Applying to Birkbeck

If you want to apply for one of our part-time undergraduate courses, or our postgraduate courses, you apply directly to Birkbeck. Applications open from mid-October for entry to all programmes starting the following October. There is no charge for applying to Birkbeck.

If you are applying for an MPhil/PhD degree, the application process is different. Find out how to make an MPhil/PhD application.

How to apply

All applications to our courses are made online. You will receive an email to confirm that we have received your application.

How to start the application process

Applicant portal

  • The Birkbeck Applicant Portal enables direct applicants to view the status of their application, respond to offers (accept or decline), upload documents, update their contact details and withdraw their application. On submitting an application, an email is automatically sent to the applicant with login details and a link to the Portal login page.

How to supply supporting documents

  • You can choose to supply your supporting documents in the following ways:
  • Online: we recommend that you attach your documents to your application, as this is the easiest and most efficient way to provide them. You may upload documents during the online application process, or if you have already submitted your application, via the applicant portal. You may upload a maximum of six documents.
  • Email. You can scan your documents and as a PDF file attachment. Please note restrictions are in place to limit the files we receive to 2MB maximum per email. Your message will fail to reach us if you attempt to send files which exceed this limit. To prevent this you should keep within this file limit and ensure only documentary evidence required in support of your application is sent. These may include:
    • birth certificate or passport
    • IELTS English Language certificate
    • degree certificate or transcript
    • additional documentation requested by Registry.
    • Please note: documentation that may be required by the Admissions Tutor in the relevant school and this should be sent directly to the school.
  • Post. Please post documents to the following address: Student Administration, Registry Services, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX. Please include your full name and applicant reference number in any correspondence with us. Please do not send original copies if they can not easily be replaced. We are unable to return copy documentation submitted to us.

The application form

You need to follow our onscreen instructions to complete the application form and upload supporting documents. You can save your part-completed application and return to it later. Please make sure you click the submit button to complete your application. Once you have submitted your application, you will not be able to make any changes.

Page 1: Your personal details

  • You will be asked to provide your personal details, home address and to confirm your residency status. As part of confirming your identity, you must provide an accepted form of photographic identification - usually a valid passport. If you are not a UK, EU/EEA national you must also provide visa documentation to confirm you have valid leave to remain in the UK.
  • We ask you to upload a scan of your photographic identification. If you would prefer, you can instead bring hard copies to the Student Advice Centre. 

Page 2: Your qualifications

  • You will be asked about your current studies, if any, and your previous qualifications. You will also be asked to upload certificates or transcripts of your previous qualifications, where relevant.
  • If English is not your first language, you will be asked to provide evidence of your English proficiency. If you have not yet taken an English test, please continue with your application and you will be asked to upload the English test results prior to being invited to enrol.

Page 3: Your work experience

  • Please have your employment history to hand, with a brief overview of your responsibilities in each job or role. You may take these from your CV. Birkbeck values all your skills and experiences, not only your academic qualifications, so this information is important for your application. We also ask you to list relevant professional qualifications or training courses.

Page 4: Funding / sponsorship

  • This is an optional section for students who are being sponsored (for example, by their employer), or applying for a scholarship or grant. You do not need to complete this section if you will be applying for a student loan through Student Finance England, or if you are funding the course yourself.

Page 5: Your personal statement

  • You will be asked to write a personal statement that describes your academic abilities and your commitment to succeeding on the course you are applying for. You should aim to write an engaging, concise and well-structured statement:
    • The purpose of the personal statement is to demonstrate that you have the intellectual ability and the commitment to be a successful student on the course that you're applying for. You should give examples of where you can demonstrate success, whether that's academic or in the workplace. Keep the examples factual, and try to relate them to the course and the skills required to be a successful student.
    • Some students are afraid of coming across as boasting when they talk about their achievements. Others have concerns that their achievements are not impressive enough. Don’t let either worry to put you off applying. Show your achievements in the best possible light. We want to see your potential in your application, we don’t expect you to be a complete student at this stage!
    • If you have an active interest in the subject you are applying for then mention them here. For example, perhaps you have attended free lectures and events; you regularly make visits to places or read certain publications. Maybe you have had a long standing interest in the subject and you want to take it to the next level. This is your opportunity to show how you have been engaging in the subject you wish to study. 
    • If you are applying for a 4-year part-time undergraduate degree, your application will be direct to Birkbeck. As our classes take place in the evening, Birkbeck is different to other universities. Our Admission Tutors will be looking for indications that you have considered how you will be able to study successfully. You could therefore state why you are choosing to study in the evening. For example, you may be working or have other commitments during the day and the evening model allows you to continue with your work. 
    • If you wish to study a postgraduate course in a different subject area to that you studied as an undergraduate, first look at the entry requirements for the course that you're interested in, as some courses have more specific requirements than others. Our admission tutors will be looking at your whole application, and your professional experience will be considered alongside your previous studies. Use your personal statement to highlight how your professional experience or your personal interests may relate to the new subject area that you wish to study. 
    • Get help from our personal statement tool.

Page 6: Referees (postgraduate study only)

  • A referee is required for full-time undergraduate courses (through UCAS), but we don't ask for a referee for our part-time undergraduate courses. However, at postgraduate level, we ask you to provide two references in support of your application.
  • You will need to ensure that Birkbeck is provided with the appropriate references.
    • If you have used the email referee facility in the online application your referees will receive an email and instructions from us on how to submit their reference.
    • If you have not used the email referee facility you will need to contact your referees and ask them to submit their references to Birkbeck. The reference should be emailed as a file attachment directly to the academic department that you have applied to. Please ask your referees to put your name and the title programme you have applied for in the subject header of the email.
    • If your referee does not have access to email facilities a written reference may be sent by post to the following address: [name of the appropriate academic department e.g. Department of Politics], Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX.
  • Referees should comment on your study and analytical skills, subject-specific knowledge and skills, and readiness for degree-level study in your chosen subject.
  • Ideally, at least one of your referees should be someone who knows your academic or written work well, such as a previous tutor. However, many of our students completed their undergraduate degree many years ago and have lost touch with their tutors. If this is the case, then we recommend that you contact the department that offers your course to request to use an alternative referee, such as an employer or former employer, or someone you’ve worked with in a voluntary capacity. Referees should comment on your study and analytical skills, subject-specific knowledge and skills, and readiness for degree-level study in your chosen subject.
  • It can speed up the application process if you include your references with your application.

Page 7: Statistical information

  • The information collected on this page of the application form will not have any influence on your application. It is used purely for statistical and monitoring purposes, and we are required to collect it.

Declaring a disability

  • It is of course your choice what you include in the personal statement. For example, many mature students who struggled at school have since been diagnosed as dyslexic, and they would be able to outline this in their personal statement should they wish to do so.
  • If we know from an early stage that you may require support for a disability, we can discuss it with you to make sure that we provide the support required. We encourage you to contact our disability team during the application process, rather than waiting until the start of term.

Closing dates

  • Most courses specify a closing date, which you can find on the online course page.
  • If no closing date is specified on the online course page, but a date for interviews is provided, we advise you to submit your application at least 2 weeks before the first round of interviews. This will allow time for the admissions tutor to assess your application and send you details of any entrance test(s). 
  • We recommend that you apply as early as possible. We try to give equal consideration to all applications received before the end of May (for autumn start courses).

What happens after you apply?

We aim to process applications as quickly as possible, but at busy times there can be delays. You will normally receive a confirmation email with your applicant reference number within 48 hours of submission.

Once you submit your application, we will check that the form is complete and carry out an initial assessment before forwarding it on to the relevant academic department for their consideration. If it is not complete, then they will contact you to provide additional information before they can forward your application to the relevant academic department.

Selection process

  • Some academic admissions tutors may start shortlisting interviewees in January. Other admissions tutors begin the assessment process in February or March. In either case, they may contact you for further information.
  • Unless you are based overseas, you will need to attend an interview. The selection of candidates for interview is based on:
    • the degree or professional qualifications stated on your application
    • relevant work experience, skills and interests
    • referees’ reports (referees will be asked to comment on your capacity and readiness for postgraduate study)
    • a piece of written work (where required).
  • If you are an overseas student applying to study at Birkbeck and you are not available for interview in London, the admissions tutor may ask you to submit samples of written work and/or ask you to undergo a telephone interview. Please apply as early as possible to allow time for additional correspondence.

Turnaround time

  • The application process – from submitting your application to the College making a decision – usually takes between four and six weeks. However, this can vary, depending on the programme and whether you are required to attend an interview and/ or take an entrance test and/or submit supporting documents, such as transcripts and certificates.
  • If you are interviewed, you should be notified of our decision about one to two weeks after your interview. Offers are made by admissions tutors, subject to a final check of your eligibility by Registry Services and, for students with unusual qualifications, subject to the approval of the College Admissions Panel.

Please see our terms and conditions of study.