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History and Archaeology (Certificate of Higher Education)

This introductory course in history and archaeology covers a range of historical periods, themes and regions. Our History and Archaeology Certificate of Higher Education 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. 


  • Birkbeck was ranked in the top eight universities in the UK for its History research in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.
  • 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 in London to include historians, classicists and archaeologists in the same academic team 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.
  • We are home to 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:

Course structure

To gain the Certificate of Higher Education you must register on and successfully complete individual modules worth 120 credit points.

Module groups

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

  • 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, 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. Possible professions include:

    • journalist
    • archivist
    • museum/gallery curator
    • higher education lecturer.

    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.