The Open University


Student satisfaction 4.20
Research assessment 2.91
Research intensity 0.41
Entry standards –––
Student–staff ratio 30.6
Academic services spend 416
Facilities spend 13
Good honours 57.4%
Graduate prospects –––
Degree completion –––
  • What these scores mean The Open University does not appear in the League Table because its students are distant learners and so data are mostly not available.


  • The university was given its Royal Charter in 1969.
  • Since then, it has become the UK's largest university, and the only UK university dedicated to distance learning.
  • More than two million people have studied with the OU since its opening. Today more than 30% of all part-time undergraduate students in the UK study with the OU.

Location and Transport

  • OU students study in their own homes and workplaces, taking courses whose materials and methods are specifically designed for this type of distance learning.
  • All have tutors, and most also have the opportunity to meet tutors and other students at local tutorials.
  • The university's methods allow for study anywhere in the UK and in many other parts of the world.

Entry Requirements

  • The Open University was established to be 'open', with no entry requirements.
  • Nearly all of its courses continue to have no entry requirements.
  • Some courses aimed at postgraduates or people who are working in specific jobs do have entry requirements.
  • For further information on entry to Open University courses, visit our website.

Course Flexibility

  • The Open University offers more flexibility than most other universities. Although the start and end dates of most courses are fixed (and there are recommended study timetables and fixed days for tutorials), it is for the student to decide when and where they study day-to-day. Some study in the evenings; others work shifts that allow them to work during the day, for example.
  • Flexibility also extends to allowing students to take breaks in study between courses on most programmes – to allow them to stop studying after the end of a particular course if they wish and resume at a later date.
  • While the university offers a comprehensive range of named degrees, it also offers Open degrees, which allow students to combine courses from a range of different academic disciplines.

Teaching Standards

  • Of the 24 subjects assessed by the Quality Assurance Agency, 17 were placed in the top 'Excellent' category.
  • The Open University has been highly ranked for overall satisfaction in all of the National Student Surveys to date.
  • The OU is one of only two universities in England to have been awarded the leadership of four Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Research Standards

  • The OU supports a vibrant research and enterprise portfolio which focuses upon key issues affecting the social, political and physical well-being of individuals, communities, cultures and nations.

Academic Strengths

  • The Open University has always been a world leader in the use of new technologies to improve the quality of education for students and to broaden their access to it. Students on two-thirds of all courses undertake e-learning activities to achieve defined learning outcomes. All courses include optional online activities.
  • The university's 'open' mission allows for those people whose previous qualifications would be unlikely to allow them access to university education elsewhere to enter higher education.

Undergraduate Courses

Type of Qualification:

Mode of study:

Student Facilities

  • All material that students require to complete their course is included in their course fees. They do have access to both electronic library resources and a library building on campus. The nature of the university's methods means that student facilities that would be expected at other campuses are not required at the OU.
  • University staff are available to provide guidance in all areas of student support.

Disability Services

  • Visit the website for information about services for disabled students.

Students' Union

  • All students registered to study with the OU are automatically members of the Open University Students' Association (OUSA), which is run by students for students. It has a network of local branches and representatives throughout the OU regions, as well as operating centrally.

Further Details

Address The Open University,
PO Box 197,
Milton Keynes
UCAS Code O11