University profile

Birkbeck, University of London

2018/19 edition

About Birkbeck, University of London

Worldwide reputation

Birkbeck, University of London was founded in 1823 by George Birkbeck to make university study accessible to working Londoners for whom traditional full-time study was not an option. Almost 200 years on, it's still committed to making higher education accessible to all. A world-class teaching and research institution and recognised as a global elite university, Birkbeck is ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2012. With many renowned academics, Birkbeck is unique among the colleges of the University of London for its emphasis on evening teaching for non-traditional students.

Over 90% of Birkbeck academics are research-active and many are renowned world-class experts in their fields. Their research benefits you both in terms of the teaching you receive and the guidance you get as a research student – both of which are of the highest quality.

Birkbeck received more than £12 million in external funding in 2012-13. This included major grants from Research Councils UK and funding from donors and philanthropic trusts, and demonstrates the diversity and excellence of our research and the benefit to society through knowledge transfer and influence on policy and practice.

students sat on grass

One of the world’s leading universities for postgraduate study and research, students from around the world come to study with us on over 200 taught and research programmes in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and business.

Future career prospects

Our unique academic environment gives you the opportunity to make valuable professional contact with working professionals based in a global capital city. This is an exceptional opportunity to progress your career and achieve your ambition – and is a unique advantage of studying at Birkbeck.

Many of our students tell us they would not have the careers they have if they hadn’t come to Birkbeck. As diverse and cosmopolitan as London itself, Birkbeck students are hardworking, driven and committed to achieving – and excited about being in a Birkbeck classroom. They bring their expertise and experience with them, and you’ll be able to hear from professionals with experience in your subject and learn to apply this real-life knowledge to your own studies.

English language support

girl with laptop

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, you will be asked to demonstrate competence in the English language. Although we can consider a variety of tests, our normal requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

The main alternative to IELTS is the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). For courses requiring an IELTS score of 6.5, we would look for a TOEFL score of 580, plus 4 in the Test of Written English (TWE) paper-based test, or 92 in the internet-based test, with at least 24 out of 30 in the reading and writing sub-tests.

Some programmes may require higher scores. For example, arts management, English, humanities and law require IELTS 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests; or TOEFL 100, with at least 24 out of 30 in the reading and writing sub-test.

Exact requirements are stipulated by admissions tutors

Facilities and support arrangements

There is a modern, well-equipped library on five floors of the main building on Torrington Square, which is open at evenings and weekends. Networked computer services include high-speed internet connectivity, purpose-built computer classrooms (open 24 hours), facilities for students with special needs and an IT helpdesk with extended opening hours.


Our main campus is located at the heart of academic London in Bloomsbury (WC1). This part of central London not only contains a wealth of world-class research resources, but also offers world-famous museums and galleries in a setting of beautiful, leafy squares.


The restaurant, cafe and snack bar are open during the day and early evening. As well to Birkbeck's own student union, students have access to the University of London student union (ULU) – right next door to Birkbeck. A well-known music venue, ULU has great facilities for sport (including the largest swimming pool in central London) and socialising.


Our open evenings take place in February, May, June, September and November each year. Find our more and book your place.

Contact details

020 7631 6316
Malet Street
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