University profile

Birkbeck University of London

2019/20 edition

About Birkbeck University of London


With a history that dates back 200 years, Birkbeck, University of London is unique in that it delivers its near-300 postgraduate courses in the evenings, enabling students to work or focus on other commitments during the day. Courses can be studied full-time or part-time and some can be studied through distance learning.

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Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research universities and provides its 700 postgraduate research students with a vibrant and intellectually challenging research environment. Birkbeck is home to 54 research institutes and centres, based in the following schools:

  • School of Arts
  • School of Business, Economics and Informatics
  • School of Law
  • School of Science
  • School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy

Spread across two London campuses - in Bloomsbury and Stratford – students benefit from a wide range of facilities including a five-story library, an award-winning cinema, and art gallery, excellent sports facilities, and a range of cafes.

Birkbeck was applauded in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, for the quality and impact of its research. 73% of Birkbeck’s research was classed as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Their research was found to be highly relevant and impactful on our everyday lives – influencing policy-makers or trialling pioneering new medicines.

Job prospects

Many of Birkbeck’s postgraduate students are working around their full-time jobs and are studying to improve their careers. As a postgraduate student, you’ll be able to use the Careers and Employability Service to obtain one-to-one career advice appointments, workshops and events while you’re studying. You can also use it once you’ve graduated from your course.

Alongside this, Birkbeck also offers Birkbeck Talent, its in-house recruitment agency, which works with more than 150 of the UK’s best companies and employers to help students find work while studying and after graduating. Bespoke support is offered to students interested in enterprise and entrepreneurship, while there is also an extensive mentoring programme with corporate partners from business, law and beyond.

The university also works with The Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network and a number of PhD Doctoral Training Programmes to offer MPhil and PhD students training and support in their careers post-study.

Courses and lecturers

Girl with laptop

Birkbeck, UoL provides a flexible approach to studying, so that you can fit your learning around other commitments. Courses are held in the evenings, enabling students with full-time jobs to learn and earn at the same time.

The university offers over 150 MA, MSc and LLM courses, most of which are Taught degrees. They also offer research degrees (MRes, MPhil and PhD) in over 40 research areas.

Birkbeck’s aims are simple: to provide an intellectually stimulating environment for students and to enable postgraduate researchers to reach their ambitions by supporting their ongoing professional development.

To achieve this, all postgraduate students develop their research projects under the guidance of a supervisor. Supervisors guide students on the planning of their research, help to set targets for work completion and help prepare their thesis for submission.

In addition to having a supervisor to guide them, all MPhil/PhD students are offered Training Needs Analysis, to help identify their training and development needs so these can be supported throughout their studies in order to help their career prospects.

Student union

Birkbeck’s lively and active Students’ Union runs clubs and societies, has three cafes and runs its own student bar at the main Malet Street building. Student Central, the University of London’s Students’ Union, is located right next door to Birkbeck and houses the University of London student shop, The Gallery café, The Library bar and The Venue nightclub.

Students can also use the Energybase gym in Student Central, which hosts free classes every day and has the largest swimming pool in central London. Birkbeck also puts on regular free cinema screenings in its own cinema.


On the Bloomsbury campus, Birkbeck offers students access to state-of-the-art advanced research laboratories and facilities across it’s academic departments. To support students’ learning is a five-floor library with a host of study spaces and IT facilities.

Outside of academia, Birkbeck has its own Students’ Union and a range of cafes and a bar, a cinema and an art gallery for students to socialise in.

Over in Stratford, the campus spans five floors and includes a 300-seat lecture theatre, dance and performance spaces and a 24-7 library. There are also cafes, study areas and student support teams onsite.

Students can also take advantage of access to the University of London’s network of shared study spaces and libraries. They can also access Student Central – the University of London Students’ Union – with its affordable sports facilities, bars and cafes.

City life

Birkbeck’s main campus is in the heart of intellectual London, surrounded by other universities and within walking distance of world-famous museums and galleries such as the British Museum and British Library. The West End, Soho, Covent Garden and King’s Cross are right on the doorstep, so you can take full advantage of London’s shops, restaurants, bars, theatres and clubs before and after your evening classes. Commuting to and from lectures couldn’t be easier, as it’s within walking distance of many tube stations, including Russell Square, Tottenham Court Road and Euston.

Across the city in east London, Birkbeck also offers courses at University Square in Stratford. This part of London has undergone massive redevelopment in recent years and is a thriving hub for creative, new media and digital industries. There are a range of sporting, retail and cultural facilities nearby, including the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Westfield shopping centre, Theatre Royal Stratford East and the Picturehouse Cinema.

Student support

If you feel you’d benefit from counselling, Birkbeck’s Wellbeing Centre provides a confidential service. There’s also a Mental Health Service which gives support and specialist advice, while Birkbeck also offers specialist support for those with disabilities or dyslexia.

There are also study support services available as face-to-face and online support, including hands-on IT training sessions, academic writing courses, and learning development tutors who co-ordinate academic support.


Birkbeck is committed to providing advice and support to help you finance your postgraduate studies. The government has introduced new loans for postgraduate students and, alongside these, Birkbeck offers flexible payment options and a hardship fund to support students who experience a change of circumstances while studying.

Birkbeck offers generous financial support to students on low incomes, including a Birkbeck Postgraduate Bursary and help with childcare costs.

10% discounts on fees are available for members of a union recognised by the TUC, and for Birkbeck graduates wanting to do a postgrad course at the university - although students are eligible for only one of these discounts.

Academic strengths

Founded in 1823, Birkbeck is a world-class research and teaching institution with a large and dynamic research community. Its location in Bloomsbury, at the heart of academic London, gives its students access to a huge range of cultural, artistic and scientific institutions and research events. Students are taught across 19 departments located in one of five Schools:

  • Arts
  • Business, Economics and Informatics
  • Law
  • Science
  • Social Science, History and Philosophy

There are more than 40 specialist research centres based at Birkbeck, all of which work across its Schools and departments, encouraging multi-disciplinary collaboration. Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of its research rated world-leading or internationally excellent. Half of Birkbeck’s submissions were placed in the top 20 nationally, with Psychological Sciences, fifth in the UK, Earth and Environmental Sciences sixth and Biological Sciences eleventh.

Entry requirements

Birkbeck is a member college of the University of London, which sets a minimum entry requirement for all its member colleges of a second-class honours degree in an appropriate subject from a UK university, or an equivalent international qualification. However, Birkbeck may use its discretion to consider applicants with degrees of lower standard than second-class honours (or international equivalent), if it is satisfied that the applicant is as well prepared for the programme as a candidate with the standard qualification.

Birkbeck will consider work and later training experience and skills that could be of use in an academic context. Certain professional qualifications approved by the University of London are also accepted for postgraduate entry. Students come to Birkbeck with a wide range of qualifications, and Birkbeck believes this variety adds to the student experience.

Contact details

020 3907 0700
Malet Street