Higher Education Introductory Studies (Certificate in Higher Education): 1-year, part-time, central London

Whether your interest lies in social sciences, social work, business, economics or in the arts and humanities, the Certificate of Higher Education in Higher Education Introductory Studies offers you the chance to develop the learning approaches and skills you need to successfully pursue undergraduate study. It also provides an opportunity to explore different subject areas before you decide on a particular degree.

On this course, you will have the support of established academics in the subject you are studying, as well as  the opportunity to take part in additional course activities, such as our social sciences reading group. You will also be given support and guidance on making a degree application.

Progression routes are available on to several Birkbeck undergraduate degrees. The certificate is also a standalone University of London qualification, recognised by employers and universities.

This course is also available in Stratford, where we also have nursing and midwifery and social work pathways.

Highlights

  • Progress directly into Year 2 of our BSc Social Sciences, BSc Business or BSc Geography after successfully completing this course.
  • Our academic staff are recognised authorities in their fields, delivering stimulating and relevant teaching programmes.
  • Several specialist pathways are available, so you have the opportunity to study subjects that match your interests.
  • Designed to help you become an independent learner and to meet your study skill needs if you are new to higher education, including essay writing and presentation skills.
  • In addition to Birkbeck financial support, each year we also award a number of further donor bursaries to a selection of students on this course.

Course structure

You must successfully complete four modules, worth 120 credit points, in a combination of subjects.

You have a choice of several subject pathways. In each pathway you choose one Approaches to Study module and take another three modules which may be compulsory or optional depending on your chosen pathway.

  • Social sciences pathway: this pathway can form the basis of your application for a degree in the social sciences or social policy, and can be a starting point for a wide range of careers. You choose one Approaches to Study module and three option modules.
  • Social work and social care pathway: this pathway gives you the academic grounding to apply for a full-time degree in social work, or for a full-time or part-time degree in a related field, such as youth and community work. You choose one Approaches to Study module and three option modules.
  • Business studies pathway: this pathway enables you to go on to study a degree related to business or management. You choose one Approaches to Study module, take two compulsory modules and choose one option module.
  • Economics pathway: this pathway prepares you for a degree in economics. You choose one Approaches to Study module, take two compulsory modules and choose one option module.

    Module groups

    Social Sciences compulsory modules

    Social Sciences option modules

    Social Work and Social Care compulsory modules

    Social Work and Social Care option modules

    Business Studies compulsory modules

    Business Studies option modules

    Economics compulsory modules

    Economics option modules

    Arts and Humanities compulsory modules

    Arts and Humanities option modules

    • Entry Requirements

      Entry requirements

      No specific formal qualifications are required, but fluent written and spoken English equivalent to Level 2 (ie GCSE grades A-C or equivalent) is expected.

      Students wishing to progress to some degrees may be required to have GCSE grades A-C in English, mathematics and/or science. Please check entry requirements for the degree to which you intend to apply.

      This programme is not suitable for students who already have an undergraduate degree.

      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. Please be aware that this course isn't eligible for Tier 4 sponsorship, but International students with other visa statuses may be eligible.

      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.

      Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

      If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

      Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

    • Fees

      Fees

      Part-time home/EU students: £ 6175 pa
      Part-time international students: £6175 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.

    • Teaching and assessment

      Teaching

      At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

      Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

      Our distance-learning and blended-learning courses and modules are self-directed and we will provide you with interactive learning opportunities and encourage you to collaborate and engage via various learning technologies. These courses involve limited or no face-to-face contact between students and module tutors.

      In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

      Methods of teaching on this course

      Teaching and learning methods include talks, discussions, group work, visits, presentations and self-directed learning using a range of resources, including the virtual learning environment. Learning groups are kept to around 20 students to ensure plenty of opportunity for interaction between students and lecturers.

      This is an intensive programme and you must be willing to work 15-20 hours a week independently outside class.

      Contact hours

      On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Alongside this, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and fieldtrips.

      On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project.

      On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students are encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies, but you may have limited or no face-to-face contact with your module tutors.

      The following information gives an indication of how many contact hours you can expect for each year of this course:

      Year Contact hours
      1 172

      Timetables

      Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

      Indicative class size

      Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

      Independent learning

      On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

      Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

      On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, the emphasis is very much on independent, self-directed learning and you will be expected to manage your own learning, with the support of your module tutors and various learning technologies.

      Study skills and additional support

      Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

      • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
      • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
      • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

      Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

      Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

      Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short- or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

      Assessment

      Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

      Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

      Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

      Methods of assessment on this course

      Coursework, timed assessments and seminar presentations.

      Breakdown of assessment on this course

      The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework will often depend on the option modules you choose. The approximate percentages for this course are as follows:

      Year % Exams % Practical % Coursework
      1 34 6 60
    • Careers and employability

      Careers and employability

      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

      You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link. You can only apply for the whole programme.

      If you wish to take this course over two years, you can take the Certificate via the modular routeYou can also study this course in Stratford.

      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

      Once your application is received, you will be invited to attend an admissions evening. Acceptance on to the programme will only be confirmed when your pathway of study has been agreed at one of these evenings. You will also receive guidance from our lecturers on which subject areas best suit your interests and potential, so you can plan your study and career progression effectively.