Entry requirements

At Birkbeck, we encourage applications from students without traditional qualifications and we welcome students from all educational backgrounds. Our Admission Tutors will take into account the knowledge and skills that you have developed outside the classroom, not only your previous qualifications. 

Many of our courses have no formal entry requirements, but for those that do, we welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications. We offer places based on our own assessment of your qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience. We may waive formal entry requirements based on our judgement of your academic potential. 

Where entry requirements or tests do apply, you will find the relevant information in our online course descriptions (under Entry Requirements)

Don’t be afraid of being honest with your educational background - we receive a lot of successful applications from similar people. If our Admission Tutors judge that you are not yet ready for degree-level study, they may suggest that you try a Certificate of Higher Education, as these provide additional support and allow a progression route onto degree study. 

If you are an international student, please check our international student guidance on entry requirements

Entry requirements for short courses  

  • The majority of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students. You may have to fulfil specific prerequisites for some intermediate- or advanced-level courses, but these will be specified on the online course description
  • Please note: you must be at least 18 years old when you enrol and, to benefit fully from your studies, we advise that you can read, write and speak English fluently. If you feel that you need to improve your written or oral skills in English, we recommend that you enrol on one of our English language short courses
  • Download our guidelines on how to enrol onto a short course

Entry requirements for modular Certificates of Higher Education

  • There is no application process for these courses, as there are usually no selection processes or interviews for modular certificates. Where entry requirements or tests do apply, you will find the relevant information in the online course description (under Entry Requirements). 
  • For these courses, you enrol directly on the modules you wish to study - students are enrolled on a 'first come, first served' basis. 
  • Please note: you must be at least 18 years old when you enrol and, to benefit fully from your studies, we advise that you can read, write and speak English fluently. If you feel that you need to improve your written or oral skills in English, we recommend that you enrol on one of our English language Short Courses
  • Find out more about our modular Certificates of Higher Education.

Entry requirements for programme Certificates of Higher Education

  • Like undergraduate degree programmes, these awards require you to complete an application form for entry to the whole programme.
  • You apply directly to Birkbeck, following our part-time application procedure.

Entry requirements for Foundation Degree programmes

  • Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Foundation Degrees are designed specifically for students with no formal qualifications. Admission is based on the likelihood of your ability to complete the programme successfully and to derive benefit from it.
  • We take account of all relevant information, which may include:
    • your personal statement
    • assessment at interview
    • performance in written tasks or other tests set for admission purposes
    • other evidence of your performance or potential
    • relevant work experience.

Entry requirements for undergraduate degrees (BA/BSc/LLB)

  • Our students come to us with a wide variety of qualifications and experience, and we believe that this variety adds to the student experience at Birkbeck.
  • Applicants for admission to degree programmes must be at least 18 years old.
  • You will find the entry requirements for all courses in the online course listings.
  • The UCAS tariff score is applicable to you if you have recently studied a qualification that has a UCAS tariff equivalence (including A-levels, IB, GNVQs and BTEC programmes). We also welcome students with Access to Higher Education Diplomas. We do not expect all of our applicants to have a UCAS tariff score. 
  • Applicants from partner institutions within the Institutional Partnership Agreement (IPA) are guaranteed an offer at Birkbeck. 

Entry requirements for postgraduate study (Master's and PhD)

  • The minimum entry requirement fixed by the University of London for postgraduate study is a second-class honours degree in an appropriate subject from a UK university, or an equivalent international qualification.
  • If the main subject of your degree is not directly relevant to your proposed postgraduate programme, you may be asked to complete a qualifying programme of study.

Alternative qualifications for postgraduate study (Master's and PhD)

  • At our discretion, we may consider applicants with degrees of lower standard than second-class honours (or international equivalent), but we must be satisfied that you are as well prepared to enter the programme as a candidate with the standard qualifications. As well as undergraduate studies, we will also take into account work and later training experience.
  • You will need to include a summary of your relevant post-qualification experience on your application form and name a referee who can support your claims.
  • We will pay special attention to:
    • any extra knowledge of the proposed field of study gained through relevant work experience
    • skills acquired at work that will be of use in an academic context (for example, experience of computing, statistics, report writing or independent research).

Professional qualifications for postgraduate study (Master's and PhD)

  • Certain professional qualifications are accepted for postgraduate entry, including MIBiol, GRSC (formerly GRIC), MBCS, GradInstP and Stages I and II of the Institute of Statisticians. These have all been specially approved by the University of London.
  • Other professional qualifications that we accept at our discretion (and usually subject to the completion of a programme of preparatory study) include the major accountancy qualifications (for entry to our MSc Economics programme) and the Final Diploma of the Institute of Linguists (for the MA Modern Languages programmes).
  • In all cases, the professional qualification must have been gained by written examination rather than ‘by exemption’ from the relevant professional examination.
  • If you hold a UK BTEC Higher National Diploma, you will usually be asked to show at least two years’ post-qualification work experience relevant to your proposed Master’s degree and, in most cases, you will be asked to complete a year of qualifying study before admission.

Qualifying courses at postgraduate level (Master's and PhD)

  • You may be asked to complete a programme of qualifying studies in any of the following cases:
    • if the main subject of your first degree is not directly relevant to your proposed postgraduate programme
    • if you did not reach a high enough standard in your first degree
    • if you do not have a first degree and wish to move into academic study from a professional or technical qualification.
  • Qualifying programmes usually comprise two or more modules from the final year of the relevant BA or BSc programme. Modules are chosen to match the needs of the student.