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Arts and Humanities

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Photo: AKG / WW1 trench / Arts and Humanities / Open University

The arts and humanities encompass a range of subjects that are all concerned with cultural expression and how it has come to take the forms that exist today. Taking one of our qualifications or courses gives you the opportunity to explore human culture and its history, from the ancient civilisations of ancient Greece and Rome through the Renaissance, to the art, history, literature, music and religions of the twenty-first century.

You can build up qualifications on the way to a degree in Humanities or in Arts. You can start by working towards a Certificate of Higher Education in Humanities, and then progress to a Diploma of Higher Education in Humanities. Both these qualifications provide stepping stones to a range of our degrees.

In the process you’ll gain insight into the modern world we live in and how we got to where we are. And you’ll pick up skills in information management and analysis, communication and presentation, and the valuable ability to think both creatively and critically.

Degrees ( More about Degrees
More about Degrees

Undergraduate or bachelors degrees are nationally recognised qualifications consisting of academic study designed to help you gain a thorough understanding of a subject.

For a degree in a named subject, such as business studies or humanities, you'll study mainly in your chosen subject, although you may be able to include some modules from other subjects.

With The Open University you could also study an Open degree where you can combine a range of modules from similar or different subjects to suit either your particular career or personal interests.

You can use a degree to:

  • change careers or progress your current career
  • gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of a subject you are interested in
  • gain professional recognition
  • go onto postgraduate study, such as a diploma or masters degree.

  • English Language and Literature
    Learn about the English language, how it’s used around the world, study a wide range of literary texts, and develop skills highly valued by employers.
  • English Literature
    Explore all aspects of English as an academic subject and acquire skills in critical analysis of different kinds of writing with this degree.
  • History
    Explore a diversity of people, places and periods, including empire, twentieth-century dictators, history of medicine and global heritage, developing key skills for work and beyond.
  • Humanities
    Combine different aspects of the arts – what people thought, made and practised – their meaning and values in the past and today in a highly-valued degree.
  • Language Studies
    Combine the study of two modern languages (from French, German and Spanish) or English language studies with one modern language.
  • Philosophy and Psychological Studies
    Explore concepts, theories, methods and debates in philosophy and psychology, relevant to a broad range of careers, including advertising and marketing, social services, administration and management.
  • Politics, Philosophy and Economics
    An internationally recognised combination of subjects, providing you with skills and understanding particularly relevant to many areas of public service, including civil and diplomatic services and local government.
  • Open degree
    The BA/BSc Open Degree is a qualification that gives you a huge choice in terms of subjects and modules that you study to make up your degree.

Diplomas of Higher Education ( More about Diplomas of Higher Education
More about Diplomas of Higher Education

A Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) is equivalent to two thirds of an honours degree. They are nationally recognised qualifications focusing either on a particular job or profession, or academic study.

DipHEs are designed to increase the professional and technical skills of staff within a profession or extend your knowledge and understanding of a particular subject. A DipHE shows that you are capable of extended study at university level.

You can use a DipHE to:

  • change careers or progress your current career
  • gain technical and professional skills
  • gain a greater knowledge and understanding of a subject you are interested in
  • gain professional recognition
  • achieve a full honours degree through additional study.

The Diploma of Higher Education might be of particular interest to those living and working in Scotland.


Certificates of Higher Education ( More about Certificates of Higher Education
More about Certificates of Higher Education

A Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) is a nationally recognised qualification focusing on either a particular job or profession, or academic study. Equivalent to the first year of a full honours degree, they are the most basic level of qualification that can be gained in higher education and show that you are capable of studying successfully at university level.

You can use a CertHE to:

  • gain confidence to study successfully at university level
  • change careers or progress your current career
  • build on your existing experience and gain new skills
  • gain a broad introduction to a subject you are interested in
  • achieve a foundation degree, DipHE or full honours degree through additional study.

Getting started with an Access module

There are two ways to start a qualification. If you haven’t studied for a long time or need to build your confidence, beginning your studies with an Access module may be the right choice for you.

Choose a qualification to find out more.

Study a module as a standalone course

You can study a single module on its own for personal interest or to improve your career prospects. See the list of all our individual courses in Arts and Humanities.

Postgraduate options

If you already have a degree, you may want to see postgraduate courses and qualifications in Arts and Humanities

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.

Studying outside of UK and Europe?

If you live outside of the UK, Republic of Ireland and Europe, please visit our website for international students.

Your questions

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