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Applied Psychology (Certificate of Higher Education)

Psychology is an exciting, dynamic field that is broadly concerned with the scientific study of mental life and human behaviour: how people think, feel and behave as individuals and how they interact in groups. 

This Certificate of Higher Education in Applied Psychology is ideal if you are interested in pursuing a career in psychology, or if you have a keen interest in psychology as a science, or if you simply want to better understand human behaviour. 

You will study the application of psychology in a variety of settings, including education, health and organisations (for example in management and personnel), as well as exploring aspects of psychoanalytic theory and practice.


  • This Certificate of Higher Education introduces you to psychology at undergraduate level and is a stand-alone University of London qualification. The course is ideal if you are studying psychology at undergraduate level for the first time, if you are returning to study, or if you would like extra support and guidance. 
  • We offer study skills support to help you prepare for degree-level study and the course offers progression routes onto our BSc Psychology and BA Psychology for Education.
  • Our Department of Psychological Sciences is consistently regarded as one of the top psychological sciences departments in the UK. In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, and for the third time, it was ranked in the top ten universities in the UK.
  • Our Department of Psychological Sciences is strongly oriented towards research and contains the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, the Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues, the Birkbeck-UCL Centre for Neuroimaging and the Centre for Cognition, Computation and Modelling. The department is also a member of the Bloomsbury Centre for Genetic Epidemiology and Statistics.

Progression to degrees at Birkbeck

You can progress onto Year 1 of our part-time, four-year, evening study BSc Psychology if you complete the following modules:

  • Psychology of Learning, Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Research Methods for Psychology (Introduction)

You cannot apply for entry into Year 2 - take our Certificate of Higher Education in Psychology instead (you must complete specific modules, which are outlined on the course page). 

    You can progress onto Year 2 of our BA Psychology for Education if you complete the following modules:

    • The Developing Child: A Psychological Perspective
    • Psychology of Learning, Problem Solving and Decision Making
    • Research Methods for Psychology (Introduction)
    • Either Critical Approaches to Attachment OR Understanding Human Personality OR Critical Approaches to Positive Psychology

    Students who wish to proceed via these routes or who would like further information are advised to contact us before enrolling. 

    Course structure

    To gain the Certificate of Higher Education you must register on and successfully complete individual modules worth a total of 120 credits.

    You take two core modules (worth a total of 45 credits) and choose option modules worth 75 credits. Psychology of Learning, Problem Solving and Decision Making should usually be taken first. The remaining Level 4 modules may be taken in any order, except for Research Methods in Practice/Approaches to Applied Research, which is usually taken last.

    You can take more than one module at a time.

    Module groups

    You can take these modules as part of this certificate, or as standalone short courses.

    Please check the relevant syllabus to see if there is any suggested preparatory reading. See Choosing the Right Course if you need advice on choosing your programme of study.

    If you are unable to complete your Certificate of Higher Education during the normal period of registration you may be awarded a Certificate of Continuing Education as an intermediate award if you complete modules totalling 60 credits. You may not register for the Certificate of Continuing Education as an entry qualification.

    • Entry Requirements

      Entry requirements

      No formal qualifications are required. However, all modules are taught at university level and students 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. Some students may find that they just need some support with their academic writing, which they can take alongside their psychology studies. Others may be advised to focus on developing their English written and/or oral skills before applying for psychology courses.

      Students who want to assess the study skills they have, and those they need to develop, may wish to consider taking the Preparing to Study Psychology workshop.

      Some study skills support is included in all modules, but if you would like additional support in developing your study skills, you may enrol on one or more of the one-day workshops we offer. Details of other learning and skills training support, including one-to-one support, are available through Student Services.

      Visa requirements

      If you are not from the UK and you do not already have residency here, 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: Student visa
      • Courses of less than six months' duration: Standard Visitor visa

      International students who require a Student visa should apply for our full-time courses as these qualify for Student visa sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Student 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.

      Please also visit the international section of our website to find out more about relevant requirements by country.

    • 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, seminars, discussion or project work. You will be encouraged to participate actively in discussion and to undertake reading and coursework.


      Coursework, including assignments under timed conditions in the classroom for specified modules.

    • Careers and employability

      Careers and employability

      Graduates can pursue careers in psychology, human relations, education or marketing. Possible professions include:

      • clinical psychologist
      • further education lecturer
      • human resources officer
      • market researcher.

      We offer a comprehensive Careers Service - Birkbeck Futures - your career partner during your time at Birkbeck and beyond. At every stage of your career journey, we empower you to take ownership of your future, helping you to make the connection between your experience, education and future ambitions.

    • 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 course). Please view the Course Structure and then click on the title of individual modules to see class dates and times and to enrol.