Magoosh GRE

Alternative Universities – The Open University

| January 12, 2012 | 0 Comments

It’s the largest academic institution in the country and yet it rarely gets mentioned in the same breath as many other universities.  The Open University (The OU) had 195,000 undergraduates enrolled in 2009/10, approximately 1/10th of the 1,914,710 undergraduates enrolled throughout all universities in the country.

So what is it?

The Open University has a distinctly unique way of studying and researching. The Open University relies on almost entirely remote learning and research projects. This means that unlike traditional universities, you won’t attend lectures in lecture theatres or stay on a college campus.

The Open University is specifically designed for people who want to study part-time and don’t have the proximity or availability of university provided to them. Perhaps you have a full-time job or look after someone, and want to study for a degree in your own time. The Open University is for you.

If you live in remote countryside and can’t afford the commute or the rent of an inner-city university or campus, then The Open University can be a dramatically cheaper way to study.

The Open University also gives you a much greater flexibility of your module selection and therefore, you can end up saving a lot of money on your degree by studying only modules you want or need to.

The downsides

While The Open University can be a much more flexible and cheaper option, there are obvious downsides – especially to those leaving college or a sixth form.

The most obvious drawback is the lack of social life. The university social life is an undeniable part of your university education and you lack this by studying at The Open University.


The Open University can be a very rewarding academic venture if you are already employed or have a busy family life, but there are downsides that are unavoidable.

Category: International Student Guide

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