Certificate of Higher Education in Natural Sciences

The Open University

Program Description

Certificate of Higher Education in Natural Sciences

The Open University

This certificate offers a broad introduction to core science subjects while developing essential study skills. You’ll explore biology, chemistry, earth sciences, environmental sciences, physics, astronomy and planetary science.

Key features of the course

  • Provides an introduction to topical areas of modern science, giving you a good grounding in each
  • Includes practical activities that you can do near where you live, or online in your own home
  • Develops skills of reason and logic that are highly prized in the workplace

Course details

This certificate of higher education has one stage, comprising 120 credits.

In Stage 1, you’ll begin with a 60-credit introductory science module followed by another 60-credit core science module.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

You’ll start with an introductory science module in which you’ll investigate a series of questions that teach scientific thinking and follow this with a second module that focuses on further key ideas in science.


You'll study both of the following:

  • Questions in science
  • Science: concepts and practice

The modules quoted in this description are currently available for study. However, as we review the curriculum on a regular basis, the exact selection may change over time.


We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The Certificate of Higher Education in Natural Sciences uses a variety of study materials and may include the following elements:

  • studying solely online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
  • using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • undertaking practical work or using an online laboratory
  • using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
  • using specialist software
  • working in a group with other students
  • finding external/third party material online.

If you feel you may need additional support with any of the elements above, visit our disability page to find more about what we offer. Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.

Learning outcomes, teaching, and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills

The level and depth of your learning gradually increase as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media, and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

On completion

On completion of this undergraduate course, we'll award you the Certificate of Higher Education in Natural Sciences.

Recognition in your country

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career.


Skills for career development

In addition to specific learning outcomes, this certificate develops a variety of transferable skills that are highly valued in the labor market, such as analytical, numerical, IT and communication skills; teamwork, and problem-solving. It will also help you develop critical thinking and independent research skills, and the ability to take the initiative – all valuable assets in today’s competitive environment. Many of these translate very smoothly into the modern workplace, which is increasingly concerned with knowledge management and the effective communication and presentation of ideas and arguments. You’ll also have a good understanding of where your strengths and interests lie and be well prepared for your next step – whether it’s further study or training, or employment.

Career relevance

Scientists are in demand in the jobs market, particularly if they also have good interpersonal skills and some work experience. The logical, reasoned approach needed for science study is relevant to many roles in the financial, business and public sectors – and employers in all fields put a high value on anyone who can deal competently with a large amount of complex information and turn it to good use. The ability to select and analyze relevant data and to present conclusions concisely and logically is essential in most lines of work, as is the ability to communicate clearly both orally and in writing.

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience):

  • science teacher
  • water quality inspector
  • countryside manager
  • forensic scientist
  • biomedical researcher
  • meteorologist
  • geophysicist
  • toxicologist
  • environmental engineer
  • marine biologist
  • botanist
  • forensic scientist
  • scientific journalist
  • technical consultant
  • industrial researcher
This school offers programs in:
  • English
The Open University

Last updated March 12, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Online
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2018
2 - 7 years
Part time
Full time
3,426 GBP
United Kingdom - Milton Keynes, England
Start date : Aug. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Aug. 2018
United Kingdom - Milton Keynes, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info