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Frequently asked questions

Can I study full time?

How much time do I need to study?

  • Independent private study is a vital part of preparing for lectures and seminars, and following them up after class. The amount needed varies both with the topic being studied and with your own speed of work, but realistically you should plan to spend at least an hour in private study for each hour you spend in the classroom.
  • In addition, you will need to make extra time to complete your coursework and revise for your examinations.

What is the difference between an MSc and an MRes?

  • The MRes degrees are designed for students who are intending to continue to a PhD or to pursue a research-oriented career. As such, they are more research focused than the MSc.
  • MRes degrees comprise of six taught modules and a dissertation of 25,000 words while the MSc is comprised of five or eight taught modules and a dissertation of 15,000 words.

How many modules will I have to complete?

  • The number of modules you need to complete in a year varies, depending on the qualification you are pursuing and whether you are studying part-time or full-time.
    • Part-time MSc students: You will take two modules in each of the autumn and spring terms of your first year, and a further three or four in your second year. Your dissertation is due by September in your second year of study.
    • Part-time MRes students: You will take at least two modules per term during your first year, and can take more if you wish to leave the second year free for work on your dissertation. Your dissertation is due by 30 September in your second year of study.
    • Full-time MSc students: You will take three or four modules in the autumn term, leaving two or four to be completed in the spring term, depending on your programme of study. Your dissertation is due by September of the same year.
    • Full-time MRes students: You will normally take three or four modules in the autumn term, leaving either three or two modules to be completed in the spring term. Your dissertation is due by 30 September of the same year.

How do I apply for a course?

  • For our full-time undergraduate programmes (BSc Social Science, BSc Geography and BSc Environmental Management) you will need to apply through the UCAS website.
  • For all other programmes you will need to apply online at the Birkbeck central course listings. Each programme has its own webpage with an "Apply Now" section containing a link to Birkbeck's online application system.

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