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  1. Mission
  2. Vision
  3. Values
  4. Our academic strategy
  5. Open to all
  6. Supporting students with disabilities
  7. Widening access in education
  8. Open access to learning materials
  9. Student charter
  10. International development

Our mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.

The Open University’s mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.

We promote educational opportunity and social justice by providing high-quality university education to all who wish to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.

Through academic research, pedagogic innovation and collaborative partnership we seek to be a world leader in the design, content and delivery of supported open learning.

How we deliver our mission

The Open University’s strategy is the means by which we will continue transforming lives through education, building on our success and delivering our mission in a changing world.

Our Annual Reports provide a record of our work, events, projects and financial highlights year by year.

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Our vision is to reach more students with life-changing learning that meets their needs and enriches society.

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In achieving our mission, we are committed to, and are guided by, the enduring Open University values of inclusivity, innovation and responsiveness.


  • We play a unique role in society, making higher education open to all
  • We promote social justice through the development of knowledge and skills


  • We lead the learning revolution, placing innovation at the heart of our teaching and research
  • We continuously seek new and better ways to inspire and enable learning
  • We create world-class research and teaching


  • We respond to the needs of individuals and employers and the communities in which they live and work
  • We are dedicated to supporting our students' learning success

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Our academic strategy

The Open University’s Academic Strategy describes how we shall achieve our objective of academic excellence in pursuit of the University’s mission.

It sets out how the academic community will contribute toward achieving the OU's vision of reaching more students with life-changing learning that meets their needs and enriches society.

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Open to all

Most of our undergraduate courses have no formal entry requirements. We believe that the qualifications our students have when they leave are the only ones that matter.

We are committed to promoting equal opportunities for all, and close monitoring makes sure that we live up to our ideals.

Equality and diversity website

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Supporting students with disabilities

The OU has more disabled students than any other university in Europe. The flexible nature of OU study and our experience in harnessing enabling technologies to support learning means over 24,000  people with a wide range of disabilities – including mental health issues – choose to study with us each year.

Services for disabled students

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Widening access in education

We work in partnership with national and local organisations to open up higher education to underrepresented groups, reaching out to potential students in their communities – and ensuring that, once on board, these students receive the support they need to succeed in their studies.

Widening access

Our Access modules are designed to help people find out what it’s like to study with the OU, build study skills and gain confidence.

Access modules

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Open access to learning materials

Every day, millions of people access free OU content, no matter where they live in the world. All they need is an internet connection:

Platform Description
OpenLearn Free OU course materials and other educational resources, delivered through a multi-award-winning website. Visitors don’t need to register as students.
YouTube Over 800 videos including clips about student life, current research and extracts from OU broadcasts and teaching materials.
Open Research Online The Open University’s repository of research publications. It features over 40,000 research outputs across a broad range of OU research from science to arts. Where copyright permissions allow, a full copy of each research publication is directly available from ORO.
CORE The world’s largest collection of open access research papers delivered in partnership by the Open University and Jisc. CORE hosts over 19 million Open Access full text papers and allows searching and accessing over 170 million research papers.

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Student charter

The Open University is more than just a place of learning - it is a community. The OU student charter, developed jointly by the University and the OU Students Association, sets out our responsibilities to one another as members of the OU community.

Read the OU student charter

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International development

The Open University has been committed to international development for over 20 years. We deliver flexible, adaptable and scalable programmes in partnership with governments, NGOs, funding institutions and local partners – addressing areas such as frontline health, teacher education and English language teaching. Our work ranges from vital skills training for frontline healthcare workers across sub-Saharan Africa, to projects designed to transform English language education in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

More about OU international development programmes

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