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Open Learning

UCD Open Learning

A flexible way of studying part-time at UCD | Applications for 2023/2024 will open  in August 2023.

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 the 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

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.

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.

While there are no formal entry criteria, students are expected to meaningfully engage during their studies, attend lectures, manage their own learning, interact with the academic resources, present their ideas in class alongside peers, and take part in other teaching and learning activities, required by each programme. These expectations are outlined in UCD's Student Charter.

To get started, you need to first complete and submit an online pre-registration form. Applications are currently closed and will reopen again in August 2023. 

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?

Spring Trimester classes will begin the week of 23rd January (view key dates). Your individual timetable will be available on your online student account (SISWeb).

Where will my classes take place?

UCD uses blended learning, this is a combination of in-person teaching with online learning activities and resources shared using our virtual learning environment, Brightspace. The majority of classes will take place on campus, but some of your lectures may be online. 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.

To find out more about the steps UCD is taking to ensure student safety on campus, please look at our Student FAQs.


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. 

Fee Waiver and Financial Support

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

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

Our Fee Waivers are now closed for applications for Trimester 1.

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

  • Lorraine, Marlene, Irina, Sara and Emily 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

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