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Master's Office

A Welcome from the Master of Birkbeck,
Professor David Latchman CBE

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Master's Office website.

Birkbeck has a unique dual mission.  Since its foundation in 1823, Birkbeck has played a key role in part time continuing education for adults.  This role is of ever increasing importance with the growing focus by Government and others on lifelong learning and widening participation.  We believe, that the increased focus at government level on increasing participation in higher education for 18 year olds should be combined with facilitating access to higher education for individuals throughout their lives when they realise the importance of higher education and can benefit appropriately from it. 

It is important that Birkbeck provides its students with teaching of the highest quality.  In 2005, Birkbeck's teaching was audited by the Quality Assessment Agency (QAA) and received the highest rating of 'broad confidence'.  Moreover, in the three national student surveys in which students of all Universities were asked what they thought of their Institution, Birkbeck was consistently at or near the top, in terms of the quality of its teaching. 

Yet, Birkbeck is not just about teaching excellence.  Its continuing part time study mission is combined with outstanding excellence in research.  In the last HEFCE Research Assessment Exercise, Birkbeck submitted a higher proportion of its staff (91%) than any other multi-faculty institution in London and almost 70% of these were rated as being in departments of international excellence.  This outstanding research excellence which places Birkbeck well up in the top 20 UK research universities means that our students benefit from being taught by staff who are internationally recognized as being at the cutting edge of their subject.  It also means that Birkbeck can offer advanced studies at Masters or Doctoral level on either a part time or a full time basis.  An increasing number of our students therefore now carry out postgraduate Masters Degrees or are doing research for a PhD on a full time basis and a growing number of these are from overseas reflecting Birkbeck's strong research reputation.  The excellence of our research was further confirmed with the award of a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education to Birkbeck on the basis of the work of our Centre for Brain Development and Function. 

Whether you wish to study part time or full time, at undergraduate or postgraduate level or if you are an existing student or member of staff or simply interested in Birkbeck and its work, I hope you will find the Birkbeck website of value to you.    I hope you are enjoying your virtual visit to Birkbeck and that you will return many times in the future to see the progress we are making towards our goals of providing outstanding part time and full time teaching in an environment where it is uniquely combined with research of outstanding international quality.

David Latchman CBE
Master and Professor of Genetics