Postgraduate Certificate in Humanities

The Open University

Program Description

Postgraduate Certificate in Humanities

The Open University

Postgraduate Certificate in Humanities

This certificate course, part of our postgraduate programme in the humanities, is for those who want to develop their research and analytical skills and upgrade their qualifications. It will suit anyone with appropriate entry qualifications who has a passion for the arts and is looking for an intellectual challenge. This certificate allows you to tailor your studies to your particular subject interest.

Educational aims

This taught postgraduate programme in humanities will provide you with appropriate training in the techniques of postgraduate study in one humanities subject area.

Practical and/or professional skills

When you have completed this qualification you will be able to:

  • use research libraries, their archives and their contents efficiently
  • use specialist online databases and other online facilities for postgraduate study
  • form arguments at postgraduate level and express those arguments in pieces of writing, using proper academic conventions.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Knowledge and understanding are gained and developed through study materials. These include published teaching text, internet materials, study and assignment guides, and may include some of the following, depending on the discipline studied: offprints, illustrations and CDs. Learning outcomes are assessed primarily by means of tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) and an examination, which provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of methodological themes.

Cognitive skills: you will learn to understand the methodologies and approaches taken by others to the study of the humanities, and you will be asked to evaluate some of these in assignments and the examination.

Practical and professional skills: the formation of arguments and the employment of critical and evaluative skills are taught and assessed in each of the MA in Humanities foundation modules. The use of research libraries and other research tools is taught in each of the foundation modules.

Key skills are developed progressively throughout the foundation modules, in relatively brief, structured assignments (typically 2000 words), and in the examination.

Career impact

Studying the Postgraduate Certificate in Humanities will provide you with an opportunity to build on skills acquired at undergraduate level. It will further develop your capability to read and analyse large amounts of written material and improve on your ability to convert knowledge acquired during your studies into lucid written responses. These transferable skills are in demand in many areas of the public and private sector, such as advertising, marketing and public relations; educational, charity and development; or government and public administration.

Completing the certificate will give you a worthwhile qualification in its own right, and you can also count the credits towards one of our MAs providing you take account of the unique study rule.


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

To study on our postgraduate humanities programme you must hold a bachelors degree at honours level. Your degree need not be in the subject area you intend to study, but you must have the basic skills expected of a graduate in that area. The part 1 modules or foundation module in each line bring you up to date with the latest ideas and approaches in your subject, but they do not offer remedial undergraduate training for those who have an inappropriate bachelors degree or inadequate experience. Before you enter the degree you must be able to:

  • write clear, concise, grammatically correct and accurately spelt prose
  • read large quantities of text quickly, accurately and critically
  • classify evidence precisely and assess its value and reliability
  • argue logically, consistently and sceptically
  • marshal various sorts of evidence to support a logical argument.

If you would like help to assess your preparedness you can ask our Student Registration & Enquiry Service for advice.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 20 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

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
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This course is Online
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Start date
Aug. 2017
1 year
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Start date Aug. 2017
United Kingdom
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Duration 1 year
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