required Time required to complete
Certificate of Higher Education 120 2 years of part-time study or 1 year of full-time study 
Diploma of Higher Education 240 4 years of part-time study or 2 years of full-time study 
Degree with honours 360 6 years of part-time study or 3–4 years of full-time study

Postgraduate courses

Qualification Credits required Time required to complete
Postgraduate certificate 60 1 year of part-time study or 6 months of full-time study 
Postgraduate diploma 120 2 years of part-time study or 1 year of full-time study 
Masters degree 180 3–4 years of part-time study or 2–3 years of full-time study 

One thing’s for sure: however long your studies take, graduation day and beyond will be well worth the wait. And your Open University qualification will be your springboard to the rest of your life.


I went to university when I was 18, and I left after six months and followed a different life path. And having gone back at the age of 41 or 42… The Open University was just perfect for me at that stage and I’m so happy to have finally completed my university education at the age of 46!

Catherine Hennessy, BSc (Honours) International Studies

I may be graduating six years after all my friends but I have come out with less debt, more work understanding but most of all an enjoyable experience – where else can you read course books in the bath, watch lectures on the laptop in your pyjamas, and write assignments with tea and chocolate cake!

Claire Proctor, Open Degree