Skip to content

Toggle service links

Open Programme skills and careers

In the UK, many graduates enter employment where a degree in any subject would be acceptable. It is estimated that these make up approximately 70% of graduate vacancies.

Many OU students choose to graduate each year with an Open qualification as it provides flexibility of module choice and the opportunity to tailor degree content to suit their individual intentions. However, some students do initially question the relative value of an Open qualification as opposed to a named qualification. Based on feedback from employers (and universities in relation to postgraduate applications) we can confirm that it is the successful completion of the qualification itself, the classification achieved and in some cases the relevance of the content or the transferable skills developed, that carry far more weight than the degree title. We can also confirm that most campus-based universities offer qualifications such as combined, joint or major/minor degree awards, which are very similar in nature to the Open Programme.

Skills you can develop

The Open degree has a flexible format which can allow students to tailor their studies and combine subject areas to suit their career intentions.

However, as well as the specific knowledge gained from studying your chosen modules within The Open Programme, you'll develop many transferable and work-related skills that are highly valued by employers and that will increase your employability. The employability skills you will develop may include:

  • numeracy and the ability to research
  • framing and addressing problems, questions and issues
  • communicating effectively, clearly and accurately
  • critically evaluating information, arguments and assumptions
  • using ICT effectively to search for, exchange, process and evaluate information
  • planning, monitoring and evaluating your learning and performance and taking steps to improve it.

Find further information about the learning outcomes in The Open Programme. These include a variety of skills that you can expect to develop during your studies. You will also be able to see the learning outcomes for individual modules, and see the subject based skills you can develop.

To check which skills valued by employers can be developed from studying a particular subject, look at the ‘What can I do with my degree?’ pages on the Prospects website (choose the main subjects within your Open degree).

The OU Careers and Employability Services define student employability as: "A set of capabilities and achievements that support students in developing their careers, raising their aspirations and enhancing their contribution to society".

Whatever your motivations for study, your goals and career aspirations, you are entitled to supported personal development planning either as an intrinsic part of your programme of study or through signposted optional activities. You can view our full Student Employability Policy Statement on our website.

If you’re a registered OU student, you can find further careers information tailored to your qualification at your Study Home site, under the Succeed tab.

OU qualifications

Find out more about undergraduate study on The Open Programme.

Find out about all undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications at OU Courses.

Last updated 2 years ago