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Postgraduate Certificate in Computing

Information technology is the key source of competitiveness for all sectors: it can open new markets, increase performance and drive productivity. Increasingly, professionals in the industry are expected to have a broad range of information technology and business skills to cope with the challenges posed by the latest trends in the software industry, such as remote and collaborative working, standardisation of technologies, and outsourcing. We offer a range of postgraduate and post-experience modules with case-study-driven learning, which provide extensible knowledge that can be applied to lead technological and organisational change in the business environment.

The postgraduate certificate course is a valuable qualification in itself or it can be the first qualification in a programme of professional development leading to a postgraduate diploma and an MSc degree. You can choose any four 15-credit modules from across the range of postgraduate computing topics. Later options in some of the diplomas will enable you to broaden your knowledge by choosing business or technology modules.

All the modules for the certificate are available with electronic submission and marking of assignments and so can be studied anywhere in the world.

If you would like more information about the postgraduate ICT and computing programme, you can visit our website. This site includes additional information about the modules and qualifications, recommended routes through the programme and sample study materials.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Career relevance and employability

Nearly 20,000 students from over 7000 organisations have experienced for themselves how modules from our programme can improve their personal effectiveness and increase the performance and competitiveness of their employers.

The modules are designed for practising professionals and managers in the fields of computing, manufacturing, and engineering, and related services, who need to update or extend their skills and knowledge in specific areas, allowing them to gain recognised qualifications to develop their careers.

BCS - The Chartered Institute for IT offers exemption from some of its membership requirements for holders of an appropriate MSc in computing from The Open University. For more details view or download our Recognition leaflet 3.7 Computing. BCS regulations are on their website.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.


For this postgraduate certificate you require:

60 credits from the following postgraduate optional modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Analysis and design of enterprise systems: an object-oriented approach (M885)

This introduction to the object-oriented approach to software, its principles, benefits, techniques and practical applications, gives you practical skills in applying object-oriented analysis and design.

See full description.

15 Nov
Computer forensics and investigations (M889)

If a criminal stole your organisation's data, could you detect it? This course gives you the grounding you need to investigate forensic computing incidents.

See full description.

15 May
Databases in enterprise systems (M888)

Describes how relational databases can be used to maintain persistent data in software systems.

See full description.

15 May
Information security management (M886)

Gain knowledge and skills to plan the implementation of an information security management system that provides efficient, effective safeguards fit for your organisation's needs.

See full description.

15 May
Managing the software enterprise (M882)

Explore the acquisition, management and development of complex software systems for organisations, from procurement and maintenance to managing resources, change, quality and risk.

See full description.

15 May
Project management (M865)

This project management course is particularly applicable to technological fields, exploring project initiation, risk, estimating and contracts, planning, human factors, project execution and standard methods.

See full description.

15 May
Relational database systems (M876)

Get to grips with database technology: principles, benefits, techniques and practical applications. Learn about relational concepts and SQL - and produce your own simple relational database.

See full description.

15 Nov
Software requirements for business systems (M883)

Investigate requirements engineering - a disciplined approach to eliciting, analysing, communicating and agreeing requirements as the essential first step in the development of software.

See full description.

15 Nov
Web systems integration (M887)

Explore technologies vital for the development of internet-based applications in the context of systems integration - a new development paradigm revolutionising software production.

See full description.

15 May

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules T821, T822, T823, M873, M874, M877, M878, M879, M880, M881, M891

Educational aims

The qualification aims to enable you to study computing to the extent and level required by the National Qualifications Framework for Postgraduate Certificates. It also forms a basis for further study leading to a postgraduate diploma or MSc within the Postgraduate Computing programme.

Learning outcomes

The qualification provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

Fundamental and advanced concepts, principles and techniques from among the following topic areas, as appropriate to the optional courses studied. No individual contributing module is compulsory. Topics include:

  • requirements engineering
  • user interface design
  • software development for networked applications
  • relational database systems
  • object-oriented software development
  • distributed applications and ecommerce
  • software engineering
  • computing infrastructures
  • multi-service networks
  • advanced database technology
  • project management
  • information security management
  • software management
  • a systematic understanding and a critical awareness of current problems in their field of study or area of professional practice, appropriate to the optional modules studied.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this qualification you will be able to:

  • analyse new problems, sifting the irrelevant from the relevant and expressing the results using standard formalisms and notations
  • integrate knowledge and skills from various sources into a coherent whole, making the appropriate abstractions
  • critically evaluate, using proven methods, the strengths and weaknesses of a particular technology within a computing system application
  • deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, making informed judgements in the absence of complete data.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this qualification you will be able to:

  • appraise new developments in computing systems technology and assess applicability to a particular workplace scenario or area of academic or professional interest.

Key skills

On completion of this qualification you will be able to:

  • advance your own knowledge and understanding through independent learning
  • clearly communicate knowledge, ideas and conclusions about computing systems using appropriate media for specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • develop your problem-solving skills and apply them independently to professional or equivalent level tasks/projects/functions.

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