• Status: Fully Approved
  • Start date: October 2017
  • Duration:

    2 years part-time

  • Attendance:

    1 evening or afternoon a week if you aim to complete the certificate over 2 years.

    3 Saturdays each for the Study and Research Skills for Science and Mathematics and the Personal Progress and Development Planning modules.

  • Location:

    Central London and Stratford

Programme overview

This intensive programme will help you gain the knowledge and skills you need to progress to degree study in the life sciences and subjects allied to medicine. It also includes modules to help develop your study and research skills and to assist with your personal development and planning of applications for further study. You will gain an overview of the biological, cellular and molecular worlds, raising fascinating questions about their underlying chemical functions.

This programme is also available for part-time evening study over 1 year.

The programme is taught in Central London and Stratford. You study all of the biology and chemistry modules in Stratford, while the other modules are all taught at our main campus in Central London (Bloomsbury).

How to apply

Programme application: you apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link below. You can only apply for the whole programme. Please note that online application will open in October 2016.

Need help with your application? Watch videos featuring our academic experts giving advice on applying to Birkbeck and answering some of the most frequently asked questions.

Birkbeck offers a range of free face-to-face advice and support to help you make a successful application.

Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.

Application deadlines and interviews

You are advised to apply early, as demand for places is high.

You may be asked to attend an interview, where you will receive guidance from our lecturers on your chosen subject areas and how you can plan your study and career progression effectively. Before attending the interview, you will need to complete a supplementary exercise pack to bring with you.

You may be advised to attend our preparation weeks, which are taught in July and prior to the start of the programme in October.

Online application

Life Sciences for Subjects Allied to Medicine (Certificate in Higher Education): 2-year, part-time (Part-time)

Course structure

To gain the Certificate in Higher Education, you must successfully complete the following 8 modules (each worth 15 credits), worth a total of 120 credit points.

Compulsory modules

Entry requirements

We welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications as we base decisions on our own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience as presented in your application, and on interview.

You will need to demonstrate a good level of numeracy and English language skills, as well as a keen interest in the life sciences. Applicants are advised that this is a very intensive course, which requires a high level of commitment.

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.


Part-time home/EU students: £ 2500 pa
Part-time overseas students: £ 2500 pa

Payment and Fees Discounts

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

Fees discount: Birkbeck offers a generous package of fee reductions and cash bursaries for new undergraduates and Certificate of Higher Education students. Also, 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.

Funding and Financial Support

With a student loan, you will pay nothing upfront. Find out about loans, cash bursaries and fee reductions and check if you are eligible.

Careers and employability

Graduates can pursue careers in research, education or medicine. This degree can also be useful in becoming a microbiologist, research scientist, analytical chemist or healthcare scientist.

Find out more about these professions.

Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject.

We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

Teaching and assessment


Our team of lecturers, demonstrators and technicians are dedicated to providing a wide range of opportunities for adult learners interested in the life sciences and their application to subjects allied to medicine. A variety of teaching methods are used in class, including lectures, presentations, demonstrations, discussions, group work and problem-solving. The biology and chemistry modules also involve carrying out a number of laboratory experiments, either individually or in small groups. All modules are supported by online learning material. You will also need to do about 12 hours of home study a week.


Parts 1 and 2 of each subject are assessed by coursework and tests only, with some assignments completed in class and some at home. Part 3 includes both coursework and a final examination (in early June). The Saturday modules are assessed by coursework (Pass/Fail) only.

Our research

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.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), in a joint submission with UCL, Biological Sciences at Birkbeck were ranked 11th in the UK, with a research environment supporting world-leading and internationally excellent research.

Read about Birkbeck research helping to identify fundamental biological and physical structures and fight disease.

Further study opportunities

On successful completion of the Certificate in Higher Education, you may progress to the first year of a variety of degrees, including biology, chemistry, environmental science, geology and all health-related areas, such as radiography (requires biology with physics), pharmacy, osteopathic medicine, nutrition and dietetics, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, herbal medicine, clinical sciences, biomedicine and biomedical sciences. Students who already have a good first degree in another area and achieve high marks in their Certificate in Higher Education studies may also be accepted by some medical schools.

Students who are awarded the Certificate in Higher Education are guaranteed an interview for related part-time BSc degrees at Birkbeck. The programme is also recognised by other colleges of the University of London, as well as other higher education institutions offering full-time degrees.

We also offer guidance with your UCAS application, should you decide to continue your studies outside Birkbeck.