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Postgraduate Diploma in Humanities

This diploma course, part of our postgraduate programme in the humanities, will suit anyone with appropriate entry qualifications who has a passion for the arts and is looking for an intellectual challenge. It is designed to allow you to tailor your qualification to a particular subject interest. At present we offer subject lines in art history, classical studies, English, history, music, philosophy and religious studies.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Career relevance and employability

Studying for a diploma course will provide you with an opportunity to build on skills acquired at undergraduate level. It will further develop your capability to read and analyse large amounts of written material and enable you to apply your skills through the production of a project. These transferable skills are in demand in many areas of the public and private sector, such as advertising, marketing and public relations; educational, charity and development; or government and public administration.

Completing the diploma will give you a worthwhile qualification in its own right, and will also take you two-thirds of the way along the route to achieving a highly respected MA in Humanities qualification.

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.

Modules

For this 120-credit postgraduate diploma you require:

EITHER

At least 30 credits from the following optional modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Postgraduate foundation module in art history (A840)

Prepare for higher level study of art history by learning about methodological approaches, from biography and iconography to feminist art history and the 'period eye'.

See full description.

60 Feb FINAL
Postgraduate foundation module in classical studies (A860)

Study the ancient world through four interdisciplinary topics - social history, ideas and values, literature and archaeology - honing your research and analysis skills in the process.

See full description.

60 Feb FINAL
Postgraduate foundation module in music (A870)

Find out how music research informs the study of musical performance through examining sources from recordings to ethnographies, across music from many periods and styles.

See full description.

60 Jan
Postgraduate foundation module in philosophy (A850)

Gain postgraduate-level skills in research, analysis and presentation of an argument, and explore some of the contemporary debates in philosophy on the theme of personhood.

See full description.

60 Jan

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules A810, A820, A830, AA810, AA820, AA830

And at least 30 credits from the following optional modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Issues in contemporary social and political philosophy (A851)

Building on the philosophy foundation course, explore issues going beyond simply academic philosophy - citizenship, nationalism, democracy and more - developing your critical skills in the process.

See full description.

60 Feb
Performances and repertories (A871)

Study musical performances - Western, non-Western and popular - in relation to the environments and institutions in which composers worked, pursuing your own enthusiasms through the course.

See full description.

60 Feb
The Greek theatre (A861)

Study all aspects of Athenian drama in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE, from tragedy to comedy, including staging, contemporary audience and later critical debates.

See full description.

60 Feb
Themes and issues in contemporary art history (A841)

Explore issues currently important in art history - from recent developments in the social history of art to themes of identity and difference in contemporary works.

See full description.

60 Feb

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations the discontinued modules A811, A812, A813, A821, A822, A823, A824, A831, A832, A833, A834, D850, D851, D852, D854, D857

OR

120 credits from the following modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
MA English part 1 (A815)

Expand on your previous study and prepare for your dissertation through an exploration of a rich variety of literary texts, from the ancient past to the present.

See full description.

120 Sep
MA History part 1 (A825)

Explore British and Irish histories from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries and increase your understanding of a range of key approaches to studying history.

See full description.

120 Sep
MA Religious Studies part 1 (A880)

Focusing on controversies, religion from the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries, and methods in Religious Studies, this course will help you prepare for your dissertation.

See full description.

120 Sep FINAL

Educational aims

This taught postgraduate programme in humanities will:

  • provide you with appropriate training in the techniques of postgraduate study in the humanities
  • allow a degree of flexibility in some disciplines, so that you can combine modules from more than one subject specialism.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of the programme are described in four areas.

Knowledge and understanding

When you have completed this diploma you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • a range of research tools and methods appropriate to postgraduate study in the humanities
  • current issues and debates in one or more humanities subject area.

Cognitive skills

When you have completed this diploma you will be able to:

  • evaluate critically current research in one or more humanities area
  • evaluate and critique some of the methods used in humanities research
  • use concepts and theories appropriately
  • evaluate bodies of evidence and draw conclusions from them.

Practical and/or professional skills

When you have completed this diploma you will be able to:

  • use research libraries, their archives and their contents efficiently
  • use specialist online databases and other online facilities for postgraduate study
  • form arguments at postgraduate level and express those arguments in substantial pieces of writing using proper academic conventions
  • plan a project according to specific guidelines
  • work independently on a research project.

Key skills

When you have completed this diploma you will be able to demonstrate the following skills:

Communication

You will be able to:

  • communicate effectively in writing to a specialised audience
  • vary your means of communication according to the specialised task at hand
  • be aware of the tools which can help you in the task of effective communication.

Improving own learning and performance

You will be able to:

  • plan an essay at postgraduate level
  • design a research project with some support from the study materials and a tutor
  • use feedback from your tutor and fellow students effectively to modify this programme of work
  • use other resources, such as libraries and ICT resources, to improve your learning.

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