Certificate of Higher Education in Social Sciences
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Are you interested in what shapes the lives we lead and the decisions we make? Have you wondered why people continue to smoke when they know the risks, or why governments want to reorganise the NHS? Social scientists build theories and conduct research to understand why and how people, groups and institutions respond to change, exercise power and make decisions. The Certificate of Higher Education in Social Sciences provides a compelling introduction to social science approaches, and a springboard to further study. You’ll gain fascinating insights into everyday life in our communities, personal lives and workplaces, drawing on ideas from sociology, economics, social policy, psychology, geography, criminology, and politics. This certificate course will also develop a range of skills centering on the effective use of analysis and written argument that will be valuable at work and in your personal life. You’ll have your own specialist, subject-based academic support as well as opportunities to join in online communities of other social sciences students for teaching, learning and peer support.
Fees and facts
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Flexible, part-time study through
Certificate of Higher Education
Certificate 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.
There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification.
Career relevance and employability
The Certificate of Higher Education in Social Sciences is equivalent to the first year of a full-time degree. It’s a valuable qualification in its own right, but if you’d like to continue studying, you’ll have a sound foundation on which to build. For example, you could progress to the
Diploma of Higher Education in Combined Social Sciences (W40) and then to the BA (Honours) Combined Social Sciences (Q69), or another of our social sciences degrees.
You’ll find that many skills you acquire by studying this certificate course translate well into the workplace, including:
clarity of written communication
critical thinking and analysis
concise presentation of arguments
understanding the connection between theories and evidence
problem solving; time management
use of critical feedback to improve work
basic numerical skills
Employers in all fields place a high value on people who can select from and analyse a large amount of complex information, and then make logical and concise use of it. This certificate course opens up employment opportunities across the whole range of occupations in the public, private and voluntary sectors. These include national and local government, health and social welfare, police, education, charitable organisations, public relations, media, planning and environmental management, the criminal justice system, market research, law, business and commerce.
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 and look at our OU study and your career subject pages to find out about career opportunities.
Choose a pathway and register
Pathways allow you to specialise or choose particular topics that interest you. You will need to choose a pathway before registering.
Credit for previous study elsewhere
You cannot count credit for study you have already completed elsewhere towards this qualification.
The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:
Knowledge and understanding
Practical and professional skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.
On successful completion of the required modules you can claim the Certificate of Higher Education in Social Sciences and will be entitled to use the letters CertHE (Open) after your name.
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:
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.
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.