Open Learning

UCD Open Learning is the first programme of its kind in Ireland and offers you the opportunity to study a range of undergraduate modules in UCD. There are no entry requirements and the Open Learning modules are open to everyone. You can take any combination of modules for interest only (audit) or you can complete the course assessment (credit). Each module is worth 5 ECTS and students can opt to take any combination of credit modules towards an award, either a Certificate in Open Learning (30 credits) or a Diploma in Open Learning (60 credits).
Students interested in apply to an undergraduate degree programme in either Arts and Humanities or Social Sciences, can apply through the CAO. When applying through the CAO students need to have successfully completed 3 modules (Semester I) and undertaking another 3 modules (Semester II). They also need to have a minimum GPA of 2.6.
Alternatively, students can choose to take a module for audit, which allows full participation in the modules without any assessments. Audit students do not receive any credits or qualifications as they do not take any assessments.

Open Learning Brochure 2018-19

Booking for both Semester I & II is now open:


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On completion of the University Certificate/University Diploma in Open Learning students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge and understanding of specific modules within their chosen field(s) of study.  This knowledge may inform them about the nature of their chosen modules and may prompt them to progress their studies further in that discipline.
  • Apply their knowledge and understanding of the completed modules in specific contexts related to the field of study.
  • Identify and use data to formulate responses to well-defined concrete and abstract problems within the field(s) of study covered in their chosen modules.
  • Demonstrate transferable skills through forms of learning activity including essays, tutorials and reviews.



There are no entry requirements for the UCD Open Learning programme.  You can apply online, in person or over the phone.  

You must register for each module before the advertised start date of the module, or within a week of the start if there are places available.

The Open Learning programme allows you to structure your award to reflect your interests and timetable.  

To complete your Certificate in Open Learning, you will have to complete 30 credits across a range of modules.  The Diploma in Open Learning requires 60 credits.

Each year the list of available modules will be listed in the UCD Open Learning programme.  

The module list is subject to change.  Where there are places available, they are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.  

Once you register for a module we cannot transfer, alter or withdraw you from that module.

We therefore recommend that you review the modules carefully, establish that the timetable suits you and that you are satisfied with your choice.  

The modules can be reviewed on the following link: and are listed in the Appendix to the handbook.

Modules are assigned levels. We recommend that you begin on Open Learning with level 1 modules.  

The levels represent academic progression, with the higher levels assuming that you have already mastered the key concepts and skills required for academic writing and critical reflection.

We recommend that you begin on Open Learning with level 1 modules and seek guidance from your academic mentor about the best way to approach your progression pathway.

The final deadline for registration is one day after the second class in your chosen module, subject to availability of the module.  


Deadline for Upgrading from Audit to Credit

You must register as a credit student within three weeks of the start of the module.


Moving from Audit to Credit

While you can move from being an audit student to a credit student, you cannot do the opposite.  

Once you register as a credit student, you have signalled your intention to submit for assessment.  

You cannot reverse that status.  We therefore advise you to consider the commitments involved, the assessments required and the workload involved.


Attendance Requirement

The attendance requirement is determined by the Module Coordinator.  The issue of attendance is relevant to those who are taking the modules for assessment.  

You cannot attend class if you have not registered for the module.


It is recommended that Open Learning students take a maximum of three modules per semester.

There are no set hours for Open Learning.  The more modules a student registers to, the greater the time commitment required.  

The timetable is structured over a 40 hour week.  Any given module can be spread throughout the week.  For example, a particular module may have two hours of lectures in the week, the first on Monday at 10 a.m. and the second on Thursday at 5 p.m., with a tutorial on Wednesday at 2 p.m.  

Therefore, in order to ensure that this is the programme for you, you should be aware that you will need to be flexible in terms of availability to attend lectures.

The amount of time it takes to complete the Certificate or Diploma varies from student to student, depending on the credit workload.  For example, if you were to complete one module each semester, it would take you three years to complete the Certificate in Open Learning.

UCD encourages lifelong learning and provides the opportunity for prior learning to be recognised.  Students can apply to have prior learning recognised for:

  • The purposes of admission into a UCD programme of study.

  • Credit applied towards a UCD programme of study.

  • Transfer into or between UCD programmes.  

A basic principle of credit accumulation is that credit cannot be awarded twice for the same achievement. Where a student uses all of their credit from a previous award (either a UCD or a non-UCD award) towards another award from UCD at the same level, they should be advised by the Programme Board to represent themselves as having a single award only (i.e. the highest level award).

What this means for you as an Open Learning student is that:

  • You can only do a module once and cannot register to it again once you have passed it.

  • You cannot register to a module that is incompatible.  You can establish how similar modules are by reviewing the module descriptors.  We recommend that students familiarise themselves with the module descriptor for each module they are interested in taking. If two modules prove to be incompatible, Open Learning students will not be able to register to both modules.

  • You cannot submit assessments retrospectively.  So, if you have completed a module for audit, you cannot decide to submit for assessment after the module is completed or the period for transferring from audit to credit has passed (three weeks after the start of the module).