Timeframes | The Open College of the Arts | Distance Learning Degrees and Courses
Welcome school and college leavers of 2020! Browse the arts courses you can study with OCA, and our webinars about studying with us.


Course Timelines

When can I start?

 We accept enrolments all year round, so you can start at a time that suits you. Our MA Fine Art course is the only exception.

 If you’re funding the course through Student Finance, your tuition fee loan application must be approved before you can be enrolled. Your enrolment form will remain pending until your funding is in place.

How long is the degree course?

 The OCA’s Undergraduate Degree is structured into three levels. Level 1 equates to Higher Education Level 4 (HE4), Level 2 equates to HE5 and Level 3 equates to HE6.

 Students complete each level in up to three years, the degree overall in up to nine years, and recommend studying a minimum of twelve hours per week in order to complete a 40-credit unit in twelve months, and a 60-credit unit in eighteen months.

Can I complete the degree course sooner?

If you’re able to dedicate additional time to your studies, then you could complete the course sooner. On average students finish their degree course between four and eight years.

The minimum timeframe a student can complete a degree course with the OCA is four years when studying an average of 25 to 32 hours per week if all the required units of a degree available for enrolment.

To complete a degree course in six years we advise dedicating between 16 to 21 hours per week, completing each Level in two years.

Some degree pathways advise students to complete course units in a particular order which may determine the intensity you study those units, depending on how quickly you would like to complete the degree. If you are unsure, please speak to a Student Adviser about your options.

Can I pause my studies?

Once you have enrolled onto a unit, level or the overall degree, it cannot be paused. The longer timeframes offered aim to account for most delays. Understandably, sometimes there are unexpected mitigating circumstances that affect your ability to study and, in these instances, students can apply for an extension through the mitigating circumstances policy. You should apply for extensions prior to your unit or level end date. You cannot apply for an extension beyond the maximum years allocated for the degree.

The degree timeframe begins upon enrolment to the first course unit of the degree. Level timeframes begin a similar way; enrolment to the first unit of the Level, or when the previous Level timeframe ended – whichever comes first.

What if I need more time?

The longer timeframes offered aim to account for most minor delays if you need to take longer than expected due to holidays or work commitments. We do understand that sometimes there are more serious unexpected circumstances that affect the ability to study, and in these instances, you can be supported to apply for an extension through our mitigating circumstances policy. We encourage students to seek support as early as possible in such circumstances.