UCD Open Learning

A flexible way of studying part-time at UCD | Applications will reopen January 2022

Open Learning means you can fit university around your life. Whether you're looking to progress your career, or you've just finished school and wondering if university is for you, Open Learning fits around your schedule and gives you all the benefits of being a full-time student, without the full-time commitment.

Open Learning allows you to select the modules you wish to study, set the pace of your study, and whether you undertake the module assessment. It also can lead to undergraduate degree entry in UCD if you are taking the Certificate in Open Learning (30 credits) or if you are a Mature Student you can take one module (5 credits) in lieu of MSAP exam. 

Open Learning is for you if you:

  • Need a more flexible study schedule
  • Don’t yet qualify for entry to an undergraduate degree
  • Want to get a feel for academic life before starting a full degree
  • Are interested in one or more of the module topics available and want to learn more from experts in that field


Diagram showing pre-registration, accepting offer, module registration and fees


Open Learning Brochure 2021-22PDF|3.48 MB

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With over 300 modules (courses) to choose from as an Open Learner, there is something to suit everyone's interest. All of the modules are at undergraduate level, so it’s a chance to join classes with full-time degree students while learning at your own pace.

There are no entry requirements for Open Learners - Anyone is welcome to sign-up for a module. You can take as few or as many modules as you want, whatever best suits your own schedule, but we recommend three per semester at most.

As an Open Learner, you are a fully registered UCD student, will have a student card, and have access to all of the facilities and supports available to other UCD students.

Most modules can be taken either for audit (€375 per module) or for credit (€500 per module). Audited modules are purely for interest or to get a taste of university classes and do not involve any form of assessment, so there's no need to worry about exams. Credited modules involve completing any of the assessments required for those modules, such as essays, presentations or end of semester exams.

Accumulating Open Learning Credits

Open Learners who successfully complete a credit module will be awarded 5 credits.

  • 5 credits can be used by mature students (23 years and older) in place of the MSAP exam when applying for a place on relevant undergraduate degree programmes at UCD through the Mature Years Entry Pathway.
  • 30 credits (6 modules) can be used to obtain an NFQ Level 7 Certificate in Open Learning, which can then be used for entry to selected UCD undergraduate degree programmes.
  • 60 credits (12 modules) can be used to obtain a Diploma in Open Learning.

Open Learners who successfully complete 30 credits (6 modules) will be awarded an NFQ Level 7 Certificate in Open Learning and can progress onto 12 degree programmes across UCD's academic schools. Please visit our Progression Pathway page for full information about programmes available and their admission requirements.

MSAP Alternative

If you are a mature student (23+) and intend to apply to UCD on the basis of the Mature Years Entry Pathway, you can choose to take any Open Learning module for credit instead of taking the MSAP exam. For more information on the Mature Years Entry Pathway to various undergraduate degree programmes at UCD, please see the dedicated UCD Registry webpage.

To get started, you need to first complete and submit an online pre-registration form: 

Pre-Register Now

What do I do once I am pre-registered and how do I select my modules?

  • After your pre-registration has been approved, you'll receive an official offer of a place on the programme.
  • Once you've accepted your offer, you will receive an email telling you when you can select your modules and confirm your attendance.
  • You'll then be able to log onto your UCD student account (SISWeb), to select and register for your modules, agree to UCD’s terms and conditions, and to confirm your contact details.

Which modules can I take through Open Learning?

You can browse all of the modules offered to Open Learners in at UCD both on our website and in the Open Learning brochure.

Further information on selecting modules is available through UCD Registry.

When will my classes begin?

Autumn Trimester classes begin the week of September 13th for continuing students and the week of September 27th for first year students (view key dates). Your individual timetable will be available on your online student account (SISWeb).

Where will my classes take place?

The vast majority of classses will take place online, but some components (such as labs) will be on-campus. You should ensure that you are familiar with how the class will be taught before completing your registration. You can find this information on the module descriptor for your class.


The fee for Open Learning is €375 per audit module or €500 per credit module. (How to pay fees at UCD). Please note that a small number of modules are 10 credits, which will incur a higher fee. 

Scholarship and Financial Support

You may be eligible to apply for a PATH Open Learning Scholarship. Further information and eligibility criteria are outlined on the PATH Open Learning Scholarship webpage

Alternatively, support may also be available to you through the Sanctuary Programme or the Part-Time Student Support Fund.


Our Scholarships are now closed for applications for Trimester 1.

We have a dedicated team who support the Open Learning programme:

  • Gillian, Fergal, Emily, Sara, and Laura are members of our Operations Team and they can also help you with your queries. Get in touch with us by emailing all@ucd.ie

To stay fully up to date about our Open Learning programme you can join our mailing list.

You can also view a list of our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to most questions.

View Modules