Certificate of Higher Education Open
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If you’re keen to try university study and want to keep your options open, this certificate course is ideal. It’s part of our unique Open qualifications programme – one of the most flexible in the UK – which enables you to mix and match any subjects you like, building a study profile to suit your particular needs and interests. The Certificate of Higher Education Open (Open CertHE) is the first stage of the programme, and is a nationally recognised award in its own right. You can study the Certificate and stop there, or use it as a stepping stone towards a diploma or degree. The huge choice of modules means you can keep an open mind throughout – whether you decide to follow your enthusiasms, stretch yourself with a subject you’ve never considered before, or focus on something useful for your career (or all three!). No matter where your future lies, the Certificate is an excellent place to begin. In addition to a valuable qualification, you’ll gain essential study skills and a thorough grounding in your chosen subject(s), By the end of your studies, you’ll be a confident learner, ready to take on new challenges – intellectual and otherwise.
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 flexibility of our Open qualifications makes them relevant to a wide range of careers and industries – many of which do not require qualifications to be subject-specific. What makes Open qualification students stand out is the rich view of the world they develop, the diversity of perspectives they encounter and the breadth of skills they bring to the workplace from having experienced a variety of disciplines.
Whatever your choice of modules, the Open CertHE will help you develop key transferable skills including:
adaptability and flexibility
communication and literacy
information technology (IT).
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.
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
For this qualification, we do not allow you to count credit for study you have already done elsewhere.
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 will be awarded a Certificate of Higher Education Open and will be entitled to use the letters Cert HE 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.