Open universities can be described as universities or colleges with an open-door policy. This means that they have minimal or no admission requirements in terms of formal academic qualifications.
Their aim with this open-door policy is to make further education open and available to anyone who wants to improve or expand their education.
Most open universities do not have any specific admission criteria. This means that regardless of your educational back ground or work experience, or lack of it, you stand a good chance of being accepted.
Some open university courses do have some minimal admission criteria to ensure that students who enrol do have the ability to cope with the course. For example, some require students to take an English proficiency test, if English is not their mother tongue, to ensure that they will manage the course that is presented in English.
For open courses, most institutions don’t require any specific entry requirements or academic qualifications, so all students are welcomed to attend, regardless of their educational background or work experience.
Students at open universities can pursue undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, as well as non-degree qualifications such as diplomas and certificates, or continuing education units.
There are open universities on every continent around the globe and millions of students use them to further their education in a wide variety of fields of study.
For South African students, where there are many problems with violence and politics on local campuses and some South African universities losing international recognition, the opportunity that open universities offer are a fantastic solution. Read our article about 10 Benefits of Online Learning
Open learning, online learning and distance education are all solutions that have evolved since the explosion of the internet and the growing demand world-wide for adults to have access to education and overcome the many limiting factors of off-line education, such as cost, rigid, restrictive times, restrictive location etc.
The greatest advantage of open university degrees is that they are open to virtually everyone and they are always open.
Some Open Universities offering Online University Degrees
The Open University (UK)
Established in 1969, the Open University in the UK is one of the largest universities in Britain, with undergraduate students throughout the UK and the world. Most of the students study online.
The Open University is ranked in 13th place among all UK universities, according to a survey published in the Times Higher Educational Supplement. It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which is a voluntary, non-governmental, membership association that defines, maintains and promotes educational excellence across institutions with diverse missions, student populations and resources. The Open University has been a member since 2005 and its accreditation was re-affirmed in November 2015.
The Open University offers a wide range of online university degrees in the following fields of study:
- Arts & Humanities
- Building & Planning
- Business & Management
- Computing & IT
- Education, Childhood & Youth
- Environment & Development
- Health & Social Care
- Health & Wellbeing
- Mathematics & Statistics
- Medical Sciences
- Nursing & Healthcare Practice
- Psychology & Counselling
- Social Sciences
This open university is based in Alberta, Canada and reports to the Government of Alberta through the Ministry of Advanced Education. AU’s quality assurance mechanisms and program proposals are reviewed by the Campus Alberta Quality Council in Canada.
Athabasca University is also accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in the USA.
AU has listed over 50 online undergraduate and graduate degree, diploma and certificate programmes. You can find the comprehensive list here – Undergraduate Programs
More Open Universities will be listed here soon.
This site has just been launched in July 2018 and it is still a work in progress.