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Legal Studies (Certificate of Higher Education)

The Certificate of Higher Education in Legal Studies provides you with an introduction to law, with a focus on developing academic, legal and transferable skills.

It is ideal if you have a general interest in law, wish to pursue further studies but don't have the right qualifications or don't want to commit to a whole degree yet, or are interested in enhancing your transferable skills for career purposes.


  • This course can be used as an entry qualification for a range of law degrees.
  • Birkbeck is a leading international centre for world-class legal teaching, research and scholarship and has the most rapidly expanding law team within the University of London.
  • Dedicated academic skills workshops are run at Birkbeck by our Senior Learning Development Tutor, who can advise on essay-writing, time management, efficient reading and note-making, giving presentations and participating in seminars.
  • We encourage our students to participate in the wide range of extracurricular activities we offer, including lectures by internationally renowned guest speakers, our Student Law Society, our annual retreat to Cumberland Lodge in Windsor, which allows you to explore contemporary issues in law with specialist speakers, and our successful mooting and mock trial programme, where advocacy training is given by experienced practising barristers.
  • During each year, we offer a range of career-related talks.

Progression to degrees at Birkbeck

On successful completion of this Certificate of Higher Education, you can progress onto our LLB Law.

Course structure

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

You normally take one module a term, but if you wish to complete the certificate within a year you will need to take two modules in the summer term. It is also recommended that you take the modules in the following order: English Legal System; The Administration of Justice; Law, Society and Ethics; Law in Context.

Module groups

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

Please note that the modules listed here are indicative; not all modules will be available every year.

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    We welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications as we base decisions on our own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience. We may waive formal entry requirements based on judgement of academic potential.

    All modules are taught at university level and you should be able to read, write and speak English fluently.

    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, virtual learning environments, one-to-one tutorials, web-based independent skills tutorials, and public seminars and research events.


    Short writing exercises, essays and reports, class presentations, case-study analysis, online discussion forums, and self and peer assessment.

  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue careers in the legal profession, human resources or local government. Possible professions include:

    • barrister
    • solicitor
    • chartered legal executive
    • human resources officer.

    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.