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Birkbeck short courses and certificates of higher education explained

Birkbeck’s flexible short courses and certificates of higher education are taught in the evenings in central London and Stratford. They give you the opportunity to: 

  • pursue your interests  
  • try out a new subject area 
  • develop your skills 
  • boost your career 
  • gain a University of London qualification 
  • build up the credits to progress onto a Birkbeck degree. 

Short courses 

  • We offer over 200 introductory short courses. 
  • These highly flexible courses last around 10 weeks and classes are usually held on just one evening a week, so they are easy to fit around your busy schedule. 
  • Many short courses are part of a certificate of higher education, so you can build up credits to complete a certificate if you wish. 
  • The majority of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all, whatever your qualifications or educational background.
  • You may have to fulfil specified prerequisites for some intermediate- and advanced-level courses - check your short course online before you enrol. 
  • Check our full list of short courses
  • Read more about applying for our short courses

Certificates of higher education

  • Certificates are stand-alone University of London qualifications, which also offer a flexible route into university. They are usually held on just one evening a week, so they are easy to fit into your busy schedule. 
  • Certificates are taught at first-year degree level and comprise a mixture of compulsory and option modules. You can build up your credits to progress to degree study at Birkbeck if you wish (you must successfully complete 120 credits to gain a Certificate of Higher Education).  
  • Most of our certificates have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students, but it is advisable that you can read, write and speak English fluently. 
  • There are two types of certificate - modular and programme: 
    • Modular: modular certificates are flexible: you study at your own pace, usually taking one or two modules each year, and they are usually one to two years in duration. You build up your credits to gain the full certificate of higher education. (Note: if you wish to apply for a student loan, you must be studying modules worth at least 30 credits a year.) Check our full list of modular certificates of higher education.
    • Programme: programme certificates last one year and are structured like undergraduate degrees: you have to complete requisite compulsory and option modules in a particular order and you have to complete an application form for entry to the whole programme. Our programme enrolment certificates are listed alongside our undergraduate programmes
  • Some certificates prepare you for direct entry to degrees in particular subjects:
    • Higher Education Introductory Studies: this introductory certificate is specially designed to get you back into studying and give you the study and academic skills you need to succeed on an undergraduate degree. You can take a pathway in arts and humanities, business, nursing, midwifery and health studies, social sciences or social work and social care. There is also English language support if English is not your first language. 
    • Legal Method: provides a thorough grounding in the range of skills required to study law at degree level. Successful completion enables direct progression to the Birkbeck LLB degree and credit for one LLB module. 
    • Life Sciences for Subjects Allied to Medicine: prepares you for a wide range of BSc degrees and related professional training. 
  • Read more about applying for our certificates of higher education