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Is an OU degree considered as good as a degree from a Russel group uni?

(113 Posts)
toptramp Sun 18-Mar-12 18:34:06

Not so much an AIBU but I am thinking of doing a masters and am wondering if anyone has had experience with an OU masters course or even an undergraduate course?
Do employers give OU graduates extra kudos for being self motivated or is it irrelevant?
I would like to do myy masters at Bristol but can imagine it's tough to get on course and expensive plus it would mean a commute.

TheCunningStunt Sun 18-Mar-12 18:34:57

Not AIBU at all really....would be better in chat or student parents...

LoopyLoopsIsTentativelyBack Sun 18-Mar-12 18:37:41

Masters can usually be from a distance whatever the uni. Contact and ask.

No, OU is not respected as much, anywhere near as much.

And no, this is not an AIBU.

OneHandFlapping Sun 18-Mar-12 18:43:40

IME private sector employers do look down on OU graduates, compared to Russell University graduates. The fact that the courses are modularised, and can be fitted around other commitments over an extended period are negative factors in their view - wrongly IME - I would admire an OU graduate who has juggled a degree around childcare/another job more than a privileged full time student.

I also think that employers like the feeling of employing someone who has already been through a tough selection process. It validates their own opinion, and is probably part of the reason for the success of Oxbrige graduates.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 18-Mar-12 18:44:40

I did an OU degree when I was a SAHM, It was fantastic, and I loved it. I did Psychology and it was BPS recognised and all that. I also have a degree and PhD from what I think are RG universities (the whole RG thing is pretty new isn't it?). Imperial College and Edinburgh? I think it depends what you want to do really.

joanofarchitrave Sun 18-Mar-12 18:46:51

What OneHandFlapping said.

As a (past) recruiter, I would always put OU graduates at the top of the shortlist (if they had a good result) because of the dedication required to study off your own bat while working. Obviously they would need to fit the other requirements of the job description.

To be fair, a lot of students at other universities now get their degrees while working and/or as mature students with families.

TeacupTempest Sun 18-Mar-12 18:48:43

Yes, in my experience. Perhaps it depends upon the subject.

Themumsnot Sun 18-Mar-12 18:52:11

It depends on what subject and area. I would disagree with Loopy, up to a point. You need to look at what you want to do with your masters and what the employers in question are looking for. Some OU MAs are very highly thought of by some employers. And some RG group masters programmes are crap.

Themumsnot Sun 18-Mar-12 18:54:49

What I meant by all that waffle is that you need to be clear in your own mind what you want out of the MA course you do and then match that as closely as possible with the courses on offer rather than using the awarding body's perceived social status as a determining factor in your decision.

DarrowbyEightFive Sun 18-Mar-12 18:58:52

DH is currently doing a distance-learning MA from a RG university. I get the feeling that OU courses are still generally seen as 'a little extra' to do in your spare time rather than a serious academic pursuit. Of course that's a very outdated attitude, but now that the traditional universities are increasingly getting into distance learning themselves I do wonder what advantage there is to doing a OU course that RG universities can't offer. DH's MA course is very well designed with online tutorials and material, and there's a lot of modular flexibility.

Fraktal Sun 18-Mar-12 19:05:15

Bachelors not as good, wrongly IMO. Masters are currently equivalent because you do them while working particularly in areas such as education. However now other unis are catching on I don't know how long that will hold up.

Amateurish Sun 18-Mar-12 19:08:52

Ime the content of an ou course is not as advanced as a similar undergraduate course from a top uni.

catgirl1976 Sun 18-Mar-12 19:10:32

Not as respected. But I wouldn't get too hung up on RG. 1 in 5 graduates are from a RG uni.

It does dePend though on the field etc and who you are asking. For a role where the degree is not the primary requisite employers may admire the fact that someone has had the initiative, self deiscpline and motivation to do an OU degree and those attributes may be more valuable than the degree itself IYSWIM

RobertMugabe Sun 18-Mar-12 19:22:26

I work in Higher Education and my colleagues generally acknowledge that OU courses are at least as difficult and demanding as more conventional university courses. Some of us act as external examiners for the OU and other, more conventional institutions and therefore have an insight into the different programmes, standards and learning outcomes, so are in a good position to judge their relative merits.

Any employer who judges a job candidate on where they studied, rather than what they studied and how well they did must have a very narrow world view.

glamourousgranny42 Sun 18-Mar-12 19:22:47

I got an honours degree with thw OU. In my experience people have always respected it. The materials are second to none, it shows dedication and self management that full time study doesn't necessarily require.

frownieface Sun 18-Mar-12 19:25:57

I am currently studying with the OU for my history degree, I also work full time. I hope that my degree will be as respected as someone who has a degree from a traditional uni.

RobertMugabe Sun 18-Mar-12 19:26:00

Amateurish - just out of interest, why do you believe this? Have you done research into this? If so, I'd be very interested in hearing about it.

ReallyTired Sun 18-Mar-12 19:29:56

"Do employers give OU graduates extra kudos for being self motivated or is it irrelevant?
I would like to do myy masters at Bristol but can imagine it's tough to get on course and expensive plus it would mean a commute."

I imagine a lot depends what your masters is in and what you plan to do for employment.

My FIL has done several OU courses in Maths and he tells me the teaching is excellent.

What are you planning to do your masters in?

Amateurish Sun 18-Mar-12 19:34:52

No research robert just personal experience.

RobertMugabe Sun 18-Mar-12 19:41:51

As a student or an academic? Have you taught/studied on both?

TheFallenMadonna Sun 18-Mar-12 19:43:27

Do you have wide experience of different subjects and universities? I can't really compare from my own experience, because I did two quite different subjects at my "real" college and the OU.

Geranium3 Sun 18-Mar-12 20:08:51

I wonder if there will be a marked increase in the uptake of OU degrees in the next few years amongst school leavers relunctant to take on so much debt from a traditional degree? How much approx do OU degrees cost?

southeastastra Sun 18-Mar-12 20:15:40


giveitago Sun 18-Mar-12 20:22:39

Dunno - my df did an ou degree back in the '80's he was in his 40's . However, he gave it up early. He'd previously been to an ivy league uni in the US on scholarship and dropped out but because the OU was modular and the US has been modular for years he was able to get a degree in the US with the combined modules. That was pretty unusual back then in the UK.

I think a uni in south africa (Wits?) do modular distance learning that's considered fantastic these days.

worzelswife Sun 18-Mar-12 20:23:10

I'm really genuinely surprised by so many people saying it isn't as respected

That is at odds with everything I know. People on here have asked this question before and usually lots of people come on and say that they are employers and value OU study very highly indeed, because of the motivation and time it takes, plus the standard of teaching is good.

I went to Oxbridge, I also have an OU degree. The standard of the OU work was excellent. It was hard going too; I had to work very hard for it.

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