Open Uni- stages, credits and student finance

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Stacey230494
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Hey! Complete newbie here so this will probably come across as a complete mess but I have no idea what I’m doing but I need help with so much!

I’ve registered for Honours Forensic Psychology starting Oct 2021. I’ve been told to choose my modules. I see there’s 3 stages, 2 modules each (60 credits). Do I only select one module now or every module for the whole degree? I see some courses have optional modules but these only state compulsory modules. If I enroll in one module, how do I add another if I find I have more time on my hands? How does that work with student finance? I’m not sure what I was expecting but perhaps to enrol on the full degree, and then input this info to student finance ie. how many credits, over how long etc to find out the amount they’ll pay. But it seems like it’s done each module separately? Does that mean you apply each year for the next module ? If I’ve received funding for the 60credits module and choose an extra module how do I apply for more funding?

You can see how confused I am with lack of knowledge.

Like if I started module in Oct 2021 that’s 2021/2022 funding. Then the next module would start in oct 2022 would that be another academic year for funding or would it be part of the 2022? I think I’ve confused myself! That would be even trickier if I was to start one module in October and another in April, how would funding be sorted then ?!

Is funding automatically rolled over to the next year, or do you have to apply each year ?

I just don’t want to get tripped up by misunderstanding and not being prepared. So if anyone is able to shed some light on these topics I’d be so so grateful!! Hopefully someone can make sense of some of my ramblings above!
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artful_lounger
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So, to start with for funding, the model is based on academic years. So 21/22, 22/23 etc. With the OU it can get a bit tricky because they do also have modules that start in January/February that run to September; I believe these count for the academic year you started them in, but I've heard some suggestions it can cause issues due to not being able to take more than 120 credits of modules in a year (i.e. an academic year). I don't know of any April start modules but that would probably cause even more awkwardness so worth checking with the OU and SFE before enrolling on those.

This brings us to the next matter, about modules, credits, and stages. The three stages of modules correspond to the 3 years of a standard 3 year full time degree course. However as OU courses may be taken part time (and frequently are), the modules are divided into stages to make clear what level each module is so you can track your progress in the degree and ensure you take the right number of modules at the right levels.

Full time study would be equivalent to taking 120 credits of modules per year; you would normally have to take 120 credits of stage 1, then stage 2, then stage 3 modules, in that order. However you can study part-time if you wish, and if you are studying part-time it's up to you how many credits you take in a year. Most modules at the OU are 60 credits for "arts" subjects, and 30 or 60 credits for STEM subjects. You have to enroll in modules before they start, so if all your modules are October start but you only enrolled in one of them, but decided you have enough time to take more modules, you wouldn't be able to enroll in the others until the next time they are available for enrollment; sometimes modules are available twice a year (usually October and January starts if so).

SFE funding is something you need to apply to each year you are studying. If you begin studying 60 credits of modules in October, but then pick up e.g. another 30 credit module in January, you would need to contact SFE to update your course information with how many credits of modules you are studying so they are able to organise the funding for it. Changing your "intensity" (i.e. how many credits you are studying) in the middle of the academic year might take a bit of time to update so make sure you plan in advance and organise with SFE as soon as possible, as it might delay your funding otherwise (although in my experience the OU are understanding if there are delays and won't immediately charge you out of pocket for the module(s) or anything!).

I would suggest you start with 30 or 60 credits of modules initially to get a feel for the nature of studying independently as a distance learner and balancing that with your life and if applicable work. Then you can decide for the following academic year whether to take on more modules or not - I'd not suggest picking up extra modules mid year in your first year with the OU because you might find when you get to summer assessment period you are a lot busier than expected and find it hard to balance your ongoing module you started mid-year with your end of module assessments/exams in your other one!
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Stacey230494
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
So, to start with for funding, the model is based on academic years. So 21/22, 22/23 etc. With the OU it can get a bit tricky because they do also have modules that start in January/February that run to September; I believe these count for the academic year you started them in, but I've heard some suggestions it can cause issues due to not being able to take more than 120 credits of modules in a year (i.e. an academic year). I don't know of any April start modules but that would probably cause even more awkwardness so worth checking with the OU and SFE before enrolling on those.

This brings us to the next matter, about modules, credits, and stages. The three stages of modules correspond to the 3 years of a standard 3 year full time degree course. However as OU courses may be taken part time (and frequently are), the modules are divided into stages to make clear what level each module is so you can track your progress in the degree and ensure you take the right number of modules at the right levels.

Full time study would be equivalent to taking 120 credits of modules per year; you would normally have to take 120 credits of stage 1, then stage 2, then stage 3 modules, in that order. However you can study part-time if you wish, and if you are studying part-time it's up to you how many credits you take in a year. Most modules at the OU are 60 credits for "arts" subjects, and 30 or 60 credits for STEM subjects. You have to enroll in modules before they start, so if all your modules are October start but you only enrolled in one of them, but decided you have enough time to take more modules, you wouldn't be able to enroll in the others until the next time they are available for enrollment; sometimes modules are available twice a year (usually October and January starts if so).

SFE funding is something you need to apply to each year you are studying. If you begin studying 60 credits of modules in October, but then pick up e.g. another 30 credit module in January, you would need to contact SFE to update your course information with how many credits of modules you are studying so they are able to organise the funding for it. Changing your "intensity" (i.e. how many credits you are studying) in the middle of the academic year might take a bit of time to update so make sure you plan in advance and organise with SFE as soon as possible, as it might delay your funding otherwise (although in my experience the OU are understanding if there are delays and won't immediately charge you out of pocket for the module(s) or anything!).

I would suggest you start with 30 or 60 credits of modules initially to get a feel for the nature of studying independently as a distance learner and balancing that with your life and if applicable work. Then you can decide for the following academic year whether to take on more modules or not - I'd not suggest picking up extra modules mid year in your first year with the OU because you might find when you get to summer assessment period you are a lot busier than expected and find it hard to balance your ongoing module you started mid-year with your end of module assessments/exams in your other one!
Thank you so very much for the info! I wish it wasn’t so stupid but I don’t have any peers or family to ask!

Regarding student finance, you say you have to apply each year .. so that means there’s no automatic renewal each year for the degree? I’m not sure what student finance asks for as applications aren’t open yet. But do you say how many years your degree is and then get that funded each year. Or do you only apply for one module, and then submit a new application for the next module the following year etc ?

Also reading up on the Forensic Psychology info page it states that your degree class will depend on your marks in stages 2 and 3. So what does stage 1 ( 2 modules) offer? I’d understand if it was one years worth of study but studying part time would be 2 modules over 2 years, for what exactly ?
Last edited by Stacey230494; 1 month ago
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Stacey230494)
Thank you so very much for the info! I wish it wasn’t so stupid but I don’t have any peers or family to ask!

Regarding student finance, you say you have to apply each year .. so that means there’s no automatic renewal each year for the degree? I’m not sure what student finance asks for as applications aren’t open yet. But do you say how many years your degree is and then get that funded each year. Or do you only apply for one module, and then submit a new application for the next module the following year etc ?

Also reading up on the Forensic Psychology info page it states that your degree class will depend on your marks in stages 2 and 3. So what does stage 1 ( 2 modules) offer? I’d understand if it was one years worth of study but studying part time would be 2 modules over 2 years, for what exactly ?
When you apply for funding from SFE you will put in the degree you are studying, and for part-time study the intensity (how many credits you are studying this year vs how many full time study is worth). From this SFE will calculate your entitlement to finance from them and hence when you have confirmed your attendance with the OU, pay them the tuition fees. You need to do this each year in case e.g. you change your course intensity, you change degree programme or university altogether, you need to repeat a year, take a year out, etc. In this way your funding is updated each year with what your actual study mode is for that year. So normally you apply for funding once for each academic year (I believe part-time funding applications open over the summer). If you started with some modules in October but then picked up another one in January for example, you wouldn't make a new application for that, your current one would be updated to reflect the changes to your study in the current academic year. Then you would apply for funding separately for the new academic year at the appropriate time, and so on and so forth.

In terms of stage 1 vs 2/3 counting towards your final classification, this is fairly typical of all unis (including brick unis) that first year doesn't count, or only counts a little bit, towards your final classification. The rationale for this is I believe to allow students a grace period to adjust to studying at university level and often moving away from home and settling into a new environment. The first year/stage 1 modules are still important normally in terms of background as usually stage 2/3 modules will build off of the knowledge you gain from those stage 1 modules. Also while it may not count towards your final classification directly, you will usually be required to pass the modules at least, and also performance in stage 1 modules might be a factor for the examiners to consider if you fall on the borderline between classifications at the end of your degree.

-Eirlys- might know more about how the stage 1 psychology modules at the OU specifically relate to later modules though - my above comments are in general based on my experiences studying other subjects at uni level. Remember though that studying for a degree is a cumulative exercise, and not all the work you do on the degree will be summative (i.e. counting towards a grade); you will also have formative assessments, which are still very important for developing your knowledge to the level that would be expected of someone with a degree in your field, and also that will be important for preparing for summative assessments (including exams) later!
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-Eirlys-
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(Original post by Stacey230494)
Hey! Complete newbie here so this will probably come across as a complete mess but I have no idea what I’m doing but I need help with so much!

I’ve registered for Honours Forensic Psychology starting Oct 2021. I’ve been told to choose my modules. I see there’s 3 stages, 2 modules each (60 credits). Do I only select one module now or every module for the whole degree? I see some courses have optional modules but these only state compulsory modules. If I enroll in one module, how do I add another if I find I have more time on my hands? How does that work with student finance? I’m not sure what I was expecting but perhaps to enrol on the full degree, and then input this info to student finance ie. how many credits, over how long etc to find out the amount they’ll pay. But it seems like it’s done each module separately? Does that mean you apply each year for the next module ? If I’ve received funding for the 60credits module and choose an extra module how do I apply for more funding?

You can see how confused I am with lack of knowledge.

Like if I started module in Oct 2021 that’s 2021/2022 funding. Then the next module would start in oct 2022 would that be another academic year for funding or would it be part of the 2022? I think I’ve confused myself! That would be even trickier if I was to start one module in October and another in April, how would funding be sorted then ?!

Is funding automatically rolled over to the next year, or do you have to apply each year ?

I just don’t want to get tripped up by misunderstanding and not being prepared. So if anyone is able to shed some light on these topics I’d be so so grateful!! Hopefully someone can make sense of some of my ramblings above!
Hey,

If you are planning to study full time, you select the modules for that year (2x60 credits). I don't think the site would let you choose later stages anyway. If you want to study part time, you sign up for one 60 cred module. You can't enrol on another module in the middle of a module. At level one, you may be able to start one in October and a second one in February which is what I did. However you do not get a Summer break and the second module will end not too long before the next year. Later levels only offer October starts. You can't pick and choose when you start a module, they have set start times.

Regarding student finance, you say you have to apply each year .. so that means there’s no automatic renewal each year for the degree? I’m not sure what student finance asks for as applications aren’t open yet. But do you say how many years your degree is and then get that funded each year. Or do you only apply for one module, and then submit a new application for the next module the following year etc ?
You apply every year for student finance or for each module you've signed up to for that year. You can apply for more funding for a second module that starts in February which is what I did at level 1. October-October is one academic year, so a February start is within the same academic year.

Yes you say how many years you plan to study for (in my case 5). Each year, you state which year of study you're going into, so in October, I'm going into my 5th year of study.

Also reading up on the Forensic Psychology info page it states that your degree class will depend on your marks in stages 2 and 3. So what does stage 1 ( 2 modules) offer? I’d understand if it was one years worth of study but studying part time would be 2 modules over 2 years, for what exactly ?

Level 1 doesn't count towards your final degree class. Only level 2 and 3 (x2) do. This is the same in other universities where year one is seen more of an introductory year.
Last edited by -Eirlys-; 1 month ago
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