- Campus Distance learning Urban
- Chancellor Lord Puttnam of Queensgate CBE
- Established 1969
- Location Milton Keynes (main campus) & regional centres, United Kingdom
- Motto Learn and Live
- Postgraduates 14,405
- Students 253,075
- Type Public
- Undergraduates 195,300
- Vice Chancellor Martin G. Bean
- Vice principal http://www.open.ac.uk/
The OU was established in 1969 and the first students enrolled in January 1971. The University administration is based at Walton Hall, Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, but has regional centres in each of its thirteen regions around the United Kingdom. It also has offices and regional examination centres in most other European countries. The University awards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, as well as non-degree qualifications such as diplomas and certificates, or continuing education units. The Open University is also one of only three United Kingdom higher education institutions to gain accreditation in the United States of America by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an institutional accrediting agency, recognized by the United States Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
The OU provides university education to those wishing to pursue higher education on a part-time and/or distance learning basis, including people with health disabilities, who are officially a priority group for the university, nearly 13,000 OU students have health disabilities. Unlike other universities, where students register for a programme, OU students register separately for individual modules (which may be 10, 15, 20, 30 or 60 CATS credits, equivalent to 5, 7.5, 10, 15, or 30 ECTS credits). These modules may then be linked into degree programmes. During the 2009–10 academic year social studies was the most popular study area (with 16,381 full-time equivalent students), followed by biological and physical sciences (12,357), and historical and philosophical studies (8,686); the least popular academic fields were mass communications and documentation (123 full-time equivalent students) and creative arts and design (2,528). The most popular module during 2009–10 was DD101 An introduction to the social sciences (7,512 students), followed by AA100 The Arts Past and Present, B120 An Introduction to Business Studies, K101 An Introduction to Health and Social Care and Y163 Starting with Psychology.
The Open University has its headquarters at Walton Hall in Milton Keynes, which is 80km north of Central London, midway between Oxford and Cambridge, and just off the M1 motorway, linking it to Birmingham and the north of England. The University has invested significantly in its infrastructure for research, increasing laboratory space at Milton Keynes headquarters by nearly 50 percent in the last seven years. Our newest facility is the Jennie Lee Building, which houses dedicated laboratories for pervasive computing and deployment of ambient and ubiquitous technologies.