How did the Universe begin? What is light, and why is the sky blue? What is a black hole and how could I see one? What is special about silicon chips or superconductors? How do body scanners, solar cells and lasers work? If you have an enquiring mind, studying physics and astronomy will help you find the answers.
Physics explores the fundamental laws that underlie the whole of science, and applies these laws to a vast range of situations, from atoms to living beings to galaxies. Physics has shaped modern technology and it will shape our future. Many of the breakthroughs needed to deal with global warming will be made by physicists.
Studying physics and astronomy develops skills that are highly-sought by employers. These include the ability to state and solve problems, to think clearly and logically and to communicate complex ideas. The Confederation of British Industry is appealing for many more physics graduates, so an OU qualification in physics can give you a real edge in your career. Research and development, engineering, information technology, financial services, education and the armed forces are just some of the sectors where a background in physics and astronomy is valued very highly.
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:
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:
The Diploma of Higher Education might be of particular interest to those living and working in Scotland.
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:
OU Certificates are specially designed Open University qualifications focusing either on a particular job or profession, or academic study. For example The Open University's Certificate in Supporting Learning in Primary Schools is designed for teaching assistants and other kinds of classroom support staff, including volunteers. Not all OU Certificates are entry level qualifications.
You can use an OU Certificate to:
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.
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 Physics and Astronomy.
If you already have a degree, you may want to see postgraduate courses and qualifications in Science.
If you live outside of the UK, Republic of Ireland and Europe, please visit our website for international students.
Try our frequently asked questions.
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