Delivering part-time higher education to transform Northern Ireland

The Open University has been transforming the lives of millions of people for four decades through its innovative and quality provision of part-time higher education.


In Northern Ireland alone, as well as having over 40,000 people study with us since 1969, we deliver £66 million each year to the local economy. We’re also Northern Ireland’s top university for student satisfaction – a position we have held for the last 11 years.

People choose The Open University for many reasons. Part-time study allows people to balance their studies around the many other commitments that they may have in life, such as their jobs, their families and their caring responsibilities. Our flexible, quality teaching, delivered through cutting edge technology – from virtual classrooms to personal study apps alongside local tutorials – means individuals can study where and when it suits them, and don’t have to put their life on hold to achieve a qualification.

Part-time study also enhances and supports the capabilities of the Northern Ireland workforce. Around three quarters of our students in Northern Ireland are fitting their studies around a job, either re-skilling or up-skilling in the workplace. The majority of our students say that studying with the OU has increased their ability to do their job, improved their transferable skills, their self-esteem and their career prospects. In particular, studying with the OU in Northern Ireland can increase an individual’s lifetime earning potential by up to £85,000. Employers benefit from part-time study too, as new skills that OU students are learning as they study, are applied directly to the workplace therefore, boosting productivity.

Studying with The Open University can be an investment for a better future for many of our students – both personally and professionally. We offer a choice of payment options and our staff can advise our students on which options are most suitable for them. Nearly half of our students in Northern Ireland receive financial support towards their fees depending on their income, enabling them to access education, transform their lives and open up a host of career opportunities. With the proposed introduction of non-means-tested loans towards the costs of part-time study, even more people who want to improve their skills will have the opportunity to study with the OU than ever before. That can only be good news for Northern Ireland – enabling the development of our citizens, our workforce and our economy.

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