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Accommodation and living costs

The costs of living and studying in London will depend on the type of accommodation you choose, where in London you live, your travel and day-to-day expenses, and the associated costs of your course, including books, field trips, equipment and travel. We strongly advise you to make full provision to cover the costs of living and studying in London before you begin your course at Birkbeck.

As a rough guide, and to help you begin to plan your budget, we recommend that you allow for £12,000 to £13,000 per year (around £1000 to £1200 per month) to meet essential accommodation and living costs (not including tuition fees).

Find out about financial support for students in need.

Find out how to budget for your studies.

Accommodation costs 

The cost of renting accommodation in London fluctuates and varies from place to place, so the following is only a guide. Accommodation in central London - where the Birkbeck campus is located - is usually much more expensive than living further out from the centre. This is what you might expect to pay for the various accommodation options available to Birkbeck students: 

  • A room in a partner hall of residence can cost from around £200 to £300 per week.
  • A room, flat or house rented privately can cost from around: 
    • £500 to £750+ per month to rent a room in a shared flat or house. 
    • £950 to £1500+ per month to rent a one-bedroom flat, depending on how close you are to the centre. 
    • £1200 to £1600+ per month to rent a two-bedroom flat. 
  • The Greater London Authority has created a useful rent map that compares the average price of renting in different areas of London. 
  • The University of London Housing Service can give you professional guidance and support in finding private rented accommodation in London. 

Living costs 

When you plan your budget you need also to consider these essential costs:

  • food: £30-£40 per week
  • bills (water, electricity, gas, broadband, TV licence): £15-30 per week
  • travel to and from College: £15-35 per week
  • books and equipment: £10 per week.

When you create your budget remember to include personal and leisure-related expenses including mobile phone bills, clothes, toiletries, sports and hobbies, subscriptions, and social activities. It's also a good idea to allow extra money for unexpected expenses.


  • Council tax is paid to the Local Authority where you live to cover the cost of providing services, including police and fire services, refuse collection and disposal.
  • Full-time students are normally exempt from paying council tax, but are expected to provide proof in the form of a Council Tax exemption certificate when they apply to their Local Authority. These exemption certificates can be obtained via the Student Advice Service. We can post this to you or you can collect one from the Student Advice Service.
  • Part-time students can also be eligible for Council Tax exemption, but this depends on the course you are studying. To find out if you're eligible for Council Tax exemption, please contact the Student Advice Service.
  • Students living in halls of residence are automatically exempt from council tax.