Education / Lifelong Learning (MPhil / PhD)

As a research student, you will be interested in your own development as a lifelong learner and will seek to engage in critical debate and key issues of education and lifelong learning. You will develop your skills as an independent and active learner, and apply your research skills with theoretical perspectives and understandings of lifelong learning. On completing an MPhil/PhD degree you will have developed advanced skills in research and scholarly writing, and will be able to use these to embark on, or further, a career in research.

An MPhil/PhD is an advanced postgraduate research degree that requires original research and the submission of a substantial dissertation of 60,000 to 100,000 words. At Birkbeck, you are initially registered on an MPhil and you upgrade to a PhD after satisfactory progress in the first year or two. You need to find a suitable academic supervisor at Birkbeck, who can offer the requisite expertise to guide and support you through your research. Find out more about undertaking a research degree at Birkbeck.

We have academic experts in education after the compulsory phase, including adult, community, further and higher education as well as professional learning, and supervision is offered in a range of areas. These include:

  • lifelong learning
  • higher education policy and practice
  • lifelong learning and widening participation policy and practice
  • workplace learning
  • transitions from learning to working
  • the academic workplace
  • professional learning and education
  • post-compulsory education
  • adult education
  • continuing education
  • gender and education
  • education in later life
  • education and social class
  • community-based learning.

Highlights

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    Good degree in a relevant subject.

    International entry requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
    • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

  • Fees

    Fees

    Part-time home/EU students: £2226 pa
    Full-time home/EU students: £4195 pa
    Part-time international students: £6050 pa
    Full-time international students: £11995 pa

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

    Fees and finance

    Flexible finance: pay your fees in monthly instalments at no extra cost. Enrol early to spread your costs and reduce your monthly payments.

    Fees discounts: If you are a member of a union that is recognised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), you may apply for a 10% discount off your tuition fees.

    The School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy attracts funding for studentships that ensure researchers of the highest standard can pursue their research with us. Find out more about research funding opportunities at Birkbeck.

  • Our Research Culture

    Our Research Culture

    Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

    We have a range of links with other Schools and Departments, both in Birkbeck and at other universities, and arrangements for joint supervision according to your interests are therefore possible. You will be able to attend relevant modules run within the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy, as well as other courses for research students.

    You will be immersed in an academically stimulating and challenging environment, with easy access to high-quality research resources. Read more about our vibrant research culture.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link. Please refer to our departmental procedures for further details.

    Pre-application enquiry

    Before submitting an online application you must submit an initial enquiry. This will assist with the process of finding academics with relevant research interests and experience to supervise your project.

    Please note that we are unlikely to have the experience to supervise your project if your main focus is school education.

    Identifying a supervisor

    • (one or two paragraphs). Your project summary will be used to identify appropriate supervisors.
    • If potential supervisors with relevant research interests are available, you will be asked to provide a more detailed project proposal of approximately 2000 words.
    • We will take a decision as to whether or not to invite you to submit a formal application and for interview when we have read your more detailed project proposal. We will notify you as soon as we can about the outcome of this informal stage.

    Application deadlines and interviews

    You can apply at any time during the year. Entry months for the programme are October, January and April of each year.

    If you wish to apply for a scholarship, you will need to apply by certain deadlines. Consult the websites of relevant bodies for details.

  • Finding a supervisor

    Finding a supervisor

    A crucial factor when applying for postgraduate study in education and lifelong learning is the correlation between the applicant’s intellectual and research interests and those of one or more potential supervisors within the Department.

    Find out more about the research interests of our academic staff:

    • Professor Claire Callender, BSc, PhD: higher education policy; funding and finances of higher education students, both in the UK and internationally; widening participation; part-time students.
    • Kerry Harman, BA, MCom, PhD: workplace learning; assessment practices in higher education; work-higher education intersections.
    • Professor Miriam Zukas, BSc: professional learning and work; doctors’ transitions in learning; transitions in learning and work; academics’ learning and the academic workplace; adult higher education.