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    An undergraduate qualification.

BA/BSc Open degree

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Over 40 per cent of OU students who graduate do so with an Open degree. It’s a statistic we’re proud of – the BA/BSc Open is one of the most flexible undergraduate programmes in the UK, and exemplifies our distinctive and often life-changing approach to learning more than any other qualification. With this degree you have the freedom and opportunity to achieve a uniquely tailored qualification. You can study any subjects you like, in any combination, enabling you to:

  • tailor your degree around your interests and career
  • enjoy the intellectual challenge of a wide variety of disciplines
  • let your mind take you where it leads
  • try something completely new
  • focus on one main subject, but have the freedom to mix in modules from other areas
  • use successfully completed credit from previous university-level studies elsewhere
  • change direction as your interests develop and your horizons expand.

Highly regarded by employers for its breadth and valued by students for its flexibility, an Open degree equips you with a wide range of expertise, skills and capabilities that are much sought after in today’s highly competitive job market. It’s also fascinating, mind broadening and completely relevant – because it’s unique to you.

Fees and facts

Where will you be resident whilst you study?

If your country isn’t shown here, please visit our website for international students.

Fee: Choose country above to see fee and ways to pay.
Study method: Flexible, part-time study through distance learning.
Type of qualification: Degree

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.
Code: QD

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements to study this degree.

Career relevance and employability

The flexibility of the Open degree makes them relevant to a wide range of careers and industries. Many graduates choose to enter careers that are not directly related to the subject(s) they studied and this is reflected in the fact that around 70 per cent of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any discipline. What makes Open degree students stand out is the rich view of the world they develop, the perspectives they encounter and the range of skills they develop from having studied a diverse range of subjects.

Whatever your choice of modules, the Open degree will help you develop key transferable skills including:

  • adaptability and flexibility
  • problem solving
  • communication and literacy
  • numeracy
  • information technology (IT)
  • analysis and reporting
  • critical analysis.

There’s 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.

Register your interest

For academic year 2014/15, registration opens on 30/04/2014. If you would like to be kept updated, you can register your interest now.

Credit for previous study elsewhere

If you have already completed some successful study at higher education level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible, and before you register for this qualification.  

If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete this qualification. This may also mean that the next start date and the maximum time limit for this qualification are different to those shown above.

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

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.

Classification of your degree

On successful completion of 360 credits you will be awarded either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science honours degree.

Whether you qualify for a BA (Hons) Open degree or a BSc (Hons) Open degree will be determined by the number of credits you have from modules suitable for a BA or for a BSc. For a BA, at least 180 credits must come from modules suitable for a BA (that is with module codes starting with A, B, D, E, K, L, M, U or W). For a BSc, at least 180 credits must come from modules suitable for a BSc (that is, with module codes starting with B, D, E, K, M, S, T, U or W). Of these 180 credits, at least 120 must be at Level 2 or above, and at least 60 of these must be at Level 3.

Your honours degree will be classified either as first-class honours, upper second-class honours, lower second-class honours or third-class honours. The class is determined by the grades you achieve from OU modules above Level 1.

At the end of your studies you will receive a detailed record of modules you have studied and the results. You will have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

Open degree without honours

You may, if you wish, complete a 300-credit Open degree without honours: it takes less time and costs less than an Open degree with honours. However, bear in mind that for entry onto postgraduate-level modules and for many graduate career paths you will need an honours degree.

Of these 300 credits 120 will be at Level 1, 120 will be at Level 2 and 60 will be at Level 3. You must also include at least 120 credits that are unique to your Open degree and have not already been counted in any other OU qualification awarded to you.

Whether or not you qualify for a BA Open degree or a BSc Open degree will be determined by the number of credits you have from modules suitable for a BA or for a BSc.


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.

If you have a disability

Choosing the qualification that’s right for you is very important. Depending on your disability, long-term health condition, mental health disability or specific learning difficulty, you may need to consider any challenges posed by:

  • the learning objectives: for example, to gain an honours degree in a language you must be physically able to speak the language
  • how the modules are taught: for example, some of our science qualifications require that you complete laboratory work
  • any work-based competency requirements.

Choosing the right qualification can be a complex mix of the subject requirements and the support you may need. To help you assess whether the qualification you are interested in will work for you, further advice is available from:

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study for this qualification. For most OU qualifications a Microsoft Windows (new since 2007), Apple Mac (OS X 10.6 or later) or Linux computer should be adequate. However, some qualifications require more specific IT equipment, in which case you will need additional software to use an Apple Mac or Linux computer. A detailed technical specification for your modules will be made available when you register. Please note, technical specifications do change over time to match computer developments and the way we teach.

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.

Your questions

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