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Open Learning | Frequently Asked Questions

What are the entry requirements for 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.

Can I study Open Learning to progress onto a degree programme?

Yes! There are two ways to use Open Learning to progress onto a degree.

We have established Progression Pathways into 13 Undergraduate Degree Programmes in UCD. To be eligible for these pathways you must complete a 30 Credit Certificate in Open Learning, as well as meeting the module requirements of the individual pathway. 

If you are applying to UCD through the Mature Years Entry Pathway you may submit a 5 credit Open Learning Module in place of the MSAP exam when applying for a place on relevant undergraduate degree programmes.

What modules are available?

Each year the list of available modules will be listed on our website and in the printed Open Learning brochure. There are over 300 on offer at UCD and range from Archaeology to Physics.

Please keep in mind that Open Learning places on modules are limited and are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Which modules should I choose?

Whatever interests you! If you need advice on your module choices, please get in touch with us. We generally advise students taking modules for credit to start with Level 1 modules - these are modules from first year degree programmes.

If you are studying as part of an Open Learning Progression Pathway, you may have specific module requirements that you must meet in order to be eligible for admission.

What are modules levels and how do I know the level of my module?

All modules are assigned different levels. 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, e.g. ENG10010. The first number in the module code denotes the level of the module. Level 1 is the equivalent of a first-year undergraduate module.

How many modules should I take?

We recommend that you take a maximum of three modules per trimester.

Where can I find a full description of the modules and what is involved?

Full module descriptions and timetables can be found by clicking on the module title on our website.

Open Learning modules follow the main UCD term dates.

When is the deadline for registration?

The final deadline for registration is one day after the second class in your chosen module (week 2 of term), subject to availability of the module.

What are the fees for Open Learning and how do I pay?

€500 per credit module or €375 per audit module. (How to pay fees at UCD). A small number of modules are worth 10 credits and will incur a higher fee. What happens if I don't pay my fees?

Is there financial support available?

Yes, there are some means-tested supports available to help cover your costs. Options include the Open Learning Fee Waiver the Sanctuary Programme, and the Part-Time Student Support Fund.

What is the deadline for upgrading from audit to credit?

It is possible to upgrade from audit to credit within three weeks of the start of the module.

Can I withdraw or receive a refund?

If you plan to withdraw from the Open Learning Programme it's important that you get in touch with us, as this will impact your student record and may have negative implications if you wish to return to third-level education in the future. Read more about withdrawing from a programme at UCD.

Generally, you can withdraw from a programme without financial or academic penalty until week 8 of term.

It's therefore important that you review all of your chosen modules carefully, read the module descriptions in full and establish that the timetable suits you before you commit to the programme.

What will my Open Learning timetable be like?

Open Learning modules follow the main UCD term dates, but your timetable will be flexible, as it depends fully on the modules you choose. The more modules you choose to take, 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 am and the second on Thursday at 5 pm, with a tutorial on Wednesday at 2 pm

Therefore, in order to ensure that a module works for you, you should double-check the times by checking the module timetable search before signing up. Please note that those can change. 

Once you have registered for a module or modules, your individualised timetable will be available through your UCD Connect Account.

What is UCD Connect /SISWeb?

This is the online portal for students at UCD and is used to register for/change modules, check your timetable, your UCD email and pay fees. This UCD IT Services video explains how to log-in and use UCD Connect and SISWeb.

How do I get a student card?

As an Open Learner at UCD, you will receive a student card, which is also known as a 'UCard'. Your UCard is your official ID card whilst studying at UCD and can be used for a number of services on campus including access to the library and gym. (Information on how to collect your UCard)

What are the attendance requirements for Open Learning?

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

Can I apply for extenuating circumstances as an Open Learner?

Yes, if you have experienced serious and unanticipated difficulties which adversely affected your studies as an Open Learner, you can apply for extenuating circumstances. Again, this mainly applies to those taking modules for credit.

How long does it take to be awarded a Certificate or Diploma in Open Learning?

The amount of time it takes to complete the Certificate or Diploma varies from student to student, depending on the credit workload.  Most Open Learners intending to use it as a pathway to a degree programme receive a Certificate after one year, completing three modules per semester, but it can be done over a longer period.

How does Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) work with Open Learning?

You can apply to have prior learning recognised for:

  • The purposes of admission into a UCD programme of study.
  • Credit applied toward a UCD programme of study.
  • Transfer into or between UCD programmes.

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).

Who can I contact if I have more questions?

If you are unsure of something or have any further questions please get in touch with us either by emailing Jennifer.doyle@ucd.ie or all@ucd.ie