Getting a degree with the Open University

This post is going to cover all I have to tell you about getting a degree with the Open University (OU). One of my first posts was about my education journey and how I embarked on a degree with the OU , I would advise reading it first – https://wordsofa20something.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/my-education-journer/

Why choose the Open University?
I knew I eventually wanted a degree however I honestly thought that I did not have the necessary qualifications to enroll straight away so I was expecting to do a year long, possible two year, course which would enable me to get on to a degree course. However when I went to my first meeting with the OU I was over the moon to find out that this was not the case. The OU have no formal entry requirements, which is fantastic!
A major concern for me was the finance to go to a brick university and I already was aware that due to the Open University being predominantly long distance the fees are considerably less but I also was told about the brilliant grant schemes ran by the OU and I knew that this was the way to go for me.
Finally the OU gave the same extensive range as anywhere to course choice so in October 2010 I began working towards a:

BA/BSc (Honours) Criminology and Psychological Studies

How does it work?
I can only talk from the experience I have had and the degree which I have chosen to take so I will explain as best as I possibly can. For each degree there is a varying route you can take to achieve it, a number of modules have to be completed in order for you to obtain the 360 credits needed however you can do these in which ever order suits your and your circumstances. This also means that you can vary this if your circumstances change the following year. (For example doing 2 modules a year or just 1)
For the degree which I am doing you need 300 compulsory credits and then 60 free choice credits (you can choose any module that the OU offers for this)

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Modules for BA/BSc (Honours) Criminology and Psychological Studies:
1. DD101 – Introducing the Social Sciences (There is another option for this & you can choose between them)
2. DD208 – Crime, Welfare and Society
3. DSE212 – Exploring Psychology
4. DD301 – Crime and Justice
5. DD307 – Social psychology: critical perspectives on self and others
6. 60 point free choice (I am currently completing this and I chose to complete K115 – Foundations for effective practice in youth justice)

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When will I get my degree?
Unlike brick uni’s the OU gives so much more flexibility to those taking a course with them. Through talking on the online forums, Facebook groups and with people I have met at tutorials I have realised that many people studying with the OU are parents, hold full-time jobs and have family commitments etc. and so I have found, from my experience only, that the majority of people are wanting to take as long as possible to obtain their degree and many are doing it solely for personal gratification. This illustrates how diverse and accommodating the OU are.
However for me this is one of the only downsides, starting my degree at 18 I was hoping to find people of a similar age who were using their OU degree for career purposes and were working through it full-time.

The OU gives part-time and full-time study options and I chose to go down the route which will take 4 years to complete. I completed DD101 in my first year, DD208 in my second, and I am now doing DD301 and K115 and starting in October I aim to do DSE212 and DD307 which will mean I complete my degree in 2014.

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Do they offer anything else besides a degree?
Yes!! I cannot stress how fantastic the OU are and they offer a range of undergraduate and postgraduate study. I would recommend checking out their website http://www.open.ac.uk/index.html?x=1 to find out details of other courses.
Positives and Negatives!
If you can not tell already I am a huge fan of the OU and would recommend it to anyone who have the dedication to complete a qualification with minimal contact time. You need to be self-motivated but for me this gives me all the more satisfaction when I receive good marks & hopefully when I have my degree!
Positives –
Accessibility
No formal entry qualifications
Flexibility
Support/Advice (via tutorials, online, e-mail, forums, learner support etc)
Price (and the grants available!)
Options (I am going on to complete a masters)
Knowledge
Choice
Study at your own pace
People I have met online
Helping me on my way to achieve my educational aspirations

Negatives –
Not as easy to find other students who share the same interest
Dependent on the course & numbers in the area tutorials can often be far away from where you are located
Not having other students to share ideas with (in the way you would at a brick uni)
Must be self-motivated
Easy to get behind

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I would love to hear from anyone else who has done or is planning on studying with the Open University!
Sophie 🙂

 

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5 thoughts on “Getting a degree with the Open University

  1. I definitely agree with all your positives and negatives! My main negative for studying with the OU is that I feel quite cut off from other people, that’s entirely my fault because
    – I’m a tad anti-social
    – I moved away from home and all my old friends right before I started my degree
    – I’m so busy with working full time and studying that I don’t have time to go out and do things that would lead to meeting people

    That’s one of the things I love about blogging. A lot of the time it’s like having a conversation without having the stress of meeting new people!

    P.S. Sorry for the long babbly comment!

    1. I feel exactly the same! I’m up in Newcastle and there doesn’t seem to be many other OU’ers localish so that doesn’t help. Definatley and finding other people who blog about OU is a total bonus for me! X

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