Thousands of students take social sciences courses with the OU each year. The appeal is broad because the many subjects that come under the social sciences umbrella provide fascinating insights into everyday life in our communities, families and workplaces.
Studying our undergraduate social sciences courses you’ll engage with some of the most compelling and contested questions in contemporary society: How do we communicate with each other? Why do places carry meaning for people? What are our rights as citizens? Why are we so fascinated by crime? What shapes our identity and why?
Our social sciences courses will stimulate your curiosity, encourage you to ask questions and challenge assumptions, and help you understand yourself – and the world we live in – more deeply. You’ll also develop a whole range of different skills that will be valuable in your personal life, and in your job.
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:
Foundation degrees are nationally recognised qualifications focusing either on a particular job or profession; they combine work place learning with academic study. Designed and developed with external partners, you must be working either as a paid employee or as a volunteer in a related work setting.
A foundation degree is equivalent to two thirds of an honours degree. They aim to enhance the professional and technical skills of staff within a profession or those intending to go into that profession.
You can use a foundation degree to:
Most of our foundation degrees are also offered as diplomas of higher education for those living and working in Scotland.
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:
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 Social Sciences.
If you already have a degree, you may want to see postgraduate courses and qualifications in Social Sciences
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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