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History and Archaeology (Certificate of Higher Education)

This introductory course in history and archaeology covers a wide range of historical periods, themes and regions, so you can choose to study human prehistory, Classical Greece and Rome, the medieval, Renaissance and early modern periods, and the more recent history of the twentieth century. With a choice of over 30 modules, you can pick the periods and subjects that really interest you. This course is ideal if you need to know more about history and archaeology for work, or if you are preparing to undertake an undergraduate degree, or if you are just pursuing a passion for learning about the past. You will learn how to study the past through both texts and objects and how to use a range of evidence - from prehistoric pottery to Greek sculpture, and Roman coins to medieval manuscripts. 

You will learn a variety of approaches, skills and historical methods, taught at the equivalent of first-year degree level. This certificate allows you to take the first steps towards a BA degree, working at your own pace and more flexibly than studying for a full degree.

Some modules are taught at London museums, archives and historic sites, giving you access to their rich collections. 


  • The Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck was ranked top in the UK for intellectual stimulation in the 2019 National Student Survey and first in London for teaching quality.
  • We are an international centre of excellence. Since 2001 we have consistently been in the top ten departments evaluated by the Research Excellence Framework (REF).
  • Our modules provide you with the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects to the equivalent of first-year undergraduate degree level, and allow you to progress to a full BA degree at your own pace, or just to study to broaden your intellectual horizons.
  • Our research is unique in its range across geographical and chronological boundaries. We are the only university department in London to include historians, classicists and archaeologists investigating every period from prehistory to the early twenty-first century. We see the study of the past as crucial for our understanding of present-day society, culture and politics.
  • We are at the heart of academic London with access to unparalleled research resources. Situated very close by are: the Institute of Classical Studies, with its library, training facilities and seminars; the British Museum, with its extensive collection of classical antiquities; and the British Library, the largest national library in the world.
  • The Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events.

Progression to degrees at Birkbeck

If you successfully complete this Certificate of Higher Education you can, subject to interview and results, gain exemption from the first year of the following courses at Birkbeck:

  • BA Archaeology 
  • BA History 
  • BA History and Archaeology
  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    None. However, 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.

    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 full-time courses (with the exception of modular enrolment certificates of higher education and graduate certificates), as these qualify for Tier 4 sponsorship. 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 courses (with the exception of some modules).

    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. 

    Please note: if you intend to study this certificate part-time and fund your studies via a student loan, this may affect your entitlement for future full-time funding. Find out more about funding your studies with a student loan.

  • Teaching and assessment


    Lectures, discussions, seminars and oral presentations, use of visual material, and individual and group work. Class visits may be arranged where appropriate.


    Your work on this course is assessed entirely via coursework, which forms an integral part of your learning experience and takes a number of different forms, including essays, book reviews, documentary analysis, oral presentations and learning journals. 

  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue careers in research, education or archaeology. This course may also be useful in becoming a journalist, archivist, museum/gallery curator or higher education lecturer.

    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

    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.