UCD Open Learning

A flexible way of studying part-time at UCD.

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.

It might be something to consider 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

(Need to search a module code for accurate times and descriptions?)


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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 apply to 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 an official student card, and have access to all of the facilities and supports available to all other UCD students.

Most modules can be taken either for Audit or for Credit. 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 Learning for Credit

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 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 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.

Pathway to Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Law

An Open Learning Certificate can be used to apply through the CAO for progression onto one of the following undergraduate degree programmes at UCD, provided that you achieve a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.6 or higher:

* (For entry to Law you must also be at least 23 on 1 January prior to entry, and your Certificate must include at least 20 credits of modules from the School of Law)

Pathway to Science

Provided you achieve a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.08 and complete the module MATH00010, you can also use your Open Learning Certificate to apply for:

** This is a pilot progression and places are limited

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.

If you are interested in the Open Learning Programme for the 2019-20 academic year then you will first need to pre-register your place. You will need to do this even if you have taken Open Learning modules with us in the past. Pre-registration is necessary so that we can create a student profile for and link it to the Open Learning Programme for 2019-20. 

Pre-registration for Autumn (Trimester One) has now closed. Applications will open again for Spring (Trimester Two) in January.

What do I do once I am pre-registered?

Pre-registered Open Learners will receive an email prompt when they can go online and select their chosen modules. Module selection is done through your online SISWeb account. Your SISWeb account is also where you can view your timetable, pay fees, edit your personal details, and arrange for your student card. Further information on selecting modules is available through UCD Registry.

Which modules can I take through Open Learning?

You can browse all of the modules on offer to Open Learners at UCD through our Open Learning brochure. Update-to-date descriptions and timetables for all Open Learning modules are available by searching the module code or title through the UCD Online Module Search function. 

The fee for Open Learning is €350 per audit module or €500 per credit module. (How to pay fees at UCD)

If you intend to pursue a Certificate in Open Learning to use as an entry to an undergraduate degree, then you might be eligible to receive an Open Learning Scholarship.

The Open Learning Scholarship covers the costs of all 6 modules needed to gain an Open Learning Certificate. Further information and eligibility criteria are outlined on the Open Learning Scholarship webpage. Please note that the deadline for 2019-20 scholarship applications has now passed.

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, or download a copy of our Open Learning brochure below.

If you have any further questions about the Open Learning programme feel free to contact us at all@ucd.ie or by calling 01 716 7123.

Open Learning Brochure 2019-20PDF|5.8MB