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Studying at The Open University

The Open University (OU) is the UK's largest university and the world's first successful distance learning university, established 40 years ago. It is a state funded, not-for-profit university whose mission is to make a difference around the globe.

Schools & Focus

At the heart of the OU's teaching are its faculties, schools and institutes, producing high quality courses underpinned by research of international excellence.

Faculty of Arts

The Faculty of Arts teaches and researches in the following areas: Art History, Classical Studies, English and Creative Writing, Ethics, Heritage Studies, History, Interdisciplinary Studies, Music, Philosophy and Religious Studies.

 The Open University Business School

The Open University Business School is accredited by leading management education associations in the UK, Europe and the USA.

 Faculty of Education and Language Studies

The Faculty of Education and Language Studies (FELS) is made up of four academic areas: the Department of Education, Department of Languages, Centre for Language and Communications and Centre for Childhood, Development and Learning. FELS is also home to the Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology, CREET.

Faculty of Health & Social Care

The Faculty of Health & Social Care has particular expertise in developing work-based learning programmes. It is now the UK's largest provider of health and social care education.

Open University Law School

The OU's law courses and degree have been developed in partnership with the College of Law.

Faculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology

The Faculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology comprises four departments: Communications and Systems; Computing; Design, Development, Environment and Materials; and Mathematics and Statistics.

Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science is home to four departments and one research institute: the departments of Life Sciences, Chemistry and Analytical Sciences, Earth and Environmental Sciences and Physics and Astronomy, and the Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute.

Faculty of Social Sciences

The Faculty of Social Sciences has six departments: Economics, Geography, Politics and International Studies, Psychology, Social Policy and Criminology and Sociology. 

Institute of Educational Technology

The Institute of Educational Technology is at the hub of the OU's continuing research into and development of the latest technologies for learning and teaching. It also runs a number of postgraduate programmes in educational technology.

Knowledge Media Institute

The Knowledge Media Institute is a research and development centre at the leading edge of web, semantic, learning and new media technologies.

Centre for Inclusion and Collaborative Partnerships

The Centre for Inclusion and Collaborative Partnerships (CICP) has responsibility for maintaining and developing: validation partnerships, external collaboration, access to higher education, research and scholarships, and the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) aftercare service.

Interdisciplinary Research Centres

The OU has a number of interdisciplinary research centres of excellence:

Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance

The Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG) conducts and promotes research, dialogue, and debate that will contribute to a greater understanding of the connections between notions of citizenship, processes of identity formation and practices of governance in the contemporary world.

Centre for Research in Computing

The Centre for Research in Computing (CRC) undertakes distinctive, leading edge research in software and processes that underpin knowledge management, communication, learning, and interactions among humans and machines.

Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)

United by a focus on learning through diverse media and challenging established orthodoxies in policy, pedagogy and research methods, the Centre's multidisciplinary research  falls into four key themes: Childhood and Youth Studies, Education Studies, Language and Literacies and Technology Enhanced Learning.


CEPSAR is The Open University’s flagship interdisciplinary research centre that brings together world-class researchers from the two Departments – of Physical Sciences and of Earth, Environment and Ecosystems. Research within CEPSAR focuses on the origins, systems and process with respect to the evolution and chemistry of materials that form the stars and planetary bodies, the processes and natural systems that shape the environment of our habitable world now and in the past, and essential properties of a Solar System that allows life to develop on one of its planets.

OpenSpace Research Centre

OpenSpace was founded in 2009 to promote research into geographical and environmental questions. The Centre's research is motivated by the broad challenges facing the world, including: how can we live together better; how can we inherit the past responsibly; and, how might we bequeath better futures to others?

In addition to these five centres the OU is a partner in two Economic and Social Research Council centres:


The Centre for Social and Economic Research on Innovation in Genomics (with the University of Edinburgh)  


The Centre for Research on Socio-cultural Change (with the University of Manchester). We also host the ESRC-funded Identities Programme.

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Fees & entry requirements

You don’t need any previous qualifications to study for a Bachelors with The Open University.

For more information about fees and ways to pay please check here:

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International partnerships

The OU has been instrumental in assisting many countries set up their own Open Universities, including India’s Indira Gandhi National Open University and Allama Iqbal Open University in Pakistan. The OU has a 20-year partnership with the International Institute of Management LINK in Russia and a partnership with the Arab Open University - which operates in seven countries (Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Oman and Saudi Arabia).

The OU is also involved in a range of health and education development projects
across Asia and Africa. The focus has recently broadened beyond teaching courses
to support projects which aim to train and share resources with education and health professionals, most notably the Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa (TESSA) programme, which was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2010. More than 300,000 teachers, including those with little or no formal training and many of whom work under highly disadvantaged circumstances, have benefited from TESSA resources. hEAT (health Education and Training) is another groundbreaking programme. Modelled on TESSA in collaboration with leading African academics, it is transforming the training and retention of community health workers across sub-Saharan Africa.

In India, the OU’s TESSA programme is instrumental in supporting the Indian Government’s drive to train 1.33 million primary school teachers and provide education for every child by 2015 and in Bangladesh, The Open University has developed English in Action, which aims to benefit 15 million primary and secondary school children by 2015.

The Open University’s OpenLearn website offers free access worldwide to over 600 written, video and audio learning resources, and social networking tools. OpenLearn also provides topical and interactive content, from expert blogs, to videos and games and links to the University’s unique partnership with the BBc in the production of television and radio programmes.

The Open University was one of the first universities to make eBooks available on iTunes U. In 2012 the OU reached over 50 million downloads on iTunes U. The OU occupies the number two spot in the iTunes U top 10 chart with ‘English grammar in context’.

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Research strengths

Within a few years, we will possess the technology to secure all our mobile communications, be able to predict infectious disease outbreaks, and learn what a comet and its tail are made of.

These are just a few of the research activities at The Open University that contribute to our knowledge and our quality of life. The Open University is a global leader in research and innovation. OU research ranks in the top third of UK universities, with 50% of its research deemed ‘internationally excellent’. It is research which influences global policy and enriches lives, particularly in developing countries where it has contributed to improved health. OU research is carried out in a strong research environment which has attracted a funding increase of over 20% since 2007-08.  Research is carried out on campus or through the OU’s innovative online facilities or through one of its Affiliated Research Centres worldwide.

Today’s complex environmental, health and social issues often require new, integrated approaches that take into account social and economic factors as well as scientific and technological factors. The Open University research informs and influences the attitudes and behaviours of the public, industry and policy makers.

The Open University Research Highlights brochure can be found here:

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Over 80% of FTSE 100 companies currently sponsor employees on Open University programmes, demonstrating that our content and method of delivery is clearly meeting the demands of employers. 

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Contact us

We may have already answered your questions in our frequently asked questions.

If not, contact an adviser in our Student Registration & Enquiry Service

Email or call +44(0) 845 300 60 90

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Key facts & figures

  • The Open University is the world’s largest university with over 250,000 students, 20,000 of whom live outside the UK.
  • The Open University is ranked among the top five UK universities for teaching quality.
  • Since 2005 students have consistently voted to put The Open University in the top three UK universities for student satisfaction.
  • The Open University is a global leader in providing open educational materials with over 60 million downloads through iTunes.

On our website

Contact Info

The Open University in Scotland
10 Drumsheugh Gardens

tel: +44(0) 845 300 60 90

Email us View website

Contact Info

The Open University in Scotland
10 Drumsheugh Gardens

tel: +44(0) 845 300 60 90

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