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Psychology (Certificate of Higher Education)

Are you curious about human behaviour and the mind? Would you like to know more about what psychology and research say about human behaviour? Have you always wanted to study psychology but didn’t have the qualifications, or just want to see if psychology is for you, or have a non-psychology degree but want to study at postgraduate level? Then our Psychology Certificate of Higher Education is for you.

This course provides a systematic introduction to the major areas of modern psychology. You will learn about the different perspectives and fields that have shaped psychology and key findings from social, cognitive and neuroscience, and gain a fundamental understanding of psychological research.

On the course, you will experience degree-level study taught by academics focused on supporting the development of your study skills and assisting and increasing your knowledge and understanding of human behaviour.

You can study at your own pace, taking one module at a time, or if you are keen to progress to our BSc Psychology, you can take the four core modules in one academic year.


Progression to degrees at Birkbeck

Completion of core modules enables progression onto our part-time evening BSc Psychology degree:

  • Year 2 entry: you must complete all four core modules, usually with a grade of 50% or above in each module. Anyone wishing to complete these modules in one year must obtain the agreement of the Psychology subject team.
  • Year 1 entry: applications are encouraged from those who complete Foundations of Modern Psychology and Research Methods for Psychology (Introduction).

Course structure

To gain the Certificate of Higher Education you must register on and successfully complete individual modules worth a total of 120 credit points. You take the four core modules (worth a total of 90 credits) and choose option modules worth 30 credits.

Foundations of Modern Psychology should usually be taken first. The remaining Level 4 modules may be taken in any order, except for Research Methods in Practice, which is usually taken last. You may take more than one module at a time.

We also offer a range of study skills workshops for students enrolled on this course.

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

    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 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.

    Due to the cumulative nature of the topics, you are encouraged to attend as many sessions from your chosen module(s) as possible.


    Coursework, including assignments under timed conditions in the classroom.

  • 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.