Postgraduate Diploma in Humanities

The Open University

Program Description

Postgraduate Diploma in Humanities

The Open University

Postgraduate Diploma in Humanities

This diploma course, part of our postgraduate programme in the humanities, will suit anyone with appropriate entry qualifications who has a passion for the arts and is looking for an intellectual challenge. It is designed to allow you to tailor your qualification to a particular subject interest. At present our postgraduate diploma includes subject lines in English, history and philosophy.

Educational aims

This taught postgraduate programme in humanities will:

  • provide you with appropriate training in the techniques of postgraduate study in the humanities
  • allow a degree of flexibility in some disciplines, so that you can combine modules from more than one subject specialism.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Knowledge and understanding are gained and developed through the study materials. Supporting teaching materials 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). Foundation modules also have examinations, which provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of methodological themes, and subject modules and Part 1 modules include a final assignment, or ‘project’.

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. You will learn to apply these skills in a more clearly defined area of study, and in the project or final assignment you will begin to apply some of these approaches to a discrete body of evidence yourself.

Practical and professional skills: the formation of arguments and the employment of critical and evaluative skills are taught and assessed throughout the diploma. The use of research libraries is taught in each foundation module or Part 1 module and developed at each stage of the programme. These skills are assessed throughout the programme.

Key skills are developed progressively throughout the programme, initially in relatively brief, structured assignments (typically 2000 words), and in the examination (where applicable), but more fully and independently in the project or final assignment.

Career impact

Studying for a diploma course 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 enable you to apply your skills through the production of a project. 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 diploma will give you a worthwhile qualification in its own right, and you can also count the credit 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 in the programme but you must have the basic skills expected of a graduate in that area. Foundation modules or, in the case of the new degrees, Part 1 modules bring you up to date with the latest ideas and approaches in each 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
  • evaluate evidence precisely and assess its value and reliability
  • argue logically, consistently and sceptically
  • weigh up often conflicting evidence and construct a coherent and logical argument from it
  • find and use different sorts of evidence to support your argument.

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.

If you would like help to assess your preparedness you can ask our Student Registration & Enquiry Service (using the buttons at the top of the page) for advice.

You must begin your studies with a postgraduate foundation module or a 120-credit Part 1 module. If starting with a foundation module, we strongly recommend that you take no more than 60 credits of study each year. We cannot guarantee that the same selection of modules will continue to be available.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 40 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

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 year
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Full time
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Start date Aug. 2017
United Kingdom
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Duration 1 year
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