BA in Humanities (Honours)

The Open University

Program Description

BA in Humanities (Honours)

The Open University

BA in Humanities (Honours)

From poetry to string quartets, and from sculpture to short stories, the extraordinary range of human culture offers rich possibilities for study. This broad and absorbing course develops a deep understanding of the world we live in and how we got here, covering a fascinating variety of perspectives, periods and subjects – including art history, classical studies, creative writing, English language and English literature, history, modern languages, music, philosophy and religious studies.

Key features of the course

  • Start with a wide-ranging module introducing you to a range of disciplines
  • Choose a broad route through the degree, or specialise in one or two areas
  • Develop your skills of critical thinking, analysis and self-directed work which are highly valued by employers.

Educational aims

This is a wide-ranging programme of study across the arts and humanities which aims to provide you with the flexibility to choose modules from several different subjects or, if you prefer, to specialise in one or two subjects.

In addition, the programme will provide you with:

  • a thorough grounding in the humanities to honours level
  • a comprehensive grounding in the skills of analysis, argument and expression in the humanities
  • the ability to write well-argued essays and other specified written tasks, including work in formal examinations, and reflect on tutor feedback, and use this feedback to improve on future performance appropriate to honours level study
  • if you adopt a subject specialism, a comprehensive sense of the different ways of approaching your chosen subject specialism to honours level
  • an awareness of the transferable skills you have gained in the process of studying the arts and humanities to honours level, and a sense of how these skills might serve you in future study and in building your career as appropriate.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You will acquire your knowledge and understanding through a mix of published distance-learning materials, study guides, a range of multimedia material (including Library resources), face-to-face tutorials, online tuition, working on primary and secondary sources, and feedback on your assignments. The assessment of your knowledge and understanding will be through a mix of essay questions, short-answer questions and formal examinations. In some instances, particularly at Level 3, you may also be assessed through extended assignments, allowing you to develop your skills in independent study. The precise nature of this mix will depend on your choice of modules. As you progress through the degree you will find that you are cumulatively increasing your level of knowledge and understanding and you can expect a significant portion of your progress to be assessed at Level 3.

Cognitive skills are taught cumulatively and in ways that will vary according to which modules you choose to study. They will include the use of written materials, in-text questions, audio, visual and/or interactive material, carefully monitored feedback on assignments, as well as face-to-face or virtual tutorials and conferencing. The essay is a principal form of assessment, though you may also work on short-answer questions and a range of reflective assignments.

You will be responsible for choosing your own pathway through the degree, but support is available: you will have a designated tutor for each module; access to learner support staff who can give you information, advice and guidance on your programme; and you can also refer to a range of online information resources.

You should look at the subject-specific specialism specifications for details of how your practical and/or professional skills will be taught and assessed, as they depend on your own choice of modules.

The teaching, learning and assessment of your key skills are also specific to the specialisms, and you should check the subject-specific specialism specifications. In many cases they are indirectly assessed within the programme.


We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost. Fees for study commencing in academic year 2014/2015 are:

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification upfront.
  • If like most OU students studying part time, you study an average of 60 credits a year – you’ll study for six years to complete a degree. Our typical fee for 60 credits is £2,632.
  • Our current fee is £5,264 – based on 120 credits of study – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study.
  • The total cost of your chosen qualification currently starts from £15,792 based on our current fees.

NB: Prices are subject to change.

Career relevance

Study of the arts and humanities requires an understanding of human activities in diverse cultural environments and in very different historical circumstances. The breadth of study and range of cultural texts and objects analysed, combined with training in clear thinking and communication, make this degree course relevant to a wide variety of careers, including:

  • public administration, local government, the civil service, art institutions, and social services
  • advertising, journalism, publishing, creative industries and public relations
  • education
  • legal work
  • business, banking and retail
  • human resources
  • charities and campaigning


The Arts Faculty was rated by a Times Higher Education survey as one of the best 100 institutions in the world for the study of the arts. Noted for the strength of our interdisciplinary approaches, our scholars of international standing also teach and research a very wide range of topics and themes in specific subject areas. These include art history; classical studies; creative writing; English; history; music; philosophy; and religious studies. The Faculty also has validated partnerships with several important institutions in the UK and other parts of the world. The head of the Faculty is the Dean, Professor David Rowland.

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements to study this degree. You will however need to be proficient in English, to an IELTS standard of 7.0. If you are unsure you will be able to take a free English test as part of the registration process.

Read more about this programme on the Open University website here

This school offers programs in:
  • English
The Open University

Last updated October 23, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Online
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2018
3 - 16 years
Full time
Contact school
Contact school
United Kingdom - Milton Keynes, England
Start date: Aug. 2018
Application deadline Contact school
End date Contact school
Aug. 2018
United Kingdom - Milton Keynes, England
Application deadline Contact school
End date Contact school