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Applied Psychology (Certificate of Higher Education)

Are you intrigued by psychology and its practical applications in both your personal and professional life? If you're not yet ready to pursue an undergraduate degree or want to get a taste of this field first, the Applied Psychology Certificate of Higher Education is ideal. You will be taught in small interactive classes, alongside fellow students who are keen to learn and bring a wide range of experience to the class.

This course allows you to study at your own pace and choose from various modules that delve into the scientific study of mental life and human behaviour and the applications of this dynamic and exciting field.


  • This Certificate of Higher Education introduces you to psychology at undergraduate level and is a standalone University of London qualification. The course is ideal if you are studying psychology at undergraduate level for the first time, if you are returning to study, or if you would like extra support and guidance. 
  • We offer study skills support to help you prepare for degree-level study and if you work, or wish to work, with children and young people in education you may be considered for direct entry into Year 2 of our BA Psychology for Education.
  • The course has no formal entry requirements.
  • Birkbeck is strongly oriented towards research in psychological sciences and we are home to the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, the Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues, the Birkbeck-UCL Centre for Neuroimaging and the Centre for Cognition, Computation and Modelling. We also recently became members of the Bloomsbury Centre for Genetic Epidemiology and Statistics.
  • In the 2023 National Student Survey, Birkbeck's School of Psychological Sciences ranked 5th in the UK for teaching.
  • We are consistently regarded as one of the top institutions teaching psychological sciences  in the UK. In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, and for the third time, we were ranked in the top ten universities in the UK.

Progression to degrees at Birkbeck

You may be considered for entry onto Year 1 of our part-time, four-year, evening study BSc Psychology if you complete the following modules:

  • Theoretical and Conceptual Foundations of Psychology
  • Understanding Applied Cognitive Psychology
  • Research Methods for Psychology (Introduction)
  • Understanding Applied Social Psychology

You cannot apply for entry into Year 2 - take our Certificate of Higher Education in Psychology instead (you must complete specific modules, which are outlined on the course page). 

    You may be considered for entry onto Year 2 of our part-time, four-year BA Psychology with Educational Psychology if you complete the following modules:

    • Theoretical and Conceptual Foundations of Psychology
    • Research Methods for Psychology (Introduction)
    • Biological and Neuropsychology
    • Fundamental Concepts in Developmental Psychology
    • Understanding Personality and Intelligence
    • Psychology Study Skills
    • Working with Children and Families: Diversity and Communication

    Students who wish to proceed via these routes or who would like further information are advised to contact us before enrolling.

    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:

    • three core modules (45 credits)
    • a compulsory study skills module (0 credits)
    • four or five option modules (75 credits).

    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 Which Level of Study is Right for Me? 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

      No formal qualifications are required. However, all modules are taught at university level and students 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. Some students may find that they just need some support with their academic writing, which they can take alongside their psychology studies. Others may be advised to focus on developing their English written and/or oral skills before applying for psychology courses.

      The course includes a compulsory study skills module. Details of other learning and skills training support, including one-to-one support, are available through Student Services.

      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, in-class and out-of-class exercises, demonstrations, or class presentations in groups or individually. You will be encouraged to participate actively in discussion and to undertake reading and coursework.


      Some modules will be assessed via an essay completed at home and an in-class essay at the end of the module, and others may be an essay and presentation or multiple choice. The exception is Research Methods for Psychology (Introduction), where you are expected to complete a laboratory report, timed assessments and a worksheet portfolio.

    • 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 - 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.