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Archaeology, classics and geology courses ranked in national top 10 by Complete University Guide

It is the first time that Birkbeck has appeared in the ranking, following the establishment of full-time undergraduate degree programmes

Birkbeck’s courses in archaeology, classics and geology have been ranked within the top ten in the UK in a new ranking published in the 2018 Complete University Guide.

Within London, Birkbeck’s courses in archaeology were ranked top, with courses in creative writing and modern foreign languages, including French, German, Iberian Studies and Italian, ranked second. Birkbeck’s courses in history of art, too, were ranked third in the capital.

It is the first time that Birkbeck has appeared in the ranking, following many years of hard work to fully establish Birkbeck's full-time undergraduate degree programme: in less than a decade the College has gone from having no full-time undergraduates to over 3,000. The stabilisation of the proportion of the College’s student body comprising UCAS-entry undergraduate degree students has meant that the College has been included in the Guide for the first time.

The news follows confirmation of the College’s reputation both national and internationally. Birkbeck has been ranked in the top 250 universities worldwide in the latest THE World University Rankings and has been placed within the world’s elite institutions in a number of subjects in the QS World University Rankings by Subject, published last month.

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) Birkbeck was ranked 31st nationally in terms of research intensity, with three departments in the top 10 nationally and 10 (out of 14) in the top 25 nationally. Birkbeck’s academic staff are active researchers, many with world-leading reputations, and no fewer than 83% of the eligible academic staff were returned to the REF.

Birkbeck’s overall positioning in this ranking, at 115th out of the institutions featured, is a consequence of the College’s innovation in offering three year evening undergraduate degree courses which are classified as full-time. However, like all other Birkbeck undergraduate courses, they take place in the evening, allowing students to work during the day and are accessible to all motivated students without formal qualifications.

Commenting on the rankings, Professor David Latchman CBE, Master of Birkbeck, said:

“We offer all our undergraduate students, of which a sizeable proportion come to us with no formal qualifications at all, rigorous teaching and a transformational intellectual experience, enabling them to achieve a University of London qualification.

“Coming to Birkbeck can change lives. Many of our full-time undergraduate students are the first in their families to study at university, or are returning to education after many years of lacking the confidence to do so.

“Since its inception, Birkbeck has offered a distinct opportunity for working Londoners to gain qualifications through evening study. Even nearly 200 years later, the College is unlike any other higher education institution in the UK today – a distinctiveness of which we are proud.”