Earn Your Degree Online

Distance learning courses in the UK

by Waller Jamison

It's important to think about why you want to gain a degree and to make sure the course is properly accredited by the education department of the country in which you live, in the UK this is the DfES. There are plenty of bodies which accredit courses, but many of them are not recognized officially. 

If you have a specific career path in mind, it's crucial to make sure you do the right course. In this case, start at the end!

Think of the end result you want - not just the job, but also the type of organization for which you'd like to work. Contact an employer you plan to apply to once you're qualified and check whether or not they accept the qualification.

Speak to someone in the HR department and ask them if the degree you are considering is acceptable. If not, ask exactly which qualifications you need for the job you're after.

Alternatively, get in touch with the professional body which represents those in your field and get their opinion. 

Imagine spending 4 or 5 years and a large sum of money taking a course and then finding that it isn't what you need. It doesn't bear thinking about.

So check it out thoroughly before you go ahead.They should be able to provide you with a list of approved courses, both off and online.

Once you've narrowed the choice down to acceptable courses, you'll need to decide which is most suitable for you.

  • Look at the course content - does it cover all the subjects you want to take?
  • How flexible is it?
  • Will you be able to switch modules if you aren't happy with your original choice?
  • How much time are you allowed to complete your online degree?
  • Is it all online or does it include other methods of delivery?  For example the Open University, which has been providing distance learning courses since 1969, offers tuition via the TV, CDs and days schools tutorials and summer schools.
  • Will you need to brush up on your study skills and does the course provide it?
  • How much will it cost and is there any financial aid available?
  • How do your family and friends feel about your studying?
  • Will you employer be supportive, if you have to arrange time off for exams or to finish assignments on time?

Studying for a degree, online or offline, is a major undertaking. So make sure you do your research, weigh up the pros and cons and discuss your plans with friends, family or a careers advisor. But in the end - it's your decision and your life. So don't reject the possibility for the wrong reasons.

The Open University

The Open Univeristy is the UK's only university dedicated solely to distance learning and came fifth in the national rankings for teaching quality in universities in 2004, placing it above both Oxford and University College London.


The OU started was established in 1969, with the first students starting on foundation courses in January 1971. Initially, tuition was provided via TV and correspondence course, combined with some more traditional university classes.

The university continued to grow and during the 80s added a number of professional training courses to reflect the need for continuing career development. The business school is now the largest in Europe.

As technology progressed, the OU introduced new teaching media such as cassettes, video, CDs and the internet. OU teaching materials are now used in many traditional universities and colleges.

A huge variety of courses is now on offer, ranging from short courses to postgraduate degrees and teaching certificates. Teaching is delivered in various ways, depending on the course studied. And a number of courses are also offered to students outside the UK.

Distance learning with the University of London External Programme

Regardless of which part of the world you live in, you can earn your degree online via the University of London External Degree Programme, which will enable you to gain an internationally recognised qualification at either Diploma, Bachelor or Masters level.

The university has examination centres in 140 countries and it is possible for students to receive local support in more than 45 countries. To find out what is available, click on the link below:

University of London


As well as researching online courses, you will need to find some information on how to finance your studies