Politics (Certificate of Higher Education)

This course allows you to develop an understanding of the nature of politics and government in contemporary societies, focusing on the major political issues and problems in the world today. You will compare and contrast the institutions and practices of government in different societies and analyse and critique different theories of politics and government. You will also gain the skills to allow you to go on to further study in politics and the social sciences. 


  • Our Department of Politics is over 40 years old and has a reputation for the excellence of its teaching and its internationally significant research.
  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Politics at Birkbeck was ranked 17th in the UK.
  • Our courses are designed to encourage independent thinking and hone your argumentative, analytical and critical skills, while our teaching uniquely moves across the boundaries between subjects, encompassing, among others, economics, history and sociology.
  • Our departmental building was once a key location for members of the Bloomsbury Group, so you could be studying in rooms that have hosted distinguished visitors, including T. S. Eliot, George Bernard Shaw and Maynard Keynes.
  • Read more about our Department's top news stories, our world-class research, our 40-year history, and what it's like to study with us.

Progression to degrees at Birkbeck

If you complete 90 credits or more from the programme with a mark of 50% or above you can progress to Year 2 of Birkbeck's BA Politics degree.

Course structure

To gain the Certificate of Higher Education, you must successfully complete three compulsory and one option module, worth a total of 120 credit points.

Module groups

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    All modules are taught at university level and you should be able to read, write and speak English fluently. If you need help, we offer a range of academic English and language development modules.

    New students will have to complete an entrance task.

    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 are payable per module and vary depending on the course. Please view the Course Structure and then click on the title of individual modules to see the fees for each module. The overall cost of the certificate will depend on the modules you choose. 

  • Teaching and assessment


    Mainly lectures and seminars, with some workshops and tutorials. Approximately eight hours of independent study per week is required for each module.


    A mixture of coursework and examinations.

  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue careers in local and national government, the diplomatic service, policy work, the voluntary sector, and as researchers and journalists.

    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.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    There is an entrance task for new students: you will need to write a short paragraph about why you want to study politics. For more information please contact us.

    This is a modular enrolment certificate, so you will need to enrol onto individual modules (rather than onto the entire programme of study). Please view the Course Structure and then click on the title of individual modules to see class dates and times and to enrol.