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Economics (Certificate of Higher Education)

Economics and finance are top of the agenda in today's world and make front-page news almost every day. If you are interested in discovering more about these crucial subjects, but you do not have the time to devote to undertaking a full undergraduate or postgraduate degree, this introductory course will help you to get to grips with the key issues, theories and questions, while deepening your understanding of how economists make sense of the world. Our Economics Certificate of Higher Education is ideal if you are new to the subject or if you already hold an undergraduate degree in a different subject. 

This course will introduce you to the tools and techniques economists use to investigate contemporary economic issues, both in the UK and globally. Each module will give you a critical understanding of economic theories and data, as well as their application to current economic debates and controversies. 

Topics covered include core economic principles and their relevance to policy issues, financial markets, changes in economic structure and regulation, the developing world, globalisation, and the history of economic thought. 


  • We bring together research and teaching in economics, finance, mathematics and statistics in a single department which creates significant interdisciplinary synergies. 
  • We have an excellent reputation for the quality of our teaching, providing training for employers such as the Treasury and the Bank of England.
  • Birkbeck was ranked in the top 25 universities in the UK for its Economics and Econometrics research in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.
  • The research of our academics, many of whom are recognised as world-class experts in their fields, feeds directly into our teaching. 

Progression to degrees at Birkbeck

If you pass the modules Economic Principles and Quantitative Economic Methods with a pass rate of 60% or above, you can apply for admission to our BSc Economics or BSc Financial Economics

If you pass the module Economic Principles with a pass rate of 60% or above, you can apply for admission to our BSc Economics and Business. 

If you are a graduate in a non-economics subject and you have taken a Certificate of Higher Education course or module in economics at Birkbeck, you can proceed onto one of our Graduate Diplomas. These teach the core elements of an undergraduate degree in one or two years at a much more intensive and technical level. Successfully completing a Graduate Diploma offers a pathway onto an MSc postgraduate degree at Birkbeck or elsewhere. 

Course structure

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

  • one compulsory Economic Principles module (30 credits)
  • three or four option modules which can include a maximum of two 15-credit options (90 credits).

Please note that for all fast-track modules, you are required to attend 11 evening meetings, plus two Saturday schools (10am-5pm).

Module groups

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

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    All modules are taught at a level comparable to the early stages of an undergraduate degree and you should, therefore, be able to read, write and speak English fluently. If you need help, we offer a range of academic English and language development modules.

    You should have a general interest in the subject, be literate and able to write essays and display problem-solving skills.

    The modules are open to both graduates and non-graduates and are taught at an introductory level. Each module is designed to be free-standing and most can be taken with no prior training in economics. 

    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


    Classes involve lectures and discussion. Approximately four hours of independent study a week are required for each module, which forms an important element of the learning process.


    100% coursework (this includes essays, presentations and in-class tests).

  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue careers in:

    • the private and public sectors
    • banking and finance
    • industry (UK and overseas).

    This certificate also allows you to progress to further study.

    We offer a comprehensive careers service - Careers and Enterprise - 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 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.