Studies at the Open University The Open University of Israel

Structure of Courses

Classification by discipline

Every course offered by the Open University can be classified into one of the following disciplines:

Humanities, Social Sciences, Sciences, Engineering, EFL (English as a Foreign Language)

The disciplines include the following fields:

Humanities Judaic Studies, History, Archeology, Geography, Philosophy, Literature, Linguistics, Music, Art History, Film Studies
Social Sciences Economics, Management, Accounting, Sociology, Communication, Political Science and International Relations, Education, Psychology
Sciences Mathematics, Computer Science, Natural Sciences (Chemistry, Physics, Life Sciences, Geology)

Courses are usually classified as belonging to one discipline (or field), though some courses are classified into more than one field, and some are general courses, classified only into a discipline.

Scope - Course credits

Every academic course at the Open University grants credits to students who meet all the course requirements. The number of credits granted for each course depends on the scope of the course. Most courses in the Humanities and the Social Sciences grant 6 credits, though some, whose scope is more limited, grant fewer credits. In the Sciences, courses usually grant 3, 4, or 6 credits, though some courses (usually laboratory courses) grant only 2 credits.

Studies toward a Bachelor's degree require at least 108 credits, the minimal requirement for programs of study in a single discipline. Dual-disciplinary programs have somewhat higher credit requirements, and an engineering degree requires close to 160 credits.

Course level

Courses leading to a Bachelor's degree conferred by the Open University in each of the disciplines are classified into three levels: introductory, intermediate and advanced.

Introductory courses
These courses are generally introductions to the various disciplines, and they do not require any prior university-level knowledge. An important goal of the introductory courses, albeit not their only goal, is to enable new students to familiarize themselves with the Open University's unique method of study. Among the courses offered by the Open University, there are fewer introductory courses than courses on other levels. The formal degree requirements do not include any introductory courses.

Intermediate courses
The intermediate courses focus, for the most part, on more limited topics than do the introductory courses and they assume that the student has some learning experience and a wider understanding of the discipline. In most cases, they require prior knowledge, frequently provided in introductory courses or in other intermediate courses offered by the University, however most of the intermediate courses do not have prerequisites for enrollment. Most of the courses offered by the Open University are on the intermediate level and they constitute the largest group of courses in every student's program of study.

Advanced courses
Advanced courses are generally the most difficult and in-depth courses offered on the undergraduate level, and most of these courses include materials written in English. Enrollment in all the courses on this level is conditional on the fulfillment of general or specific prerequisites. Students are not entitled to enroll in advanced level courses unless they have demonstrated proficiency in English. In order to enroll in advanced courses in Humanities and Social Sciences, students need to have accumulated at least 36 course credits on the introductory and intermediate level. In addition to these general requirements, each advanced course has specific prerequisites: other Open University courses or equivalent courses which the student completed at another academic institution. Therefore, the majority of students enroll in advanced courses at a relatively late stage of their university studies, after acquiring experience and knowledge. The prerequisites of advanced courses are specified in the description of each course.

Some of the advanced courses are seminars, in which writing a seminar paper or fulfilling an alternative seminar requirement is an integral part of the course requirements, without which credits are not granted.

In most of the advanced courses in humanities and social sciences and in mathematics, students can receive credits without writing a seminar paper, or may submit a seminar paper after successfully completing the course. In some disciplines in the sciences, a seminar paper may be written independent of advanced courses. In others - in humanities and social sciences and in some of the disciplines in the sciences - a seminar paper is the pinnacle of the student's academic training in pursuit of a Bachelor's degree. It is not an original research paper, but rather a process of defining a topic, collecting evidence, and presenting a thesis and a well-reasoned formulation of conclusions - all of which enable students to gain experience in the components of scholarly papers and in actual scientific work.

All Bachelor's degree programs of study have some kind of seminar requirement. See the specific requirements in the various disciplines.

Prior knowledge

Many courses are based on prior knowledge and/or prerequisites.

Prior Knowledge
Prior knowledge acquired at another academic institution is commensurate with knowledge gained at the Open University.

Requirements that are not at the student's discretion. A student who does not meet the prerequisites specified in the course description (or alternately, is not exempt from prerequisites due to prior academic studies), will not be allowed to enroll in the course.