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    A postgraduate qualification .

Postgraduate Certificate in Computing

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Made up of
60 credits


Please note that this qualification is not open to new students. This certificate is only available until 31 December 2015 and in order to claim it you must have completed the required 60 credits by this time. If you have any questions about your eligibility for this certificate please contact the Qualifications and Ceremonies Centre on +44 (0)1908 653003 or by email.

If you are a new student please see our Postgraduate Certificate in Computing (K22).

Information technology is the key source of competitiveness for all sectors: it can open new markets, increase performance and drive productivity. Increasingly, professionals in the industry are expected to have a broad range of information technology and business skills to cope with the challenges posed by the latest trends in the software industry, such as remote and collaborative working, standardisation of technologies, and outsourcing. We offer a range of postgraduate and post-experience modules with case-study-driven learning, which provide extensible knowledge that can be applied to lead technological and organisational change in the business environment.

The postgraduate certificate course is a valuable qualification in itself or it can be the first qualification in a programme of professional development leading to a postgraduate diploma and an MSc degree. You can choose any four 15-credit modules from across the range of postgraduate computing topics. Later options in some of the diplomas will enable you to broaden your knowledge by choosing business or technology modules.

All the modules for the certificate are available with electronic submission and marking of assignments and so can be studied anywhere in the world.

If you would like more information about the postgraduate ICT and computing programme, you can visit our website. This site includes additional information about the modules and qualifications, recommended routes through the programme and sample study materials.

Planning your studies

There are no entry requirements for the certificate modules, but you must be suitably prepared for study at professional level. You are expected to have studied to at least HNC/HND level, or to have had equivalent practical experience. Individual module descriptions will tell you more about their requirements.

You can take your modules in any order. It is often helpful to begin with a module that is related to your current area of work or to your own interests or experience, so that you can build on your strengths while getting used to Open University supported open learning. We recommend that you start with only one module in the first six-month study period. After this you will have a clearer understanding of the demands that study of the certificate will make on you, and can decide whether you wish to take more than one module at a time.

We are currently reviewing our postgraduate computing programme which will include making changes to the selection of modules available. If there are specific modules that you are keen to study we recommend that you take these as early as possible in your study programme.

Your study of the certificate must be completed within four years from the start of the first module to sitting the examination of the last. We expect that most students will be able to complete the certificate more quickly than this.

If you intend proceeding to an OU postgraduate diploma after completing this postgraduate certificate course, you should ensure that the modules you choose for this certificate are appropriate for any postgraduate diploma you are considering.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 20 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

Career relevance and employability

Nearly 20,000 students from over 7000 organisations have experienced for themselves how modules from our programme can improve their personal effectiveness and increase the performance and competitiveness of their employers.

The modules are designed for practising professionals and managers in the fields of computing, manufacturing, and engineering, and related services, who need to update or extend their skills and knowledge in specific areas, allowing them to gain recognised qualifications to develop their careers.

BCS - The Chartered Institute for IT offers exemption from some of its membership requirements for holders of an appropriate MSc in computing from The Open University. For more details view or download our Recognition leaflet 3.7 Computing. BCS regulations are on their website.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.


For this postgraduate certificate you require:

60 credits from the following postgraduate optional modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Analysis and design of enterprise systems: an object-oriented approach (M885)

This introduction to the object-oriented approach to software, its principles, benefits, techniques and practical applications, gives you practical skills in applying object-oriented analysis and design.

See full description.

15 Nov 2014 FINAL
Databases in enterprise systems (M888)

Describes how relational databases can be used to maintain persistent data in software systems.

See full description.

15 May 2014
Managing the software enterprise (M882)

Explore the acquisition, management and development of complex software systems for organisations, from procurement and maintenance to managing resources, change, quality and risk.

See full description.

15 May 2014 FINAL
Project management (M865)

This project management module is particularly applicable to technological fields, exploring project initiation, risk, estimating and contracts, planning, human factors, project execution and standard methods.

See full description.

15 May 2014 FINAL
Relational database systems (M876)

Get to grips with database technology: principles, benefits, techniques and practical applications. Learn about relational concepts and SQL – and produce your own simple relational database.

See full description.

15 Nov 2014 FINAL
Software requirements for business systems (M883)

Investigate requirements engineering – a disciplined approach to eliciting, analysing, communicating and agreeing requirements as the essential first step in the development of software.

See full description.

15 Nov 2014 FINAL
Web systems integration (M887)

Explore technologies vital for the development of internet-based applications in the context of systems integration – a new development paradigm revolutionising software production.

See full description.

15 May 2014 FINAL

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules T821, T822, T823, M873, M874, M877, M878, M879, M880, M881, M886, M889, M891

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills

Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.

Credit for previous study elsewhere

If you have already completed some successful study at postgraduate level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this Open University qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible as it may affect your choice of OU modules. If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete your qualification with us.

Visit our Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.

On completion

On successfully completion of the required modules you can be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Computing entitling you to use the letters PG Cert Comp (Open) after your name. If you obtain 30 credits or more at distinction grade in your modules you will qualify for the award of the certificate with Distinction.

You may then continue your studies and add a further 60 credits to your postgraduate certificate to gain our Postgraduate Diploma in Computing for Commerce and Industry (C02), Postgraduate Diploma in Software Development (D69), or Postgraduate Diploma in Management of Software Projects (E19) (please note that E19 will be withdrawn at the end of December 2014).


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.

How to register

If you want to study for this qualification, read the description and check you meet any specific requirements (for example, some of our qualifications, require you to be working in a particular environment, or be sponsored by your employer). Then select the module you wish to study first and ensure it is suitable for you before following the registration procedure for that module. During the registration procedure you will be asked to declare which qualification you are studying towards.

See a full list of modules available for this qualification