Birkbeck, University of London (formally Birkbeck College, informally Birkbeck), is a public research university located in Bloomsbury, London, England, and a constituent college of the federal University of London. It is regarded as one of the world’s leading universities for excellence in research and teaching.
Established in 1823 as the London Mechanics’ Institute by its founder, Sir George Birkbeck, and its supporters, Jeremy Bentham, JC Hobhouse and Henry Brougham, Birkbeck has been one of the few institutions to specialise in evening higher education. Birkbeck’s historic and main building is based in the Bloomsbury zone of Camden, in Central London, alongside a number of institutions in the same borough. In partnership with University of East London, Birkbeck has an additional large campus in Stratford, next to the Theatre Royal. Birkbeck offers over 200 undergraduate and postgraduate programmes that can be studied either part-time or full-time, though nearly all lectures are given in the evening. It also offers many continuing education courses leading to certificates and diplomas, foundation degrees, and short courses. Research at Birkbeck in 11 subject areas is rated as ‘internationally excellent’ and ‘world leading’ while over 90 percent of Birkbeck academics are research-active. Birkbeck, being part of the University of London, shares the University’s academic standards and awards University of London degrees. In common with the other University of London colleges, Birkbeck has also secured its own independent degree awarding powers, which were confirmed by the Privy Council in July 2012. The quality of degrees awarded by Birkbeck was confirmed by the UK Quality Assurance Agency following institutional audits in 2005 and 2010.
Birkbeck is a member of academic organisations such as the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the European University Association and it has a huge number of strategically significant partnerships with some of the highly ranked east Asian and south American universities. The university was awarded The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for excellence in higher education research in 2006.
The University consists of five schools that comprise a total of 19 diverse academic departments, which are:
- Department of English and Humanities
- Department of Cultures and Languages
- Department of History of Art
- Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies
- Department of Computer Science and Information Systems
- Department of Economics, Mathematics and Statistics
- Department of Management
- Department of Organizational Psychology
- Department of Law
- Department of Criminology
- Department of Biological Sciences
- Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
- Department of Psychological Sciences
- Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication
- Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies
- Department of History, Classics and Archaeology
- Department of Philosophy
- Department of Politics
- Department of Psychosocial Studies
The Guardian’s 2001 RAE subject ranking league tables put Birkbeck in the top 10 for research in the following subjects: English (1st), History (1st), History of Art (2nd), Philosophy (6th), Psychology (5th), Iberian and Latin American Languages (1st), Earth Sciences (4th), Law (9th), Economics and Econometrics (5th), and Politics and International Studies (5th).
Birkbeck’s School of English and Humanities was rated 5* in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise, as were the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, the School of Crystallography (2009 became part of the Department of Biological Sciences), and the section for Spanish and Latin American studies within the School of Languages, Linguistics and Culture, and the Dept. of Psychological Sciences in the School of Psychology—ranking these departments with, and in some cases above, Oxford and Cambridge University.
Applications for their three-year degrees, for Home/EU and international students, are made via UCAS.
Apply direct to Birkbeck for their four and six-year degrees, Foundation degrees and Certificates of Higher Education.
They welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications as they base decisions on their own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience.
The UCAS tariff score is applicable if applicants have recently studied a qualification which has a UCAS tariff equivalence.
Birkbeck welcomes applicants with a wide range of qualifications that have a UCAS tariff equivalence, including A level, IB, GNVQs and BTEC National Diplomas.
They also welcome applicants with qualifications that do not have a UCAS tariff equivalence, particularly Access to Higher Education Diplomas in related subjects, where the entry requirement is a minimum of 15 credits achieved at Merit or Distinction in subject-related units.
They also welcome applications from students with no previous qualifications or those with no recent experience of education. For more information, see the entry requirements listed for each course
They may waive formal entry requirements based on judgement of academic potential.
London’s only specialist provider of flexible, evening-taught, higher education.
83% of Birkbeck academics were entered for REF 2014, more than the average in UK universities. Many are world-class experts in their fields.
Awards internationally respected University of London degrees and qualifications.
Evening teaching gives students the opportunity to combine meaningful daytime work with study, gaining a head start on future careers.
All Birkbeck’s teaching is designed to support students juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments.
Birkbeck was ranked in the top 50 universities nationally and 4th in London for overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2015.
Birkbeck’s research strength across all five academic Schools contributes directly to the teaching quality.
Comprehensive careers, recruitment and employability advice, events and information services are offered both online and face-to-face through Birkbeck’s Careers and Employability Service.
Services include workshops and events on finding work; speaking to careers advisers; panel discussions with employers, industry professionals, Birkbeck alumni and careers consultants; CV and application writing and preparing for interviews.
Birkbeck Talent, the College in-house professional recruitment service, offers bespoke support for Birkbeck students, helping them to find work while studying and after graduation.
Students in Birkbeck’s School of Business, Economics and Informatics are helped to develop their careers or start their own business by the Business Engagement Team, which also offers an extensive mentoring programme.