OU Study and Research


Qualifications Overview

If you are a student who is interested in Biology, Life Sciences or Health Science and you are deterred from studying these topics by the prospect of being expected to cause harm to animals, please do not be put off. You can now study for Life Sciences qualifications at the Open University without causing harm to animals.

For information about the Open University’s current undergraduate qualifications see Life Sciences qualifications.



Life Sciences Need Caring Students

What we need

We need a new a generation of biologists who are not prepared to harm animals, but who will instead pioneer humane research methods to further scientific knowledge. To achieve this, we need trained teachers who are biologists unwilling to harm animals in order to break the cycle of students being told that they must be willing to accept the principle of harming sentient beings in the cause of furthering scientific knowledge and understanding.

The outcomes of using animals

Unfortunately, the expectation of having to harm animals attracts a disproportionate number of students comfortable with cruelty to study life sciences thus perpetuating the cycle of cruelty disguised as science. This in turn deters potential future caring researchers who could make great strides in furthering our knowledge of human health.

Practices need change

Harmful use of animals in research and education continues because "that's the way it's always done" and there is a whole academic industry of gaining funding by submitting research proposals involving animals and dressing them up to be presented as medical research to benefit humans.

  • The way life sciences are taught and researched needs to change to remove the cruelty.
  • The pressure to harm animals has a brutalising effect on students.
  • The pressure to harm animals stresses students, preventing them from concentrating, in turn compromising their ability to learn.
  • Animal models make poor predictors of disease outcomes leading to the introduction of harmful treatments and research blind alleys.

Yes, we want to understand the nature and functioning of living organisms, including ourselves, but we need to gain this understanding from a perspective of respect and appreciation for life, not with a careless, abusive approach.