Skip to main content

Psychology (Certificate of Higher Education)

If you are intrigued by human behaviour and the workings of the mind and desire a deeper understanding of psychology and its research findings, then our Psychology Certificate of Higher Education is ideal. This course is designed to offer you the necessary qualifications to study psychology at degree level and give you the opportunity to explore the subject first before committing to this level. The modules may also interest those who hold non-psychology-related degrees and are considering engaging in postgraduate-level studies in psychology.

The certificate provides you with a comprehensive introduction to the major domains of modern psychology. You will delve into the diverse perspectives and fields that have shaped the discipline, while acquiring essential knowledge about key social, cognitive and neuroscience research discoveries. On successful completion of this course, you will have developed a solid foundation in psychological research and gained a fundamental understanding of human behaviour.

Throughout the course, you will experience education on a par with degree-level studies. Our faculty members are dedicated to supporting your growth by nurturing your study skills, fostering your comprehension of the subject matter, and ensuring your overall academic development.

You can study at your own pace to accommodate your circumstances and learning preferences. You can take one module at a time, however, if you are eager to advance further and pursue our BSc Psychology programme, you can complete the core modules within a single academic year with the opportunity to progress to the second year of the part-time BSc Psychology.


  • All modules are ‘open access’ with no formal entry requirements and are largely offered in the evenings with some daytime provision.
  • 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.
  • If you discover a passion and ability in the study of psychology, you can apply for the first year of our part-time BSc Psychology or progress directly to Year 2 by gaining 50% or above in each of the six core modules listed below.
  • 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 most recent 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

To be considered for progression onto our part-time evening BSc Psychology degree:

Year 1

You must complete the following core modules:

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

Year 2

You must pass with a mark of 50% or above the assessments for all six core modules.

Course structure

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

  • six core modules (90 credits)
  • a compulsory study skills module (0 credits)
  • one or two option modules (30 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

    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. 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.

    Due to the cumulative nature of the topics, you are encouraged to attend as many sessions from your chosen module(s) as possible.


    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 exceptions are Research Methods for Psychology (Introduction) and Research Methods in Practice, where you are expected to write a laboratory report and in-class statistical-based tests.

  • 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.