The University is carefully monitoring guidance issued by the UK Government regarding COVID-19. We remain open and we're working hard to ensure that the majority of our services are unaffected, including registration for modules that begin in October 2020. This page was last updated on 5 August 2020.
Our student support teams (SSTs) are taking queries by email and a webchat service. We’re working to re-open our phonelines and are now offering a limited service where you can request a call back for some queries. Look out for links to ‘request a call back’ in the Help Centre. To find the right contact details for your query go to Contact the OU.
Registering for your next module
We are open for registration for modules starting in the next academic year (October 2020 onwards).
If you're already registered with the OU, go to StudentHome and click on 'Choose your modules', which you'll find in the centre panel. From here you'll also find a link to all the information you need about choosing your module, plus advice about your payment and funding options and the timescales involved. Also check the section below about study from October 2020 to understand where there will be differences to the usual services and support we provide, as well as changes possible changes to how your module is supported and assessed.
If you live in England, Northern Ireland or Wales, the Student Loans company is now open and taking applications for the next academic year. If you've previously used student finance to fund your studies check your Student loan page in StudentHome to see if you need to apply. If you’re a postgraduate student visit Ways to pay your tuition fees for details of how to apply for funding.
If you live in Scotland, visit Ways to pay your tuition fees for details of how to apply for funding. If you’re an undergraduate student, the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) is now accepting applications for Part-Time Fee Grants and we’ve put in place a process to allow you to send us your application online rather than via post.
If you have questions or want to discuss your next module choice, go to our Student Support Team forums for information and advice.
If for any reason you can't enrol or pay online, you can contact your SST by email or webchat and an advisor will take you through the enrolment process.
If you're new to the OU go to our online prospectus to enrol.
Sending us information to support your enrolment or studies
Please send any information or evidence required for funding or disability support applications electronically rather than by post. This is to ensure we can process your application as quickly as possible, and in case our post rooms are required to close again.
If you are unable to send us information electronically, please contact the relevant department for further assistance.Back to top
If you're currently studying a module
Tutor Marked Assignments (TMAs)
You can request an extension on your TMA submission date of up to 21 days without needing to provide a reason. This agreement will be in place until at least 31 December 2020. Requests for extensions must be made to your tutor.
If you have difficulties reaching your tutor or any other concerns, then you can also contact your Student Support Team for advice.
If you need a TMA extension beyond 21 days, that must be discussed with your tutor, or student support team in your tutor’s absence. This is because there may be other solutions to help you progress with your studies rather than opting for a very long extension.
Extensions for final TMAs (the last TMA before your EMA, emTMA or exam) are slightly different in that they are usually restricted to being no later than the first of the month in which your module ends. However, you can currently request an extension up to the eighth day of the month in which your module ends. Please note that the additional time allowance may be subject to change. You therefore need to check what extension is permissible closer to the time of your final TMA.
TMA marking turnaround
Tutors are currently allowed 15 working days to mark and return assignments. You may also find that on some occasions, your work has been marked by someone other than your usual tutor. We are doing this, where necessary, to ensure you get your assignments back as soon as possible and to help tutors manage their workload during these challenging times.
The University will take the coronavirus pandemic into consideration for all assessments submitted after 1 March 2020, when determining your overall module result. This arrangement will remain in place until at least 31 December 2020.
This means you do not need to tell us how the pandemic in general, has affected your ability to complete your assignments. If, however, you have experienced other exceptional circumstances (e.g. you are a key worker or you have been seriously ill) you may wish to inform us by submitting a special circumstances form. You do not need to provide any evidence when doing this.
You can also submit a special circumstances form if you have experienced other extenuating circumstances, or something happened to impact your studies before 1 March 2020.
You can submit special circumstances for any assignments up to four days after your original exam date or submission deadline for your EMA or emTMA.
Exams and end of module assessments (EMAs and emTMAs)
All end of module assessments (EMAs and emTMAs) are going ahead as scheduled. This means that if your module has an EMA or emTMA, you will need to complete this in line with the instructions and deadline on your module website.
Face-to-face exams happening before 31 December 2020 have been replaced with remote exams. If your module has an exam, you will complete the remote exam at home and the deadline for submission will be 23:59 UK time on your original exam date. Details about your remote exam will be published on your module website approximately four weeks before the submission date.
If you will not be able to take the remote exam on your exam date, you may have the option to postpone it. More information can be found at Remote exams and ICMEs.
Postponing your remote exam, EMA or emTMA submission (discretionary postponement)
If you’re unable to sit your remote exam or submit any part of your EMA or emTMA due to exceptional circumstances, you may be allowed to postpone to the next available opportunity.
Due to COVID-19, you are not currently required to submit any evidence when requesting a postponement. This arrangement will remain in place until at least 31 December 2020. You do, however, need to apply before midnight (UK local time) on the day after your EMA or emTMA submission deadline.
To find out more about postponing and how to apply, see Apply for discretionary postponement.
Submitting assessments on paper
We are currently operating a very reduced presence in our offices, so processing paper copies of assessments will take longer than usual.
Where possible, please submit all TMAs, emTMAs and EMAs through the online TMA/EMA system. You can find this via your module website or on your module record page on StudentHome).
All modules are currently allowing PDF formats to be submitted. This means that if you need to write or complete your assessment on paper, you can scan it in using your smartphone and submit this as a pdf, using the online TMA/EMA system.
If it is impossible for you to submit electronically, please be assured that your paper submissions will be processed when we are able. If this happens after the release of your module results, we will update your result.
Deferring or withdrawing from modules
If you're thinking you might need to stop studying, please contact your student support team (SST). There may be a variety of options available to you, including advice around managing your fees and funding. Our Changing your study plans pages may also help you identify ways to continue studying.
If however you do need to stop, you can find out the final date you can defer from your module on your module record. Select your module from your study record and then click on 'final deferral date' to find this.
Financial support - Student Assistance Fund
We have opened a Student Assistance Fund for students who have been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) and have faced unexpected financial hardship, impacting their ability to study.
One-off funding may be available if you need help with study and/or living costs to enable you to continue with your studies.
The fund is limited, eligibility criteria apply, and it will only be open for a limited amount of time.Back to top
Module results, certificates and ceremonies
Information, advice and guidance for students who have recently received their module result is available at Your module results, next steps.
If you have specific questions, such as why you might be seeing two different scores, how and why statistical adjustments were applied and how special circumstances were taken into account, you might also find our Module results FAQ page helpful.
We have also published an official statement about module results this year.
The conferment of qualifications is running to schedule. However, as the number of staff who can work in our offices is limited in line with governmental health and safety advice, there may be a short delay in some qualification offers being sent out.
You don't need to attend a degree ceremony to receive your certificate, as we send all certifications out by post, to the address we hold for you on our records.
You should expect to receive your certificate through the post within 6 to 8 weeks of accepting your qualification, or after confirmation that you’ve qualified.
It is important we have the right name for your certificate, so do check your details carefully when your qualification is confirmed.
We are currently working through printing and posting out qualification certificates that were delayed due to COVID-19, including replacements for any that have been lost or damaged. Further communications will be sent to students who were affected by these delays once certificates are in the post. Name corrections can still be completed as usual by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unfortunately, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Autumn programme of ceremonies has been cancelled. We appreciate this may be very disappointing for you, but we are working on a revised schedule for Spring 2021 to allow everyone who has been unable to attend their graduation ceremony in 2020, to hopefully do so next year.
As soon as information becomes available, eligible students (including those who had ceremonies cancelled) will be notified. Details of ceremony dates and locations, as well as when booking lines open, will be updated on Degree ceremonies.Back to top
Study from September / October 2020 - what you need to know
We are continuing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure students and staff can study and work safely. The following information tells you about the differences you can expect to the usual services and support we provide for modules starting from September 2020.
You should also check here to see if there are any changes to how your module(s) will be delivered. This includes a spreadsheet where you can check specific details about your module(s).
Support from your tutor
The majority of modules include support from a personal academic tutor. This can take a variety of forms, including one-to-one support from your tutor by email and phone. We do not expect this form or level of support to change.
In the event of a tutor becoming ill or unable to continue with their OU work for a period of time, the University will arrange for an alternative tutor to support you with your studies.
Tutors are being allowed up to 15 working days to mark and return assignments, rather than the usual 10 working days. You may also find that your work has been marked by someone other than your usual tutor. We are doing this, where necessary, to ensure you get your assignments back as soon as possible, and to help tutors manage their workload during these challenging times.
These adjustments will remain in force until at least 31 December 2020, at which point we will review whether to extend them further.
If your module offers tutorials, these will continue to run. However, they will all take place online until at least January 2021.
We will continue to monitor the situation and if your module usually offers face to face tutorials, we will let you know when these resume. For more information about how to find, register and join tutorials see Joining instructions for online tutorials.
Printed study materials
Our warehouse staff are currently working to ensure printed study materials and other module mailings can be delivered as scheduled. If for any reason, we are required to close the warehouse (e.g. a local or national lockdown is brought into force), we will contact you. You can access electronic versions of print materials on your module website – these can be found in the Resources area.
You should expect to complete all your assessments as scheduled on your module study planner, however we will advise you if there any changes to this. You can check your module description to find what assessments your module(s) has.
To help students complete tutor marked assignments (TMAs) that are due to be submitted before 31 December 2020, the following flexibility is allowed:
- You can get an extension of up to 21 days without needing to provide a reason
- We’ll automatically take the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic into consideration for those assignments when deciding your module result
- If you experience other extenuating circumstances, you can tell us about them without needing to provide evidence.
We will continue to review how the COVID-19 pandemic situation is impacting student’s ability to study in general, and decide whether to extend these allowances into 2021.
We currently expect that exams that are scheduled for 2021 will take place in an exam centre. However, if restrictions on travel remain in place, they may be replaced by a remote exam which you will take at home.
If you have a disability
You need to make sure you tell us about any support you need immediately. This is because it can take time to ensure everything you need is in place. To discuss options please contact the Disability Support Team.
We are working to ensure you have the support you need in place for the start of the module, and if there is an unexpected disruption, we will contact you. All our study materials are available online and are provided in accessible formats. You may also find it useful to work through this help on studying on a screen.
Compulsory face to face day schools and residential schools
If you have registered for a module that has a compulsory day school or residential school, we are currently exploring options in case current restrictions related to COVID-19 continue beyond December 2020.
We anticipate that compulsory face-to-face day schools and residential schools scheduled in 2021 will go ahead. If however, the COVID-19 pandemic situation means that attendance at a face-to-face event is not possible, nearly all our module with compulsory day schools and residential schools have alternative online versions, which will allow you to engage with this study. As there will be specific arrangements for each module, we will contact you by email about any changes.
Where an online alternative is not possible, we will contact you to discuss how this may affect your studies.
You should also check here for information about changes to how your module(s) will be delivered. This includes a spreadsheet where you can check specific details about your module(s).
Progress reviews with your practice tutor will take place by telephone or online, until face-to-face interaction can resume.
If changes at work impact on your ability to complete any of your work-based learning activities, you should contact your tutor, your Apprenticeship Programme Delivery Manager, or the Apprentice Support Team to discuss your options.
You can contact the Apprentice Support Team by email: email@example.com.
Changing your study plans
If the variation in our services means you want to rethink your module choice or reconsider studying with us, please contact your Student Support Team to discuss your options. You can also read our cancellation and withdrawal policy.
Enrolling on modules
Please see the registration section above for information about how to enrol and pay.Back to top
If you're feeling worried about Coronavirus take a look at our Wellbeing during lockdown article for resources and ideas on how to help reduce stress and concerns. We also run a programme of events via Student Hub Live on a range of subjects such as community-building, self-care and productivity, catch up or look out for upcoming events.
We have also put together some tips on balancing work, study and family, including a list of free OU resources that you or your family might find helpful (e.g. to support older children's school work).
We also have an article about coping with grief and bereavement during the coronavirus pandemic.
For information on how you can look after your mental health during this outbreak see Mental Health Foundation and Public Health England. If you live in Scotland the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) has a Coronavirus and Mental Health Information Hub.
Domestic abuse support
If you're experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse. Please take a look at our Domestic abuse support during lockdown article which has details for urgent help and other support helplines across the UK.Back to top
Careers and Employability Services
If changing circumstances have affected your life or study goals, course choice or career plans, staff in the OU’s Careers and Employability Services are maintaining a full range of support:
- If you need to rethink your long-term career plans and how they may affect module choices or your decision to defer, we have many online resources to help you such as Your Career Planning Guide plus forums and webinars.
- Similarly, if you need to clarify your options and potential career paths, you can still book a careers consultation over email, phone or Skype.
- If you want to know more about volunteering opportunities, you can browse the many online roles posted by a range of organisations on OpportunityHub.
Please note that our Careers and Employability Services team is set up to be working from home, and although we are currently managing demand well, we hope you understand if we are not always able to answer your queries within the usual five days.
You may on occasions hear children or pets in the background when you talk with our Careers and Employability Services staff. Please be assured that your call is being dealt with confidentially, and we are taking appropriate measures to ensure your information is kept very securely.
For the latest updates on how we are providing careers support to OU students, please see our Careers and Employability Services statement.Back to top
Student support teams (SSTs)
SSTs (for general enquiries and specialist advice on your area of study) are currently available by email and web chat facility. SST staff are working between 09:00 and 17:30, Monday to Friday.
We are working to open up our phonelines and increase our opening hours back to our standard hours of Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm and Saturday 9am- 5pm.
Opening hours and arrangements may change over the coming months depending on how the government advice changes; we’ll update this page with the latest information. You can also go to Contact us.
SSTs also run moderated student forums. These are a community help resource for queries about student support, and are moderated by our advisors who will help you. You can also talk with other students and share tips and information on the forums.
All students can see the forums, please do not share any personal informatiion such as your address, details about your tutor, payment card details or anything else you would not be happy for any other students to see. You cannot not use the forums to:
- Get detailed personal advice and guidance - you should email your SST for this.
- Enrol on modules - you can do this online from StudentHome. If you're unable to enrol online you can use web chat or email your SST.
- Make payments - if you need to pay for your module using a credit or debit card please email your SST for advice, but do not include card details in your email
Received an email asking you to phone us?
If you've received an email asking you to contact us by phone we apologise. These are automatic system-generated emails which we have not been able to change. Please be assured that you can email us, and we will respond as quickly as possible.
We are continuing to answer queries as quickly as possible but some services are reduced:
- Library Services are available to respond to emails between 09:00 and 17:00 Monday to Friday. The Library Webchat service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- The Computing and Distribution Helpdesk is available by email, webchat 08.30 to 17.30 Monday to Thursday, and 08.30 to 17.00 Friday.
- OUSBA (Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd) is operating with reduced staffing levels so there may be a delay in responding to both phone and email contact.
- The Disability Support Team are still contactable by phone (Mon to Fri 09:00 - 17.00) or email.
To find the right contact details for your query go to Contact the OU.Back to top Back to top