Certificate in Astronomy and Planetary Science

The Open University

Program Description

Certificate in Astronomy and Planetary Science

The Open University

Certificate in Astronomy and Planetary Science

Are you fascinated by the night sky and the mysteries of the universe? This certificate will provide you with a good basic introduction to astronomy and planetary science, and equip you with the skills for further study. You’ll investigate the stars and their life cycles; the structure of planets and their atmospheres; galaxies and quasars; space exploration; planetary processes; and the origin and evolution of the universe – including how it might continue to evolve in the future.

Key features of the course

  • Endorsed by the Royal Astronomical Society
  • Develops skills of reason and logic that are highly prized in the workplace
  • Builds a solid foundation for further study

Educational aims

Through studying these modules you will learn about the structure, origin and evolution of planetary bodies in our solar system; stars, galaxies and the universe as a whole; how and why life arose on Earth, and how likely it is that life has arisen elsewhere in the solar system or beyond.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Knowledge, understanding and application skills, as well as cognitive (thinking) skills are mainly acquired from the texts, with supporting material from web-based information sources. Basic principles underlying techniques and instruments are taught mainly via activities, which will have a strong computer-based component (both DVD and web). The skills to improve your own learning and performance are not taught explicitly, but developed by an online discussion forum. Self-testing is encouraged through in-text questions.

Assessment is by tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) and an end-of-module examination.


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 £2,632 based on our current fees.

NB: Prices are subject to change.

How long does it take?

  • Part time – 2 years
  • Full time – 1 years
  • Time limit – 4 years

Career relevance

The specialist knowledge and understanding you’ll gain by studying this certificate are particularly applicable to areas such as research and investigation, laboratory work, data analysis, public information, scientific journalism and education. Science is a shortage subject at secondary school level, so there may be incentives to train as a physics, chemistry or maths teacher.

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification. However, this is an OU level 2 certificate. You should ensure that you have adequate study skills, such as gained from OU level 1 study or its equivalent, before you begin. You will also 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
Duration & Price
This course is Online
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
1 - 4 years
Part time
Full time
Contact school
Contact school
Start date Aug. 2017
United Kingdom
Application deadline Contact school
End date Contact school
Duration 1 - 4 years
Price Contact school