Certificate of Higher Education in Humanities

The Open University

Program Description

Certificate of Higher Education in Humanities

The Open University

Certificate of Higher Education in Humanities

This certificate provides a broad introduction to the arts and humanities, including history, art history, philosophy, classical studies, religious studies, music and English – expanding your cultural horizons while training you to think and argue clearly. Apart from sheer enjoyment, it offers excellent preparation for further study and will give your career prospects a boost.

Key features of the course

  • Develops your understanding of our rich cultural heritage from fascinating and diverse perspectives
  • Helps you practise and refine the skills of argument and analysis, enhancing your employability
  • Builds a solid foundation for further study.

A nationally recognised qualification in its own right, the certificate of higher education is also equivalent to the first third of an honours degree.

Educational aims

This is an introductory programme covering a wide range of disciplines that aims to provide you with:

  • an introduction to the humanities, in particular, the seven disciplines taught in the Arts faculty
  • an introduction to different ways of approaching the subject areas
  • the development of basic skills of analysis, argument and expression
  • the ability to write well-argued essays and reflect on tutor feedback, and use this feedback to improve on future performance
  • an opportunity to enhance your personal development, in particular your confidence to move to OU level 2 study.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Your learning will be through exposure to and discussion of texts, reproductions of works of art (including works of music), and reproductions of different sorts of historical evidence. The study materials may be in a variety of media, but will incorporate questions to encourage you to interact with the topics under discussion, practise argument and establish your understanding of the material. Additionally, there will be opportunities for discussion (face to face, online or via telephone) with your tutor and fellow-students, to help you to test out approaches to the various kinds of subject matter.

Your knowledge and understanding will be assessed principally through tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) that require written work ranging from short pieces of analysis to full-length essays. For some optional modules there may also be an examination.

The teaching and learning of cognitive skills in the humanities is closely integrated with the teaching of subject matter. There are opportunities to practise your acquisition of cognitive skills as you work through the study materials, with their embedded questions, and through your assessed work. Written assignments provide numerous opportunities to test out and refine your cognitive skills, and tutors, in their feedback on assignments, have a key role to play in fostering this kind of learning.

The key skills in learning how to learn and communication are, again, integral parts of the teaching and assessment in humanities modules. Study materials include guidance on the use of appropriate academic conventions, and you can practise these in written assignments, with feedback from your tutor to help you to consolidate good scholarly habits.

The use of reflection as a tool for learning is built into the assessment pattern of the compulsory module, and the Virtual Learning Environment provides opportunity for formative assessment that reinforces various kinds of learning, including familiarisation with ICT.

Guidance on the acquisition of these skills is cumulative, and personalised support and feedback from tutors and other OU staff will enhance learning in these areas. Organisational skills are not explicitly tested, but, like the presentational skills, lie behind successful completion of assessment tasks throughout the modules constituting this certificate.


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 £5,264 based on our current fees.

NB: Prices are subject to change.

How long does it take?

  • Part time – 2 years
  • Full time – 1 year
  • Time limit – 7 years

Career relevance

The breadth of study and training in clear thinking and communication make this course relevant to a wide variety of careers. These include:

  • 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 qualification. 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
Duration & Price
This course is Online
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
1 - 7 years
Part time
Full time
Contact school
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Start date Aug. 2017
United Kingdom
Application deadline Contact school
End date Contact school
Duration 1 - 7 years
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