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Undergraduate | Postgraduate

Undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications

Our 230 undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications deliver in-demand, in-depth expertise to help organisations face the future with confidence.

If your business could benefit from an injection of new ideas and fresh thinking, join the 2,800 employers who work with the OU to upskill their staff and invigorate their business.

  • Build a bespoke, flexible undergraduate or postgraduate programme to suit your business needs
  • Realise your investment fast: employees apply learning immediately at work
  • Widen participation thanks to accessible - inclusive-by-design - online delivery
  • Eliminate the disruption and travel time associated with in-person university attendance

Undergraduate study

Undergraduate study builds on what your employees learnt at school or college.

The most well-known undergraduate qualification is an Honour’s degree. However, each stage (year) of a degree is actually a qualification in its own right.

This means our undergraduate programmes can be studied as standalone qualifications or used as stepping stones to progress from one to the next.

Types of undergraduate study
Qualification Standalone modules Certificate of Higher Education Diploma of Higher Education Honour’s degree
Good for developing Focused knowledge A firm foundation In-depth insights Comprehensive expertise
Stage / Level N/A

Can be chosen from selection at any degree stage
Stage 1

Level 4 - Equivalent to the first year of a full-time undergraduate degree
Stage 2

Level 5 - Equivalent to the first two years of a full-time undergraduate degree
Stage 3

Level 6 - A full undergraduate degree
Total credits 15 to 60 credits 120 credits 240 credits 360 credits
Typical duration 6 months to one year part-time 2 years part-time 4 years part-time 6 years part-time
Entry requirements for undergraduate study

So that you can upskill your staff, regardless of their prior educational attainment, most of our undergraduate programmes have no formal entry requirements.

  • My employee has no recent/relevant academic experience: We may recommend they take Access Modules to help them develop confidence and study skills before committing to a course
  • My employee has recent/relevant academic experience: In recognition of their prior academic learning, they may be able to transfer credits and start their undergraduate study at a higher level

Postgraduate study

If your employee has an undergraduate degree already, the next step could be postgraduate study.

Postgraduate qualifications allow learners to deepen their understanding of topics they’ve already studied or study a new specialism in their field.

As an employer – developing your leading talent with The Open University - you’ll benefit from the application of cutting-edge, research-informed thinking to your business challenges.

Types of postgraduate study
Qualification Standalone modules Postgraduate Certificate Postgraduate Diploma Master’s degree
Ideal for Focused knowledge Career development Deeper professional insights In-depth professional expertise
Level N/A Level 7 Level 7 Level 7
Total credits 15 to 120 credits 60 credits 120 credits 180 credits
Typical duration 3 months to one year part-time 1 year part-time 2 years part-time 3 years part-time
Entry requirements for postgraduate study

Postgraduate degrees build on undergraduate study, so applicants need to have an Honour’s degree to apply. This will make sure they get the most out of their modules and are confident applying the learning in the workplace.  

Open qualifications

Our Open qualifications (Ba/BSc Open and Ma/MSc Open) are highly flexible courses that can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your sector, organisation or learner.

Offering an unrivalled choice of modules across different disciplines, these programmes can flex as your needs change.

For example, start your employee with sector-specific modules – such as Java programming or health and social care – then progress to strategy and management modules as they advance in their career.

  • Customisable to your business and staff development needs
  • Flexible to meet changing needs for both business and learner
  • Online learning fits around professional and personal commitments

Read more about our Open qualifications

Access Modules

Access Modules let you and your employee test their appetite for distance learning and future study.

They’re ideal for learners who want to improve their confidence and study skills before committing to a degree. Especially people who haven’t studied formally for a while.

They may be free to people who fit specific criteria. Speak to us for more details.

Access Modules:

  • Start in February or October
  • Run for 30 weeks
  • Require 9 hours’ study per week

They introduce learners to our teaching methods and help them develop the discipline for self-directed learning. Maybe that’s why students who complete an access module are more likely to succeed in Stage 1…

Choose from:

  • Arts and languages – studying literature, history, art and English
  • People, work and society – exploring business, psychology, law and more
  • Science, technology and maths – developing knowledge in engineering, design, IT, computing and more

Read more about Access Modules

Making a case for investment

If you’re interested in sponsoring an employee on an undergraduate or postgraduate programme, you may need to write a business case to secure budget and buy-in. To help communicate the benefits to your business:

What type of study is right for my business?

Boost your business with study options that suit your needs:

If you need assistance with finding out how we can help your organisation, then speak to our business team by phone or email.

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