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  • Open University FREE courses for those in Northern Ireland

    Open University FREE courses for those in Northern Ireland

    1,000+ places available for selected courses. Normally up to £3,000


    If you live in Northern Ireland, you can apply to enrol onto a totally free Open University (OU) course, until 6pm on Fri 1 Oct. There are 23 free postgraduate and microcredential courses to choose from, which usually cost up to £3,000. There are over 1,100 places available across the 23 courses and the scheme is open to all residents of Northern Ireland over the age of 18, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. 

    Who's eligible?

    To be eligible for a place, you must be:

    • Over 18
    • Living in Northern Ireland
    • Eligible to work in Northern Ireland

    See the 'Who can apply' section on the OU website for full details. 

    What courses are available?

    There are 23 courses to choose from under this scheme, including postgraduate modules, and postgraduate and undergraduate microcredentials. The courses will be largely delivered online, and vary in length from 10-12 weeks to six months. The microcredential courses will start in October and the postgraduate modules will start in November. 

    A few examples include:

    • Effective Strategic Management in Business and the Public Sector (postgraduate module) – normally £3,140
    • Data Management (postgraduate module) – normally £1,475
    • Supply Chain Management (postgraduate module) – normally £1,570
    • Agile Leadership and Management (microcredential) – normally £750
    • Tackling the Climate Crisis: Innovation from Cuba (microcredential) – normally £450

    How to apply

    To apply for a course you'll need to fill in one of two application forms (depending on the course type you choose), which can be found under the 'How to apply' section via the above link. Once you've checked you meet the entry requirements for your chosen module and have filled out the form, you'll receive confirmation that your application has been received from OU within one working day (so if you submit on Friday, you won't receive confirmation until Monday). 

    The OU also offers a range of free courses that are available for everyone via its 'OpenLearn' platform, including the MSE 'Academoney' financial education course

  • Open University 800+ FREE short courses

    Open University 800+ FREE short courses

    Distance learning incl Chinese, Spanish & managing money


    The Open University is a distance learning university with an open admissions policy (many of its undergraduate courses have no formal entry requirements). Like most universities, there are hefty course fees, but it also offers more than 800 short online courses completely free via its Future Learn and Open Learn schemes. These are ongoing courses, but we reckon they're good enough to share here. 

    Some of these courses are short extracts from longer Open University courses, and others have been adapted specifically for these schemes. They include a range of subjects such as creative writing, history and languages. There's even a course on managing your finances featuring MSE founder Martin Lewis.

    Future Learn - 62 online courses with a set timeframe and tutors 

    The Future Learn site is owned by The Open University but also offers online courses from other UK universities. They're run during set periods of time, and there are tutors to help you. For some of these courses you have the option to pay for a certificate at the end (£40ish). 

    How to join a Future Learn course

    To enrol on a course you will need to click on this Future Learn link and create an account using your email address and select your chosen course. Alternatively, if you fancy any of the courses below, the link will take you directly to that course's sign-up page.

    Current courses include:

    Open Learn - 750+ self-learn online courses with no timeframe

    The Open Learn site offers all the Open University online courses which have been featured on Future Learn in the past. There is no set timeframe to complete them and there are no tutors. There are currently 750+ available. It's worth noting that you won't receive any qualifications from completing these courses. 

    How to join an Open Learn course

    You can access the majority of the Open Learn course materials without creating an account, but the Open University says that registering (which is free), gives you access to additional features, such as activity records which track your progress on each course. You can click on this Open Learn link or the links below will take you to the relevant application page for each course. 

    Free courses include: