Your feedback is important to us
Please take two minutes at the end of your visit to help us improve our information and services.
Skip to content The Open University
    An undergraduate course in Science.

Maths for science

On this page

Do you want to further your study of science but worry that you lack confidence in mathematics? Then this course could be for you. Mathematical techniques are explained, and worked examples are included throughout the course, but the main emphasis is on providing examples for you to try for yourself.

Many of the examples have a scientific flavour and detailed answers are also provided. As you work through the questions you will be able to revise the mathematical skills you already have, as well as learning and practising new ones, and your confidence in handling maths should increase. There are two online interactive assessments which give you instantaneous feedback on your answers; one can be attempted at any point during the course and provides practice for the end-of-module assessment with the same format.

You are advised not to take Maths for Science as your first course.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 See description
£190.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

11 Apr 2015 See description
£190.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in April 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 See description
£450.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

11 Apr 2015 See description
£450.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in April 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 See description
£439.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

11 Apr 2015 See description
£439.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in April 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 See description
£439.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

11 Apr 2015 See description
£439.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in April 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 See description
£439.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

11 Apr 2015 See description
£439.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in April 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 See description
£190.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

11 Apr 2015 See description
£190.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in April 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 See description
£439.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

11 Apr 2015 See description
£439.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in April 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 See description
£450.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

11 Apr 2015 See description
£450.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in April 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 See description
£190.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

11 Apr 2015 See description
£190.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in April 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 See description
£190.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

11 Apr 2015 See description
£190.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in April 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 See description
£190.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

11 Apr 2015 See description
£190.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in April 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 See description
£400.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

11 Apr 2015 See description
£400.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 24/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in April 2015.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

Mathematical techniques are explained, and worked examples are included throughout the course, but the main emphasis is on providing examples for you to try for yourself. Many of the examples have a scientific flavour and detailed answers are also provided. As you work through the questions you will be able to revise the mathematical skills you already have, as well as learning and practising new ones, and your confidence in handling maths should increase. There are two online interactive assessments which give you instantaneous feedback on your answers; one can be attempted at any point during the course and provides practice for the end-of-module assessment with the same format.

The course assumes some knowledge of arithmetic, but other topics, such as addition and multiplication of fractions, are revised; while algebraic techniques, such as rearranging and combining equations, are taught from first principles. You will also have an introduction to scientific notation, logarithms, radians, trigonometry, differentiation, and some scientific uses of statistics and probability.

Entry

Please note: this course is only available for standalone study. You cannot count the credits you gain from the course towards any current OU qualification. It may be possible, however, to count the credits gained towards a qualification if you are already studying with us and have declared your qualification intention before September 2012 – see your qualification description in StudentHome for details.

The course is not meant for absolute beginners in mathematics and is not recommended as your first Open University course. It is only one of a number of Level 1 mathematics courses available to you. 

You are strongly advised to attempt the short diagnostic quiz Is Maths for science the right course for you? to assess whether S151 is appropriate for your needs.

If you intend to study Exploring science (S104), you are advised to do so before studying S151.

The maths in S151 would be excellent preparation for The physical world (S207) or Astronomy (S282). However, it is not an adequate preparation if you intend to go on to Open University physics courses at Level 3 or mathematics courses at Level 2 or 3.

The course assumes that you can add, subtract, multiply and divide positive and negative numbers and understand the use of brackets in numerical calculations. You should know how to express numbers as fractions and decimals and as simple powers (e.g. know that 1000 can be written as 103). You should be able to measure angles in degrees; plot and read data from straight-line graphs; use symbols to represent quantities and substitute numerical values into simple formulae. You will find the course more straightforward if you know how to add and multiply numerical fractions; rearrange very simple algebraic equations and find the gradient of a straight-line graph. But the course does not assume great confidence in these topics and they are all revised. If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

If you would like more information about the range of science short courses available you can visit the science short courses website. This site includes a frequently asked questions section and throughout the year details of special regional events are posted here.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

The assessment for the course is delivered online via the course website, so you will have to spend considerable amounts of time using a personal computer and the internet.

If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in operating a computer or the internet and have any concerns about accessing the types of study materials outlined you are advised to talk to our Student Registration & Enquiry Service about support which can be given to meet your needs.

Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and scientific or diagrammatic materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Study book including explanations, worked examples and questions; online study guide, interactive activities, revision questions, online interactive assessments, website.

You will need

You will need a basic scientific calculator.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Study support

You can contact a team of expert science study advisers through an online discussion forum, and they will be able to help you with academic questions to do with the course and the assessment. There will also be an online discussion forum that you can use to get in touch with other students. 

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

You will be required to submit an end-of-module assessment that must be completed online via the internet.

You have to submit the single piece of work for assessment after 21 weeks. There will be no other opportunity to complete the course.

Future availability

The details given here are for the course that starts in April and October 2014, and April 2015 when it will be available for the last time.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

“Maths for science was a brilliant course, I wanted to do a degree in science but was unsure of my ...”
Read more
“I found this to be a suprisingly enjoyable course which was useful to brush up my rusty maths. The workload ...”
Read more

Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code S151
Credits 10
OU Level 1
SCQF level 7
FHEQ level 4
Course work includes:
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Your questions

Try our frequently asked questions.

Come and meet us at an event near you.

Or contact an adviser by Email or call +44(0) 845 300 60 90 +44(0) 845 366 60 35

Employers' questions

Contact Corporate Enquiries
Visit our website for employers or Email us

Get a prospectus

Download or
order