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Philosophy (Certificate of Higher Education)

Come and explore some of the most profound questions it is possible to ask with some of the most eminent philosophers in the country. What makes something good or just? Is the human mind just a lump of grey matter? Can I know that I'm not trapped inside The Matrix? Do we have free will? Does God exist? Does science provide us with a special kind of knowledge? Who decides what counts as beautiful? 

Our Philosophy Certificate of Higher Education will allow you to develop a historical perspective on the main philosophical problems, learn about historical and contemporary philosophical debates and gain an understanding of key philosophical theories and concepts. You will also make connections between the ideas, beliefs and arguments that inform philosophical issues and learn how to articulate ideas systematically and logically.


  • Birkbeck is a leading centre for philosophical research in the UK. All of our established members of academic staff are active researchers, and our excellence in both teaching and research is consistently reflected in UK and international surveys.
  • We have our own library at 30 Russell Square. The main philosophy collection is held in the Birkbeck Library, which has an extensive range of books and online resources.
  • We are a member of the University of London’s Institute of Philosophy. Our students therefore belong to a large, intercollegiate community of philosophers, and are welcome at a range of seminars, lectures, talks and conferences.

Progression to degrees at Birkbeck

This Certificate of Higher Education is not only an award in its own right, but successful completion can give you entry into Year 2 of our BA Philosophy.

If you wish to use credits gained from modules previously offered as part of the Certificate of Higher Education in Philosophy to gain entry to the BA Philosophy you should contact the BA admissions tutor.

Course structure

To gain the Certificate of Higher Education you must register on and successfully complete four individual modules worth a total of 120 credit points, including a skills module in either Logic or Critical Thinking.

Please note: credits gained from previous, successfully completed philosophy modules can be counted towards the 120 credits required to complete this certificate.

Module groups

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

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    There are no specific entry requirements, except an interest in the intellectual pursuit of philosophy. However, all modules are taught at university level and you should be able to read, write and speak English fluently in order to benefit fully from your studies and successfully complete your coursework. 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 click on the Course Structure tab 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


    The topics and structure of the course mirror those of the first year of our BA Philosophy and you will join the BA lectures. After the 1.5-hour-long lecture, a seminar will give you an opportunity to discuss the lecture with fellow Certificate of Higher Education students, led by one of our experienced sessional lecturers.


    All modules are assessed half by an end-of-term examination and half by a take-home exercise.

  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue careers in:

    • education
    • research
    • politics
    • journalism.

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