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Science: online short courses for schools

In addition to the 10-credit versions, some of our Science short courses are available in an online form only without university credits for a fee of £165. These versions are available for registration at any time of the year with study lasting between 6 and 18 months depending on the date of registration. Although these courses will not carry university credits, students will be able to test their learning via online interactive assessment and receive a statement of participation. They will continue to provide the curriculum enrichment and experience of independent study that students have benefited from in the highly successful Young Applicants in Schools Scheme.

Special arrangements exist for schools in Scotland. Further information is available from YASS scheme.

Science: sport, the science behind medals

You'll learn about the science that is a basic part of the way that athletes move and interact with their environment, and also about scientific concepts that athletes need to understand if they are to compete at elite level.

Science: galaxies, stars and planets

What makes a black hole ‘black’? Why do some stars appear red and others blue? This course answers questions like these and explores the fascinating science behind the galaxies, stars and planets of our Universe.

Science: the weather

This course provides an introduction to weather patterns and events around the world, explaining the main drivers that determine the weather on a seasonal and daily basis.

Science: the frozen planet

Exploring the wonder of the polar world, this short course is about the science of the frozen planet that covers over one-third of the Earth at any one time.

Science: plants and people

The theme of this course is 'plants and the living planet' and it explores the crucial role that plants play in the everyday lives of all of us.

Science: microbes

Explore the intriguing world of bacteria, viruses, yeast and other microscopic organisms – an empire of creatures that extends into every facet of human life and the environment.

Science: human genetics and health issues

An area at the forefront of developments in medical science, this course examines the patterns of inheritance of genes, how genes function and why there are differences between individuals and between populations.

Science: molecules, medicines and drugs

Modern research at the molecular level constantly adds to the range of drugs available to combat ill health.

Science: living without oil

This course explores oil’s vital role in the modern world, as a source of both energy and modern materials, and discusses the issues arising from our dependence on it, assessing some of the scientific developments that could lead to sustainable alternatives to oil.

Science: nuclear energy

The underlying science, the technology, the biological effects of radioactivity and the costs of producing electricity are all examined in such a way as to help explain why nuclear energy seems so certain to form a part of our energy future.


Information for schools

Science: online short courses are available for registration at any time of the year with study lasting between 6 and 18 months depending on the date of registration.

  • 80–100 hours of study over a minimum of 6 months
  • wholly online structured study materials
  • expert science learning advisers provide online support
  • online interactive course quiz to check your own learning and receive feedback
  • no formal assessment so no University credits offered, however details of your study can be entered into the UCAS Apply system.
  • For more detail see Information for schools. 


Registration for individual under-18 year old students and for school groups will be managed by the University’s Young Applicants’ Team. You can contact this team by phoning 0300 303 6036 or via email -


Schools receiving young people’s funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) can claim funding for these courses. Each student taking a course has the hours timetabled for the course included in the non-qualification time recorded for their study programme in the school census return. As such, the time spent on the course contributes to the overall size of the student’s study programme and the amount of funding they receive.

For more information on funding for young people’s study programmes, see the ‘Funding regulations’ guidance:

UCAS (recording on)

Details of study of these courses can be entered into the UCAS Apply system under the 'add qualifications' section within your school record. Search for ‘OU Online Science (level 4)’. There is no pass or fail on these courses but the percentage gained on the course quiz can be entered into the ‘other’ box.

If you have any queries please contact us at STEM Schools Enquiries.

Special arrangements exist for schools in Scotland. Further information is available from YASS scheme.

Study of the 10-credit modules should be recorded in ‘OU Modules in schools/YASS (level 4)’ as before.

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