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Community Leadership (Certificate of Higher Education)

This innovative course is ideal if you want to get involved in community activity, or if you already work in the voluntary and community sector and want to study for a related award. 

Communities and charities are at the forefront of cutting-edge thinking and the development of policy in the area of democratic and social renewal. The sector is undergoing a transformation through its enhanced role in welfare delivery at a time of austerity and increased demand for services. Strong communities are crucial in this changing landscape and they need effective leaders, paid and unpaid, to manage local partnerships, neighbourhood groups, voluntary and community sector organisations, faith communities and urban partnerships. 

Our Community Leadership Certificate of Higher Education will develop your community leadership skills, as well as broader transferable skills, and help you better understand critical contemporary issues relating to the voluntary and community sector. 


  • We offer multiple approaches to the study of societies and cultures, human geography, and sustainability, poverty and development, as well as community and citizenship, at local, regional and global levels. 
  • Ours is a vibrant research culture, powered by a shared passion for learning and intellectual engagement among our academics and students. 
  • In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), Sociology at Birkbeck was ranked 13th in the UK. 
  • Discover more about studying in the Department of Geography and the range of student support we offer

Progression to degrees at Birkbeck

If you pass 90 credits with a minimum mark of 50%, you can apply for entry into Year 2 of our four-year, part-time BSc Community Development and Public Policy or BSc Social Sciences

If you pass 120 credits with a minimum mark of 50%, you can apply for entry into Year 2 of our three-year, full-time BSc Community Development and Public Policy or BSc Social Sciences.

If you are awarded this Certificate of Higher Education, you can apply to related foundation and undergraduate degrees at Birkbeck. 

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.

Module groups

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

You should take Module 1 first and we recommend that you take the remaining modules in order.

Please note: you may be exempt from Module 1 if you already hold a degree. If so, you can instead take the Sociology module from Higher Education Introductory Studies (Certificate in Higher Education), with the approval of the programme director.
  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    No formal entry requirements. 

    You need to have a knowledge of community work and you must be competent in both spoken and written English. 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 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, discussions, seminars, tutorials, use of visual material, and individual and group work.


    Project work, reports, essays and presentations.

  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue careers in voluntary sector organisations, local government and education. This course may be useful in becoming a charity officer, civil service administrator, local government officer or social researcher.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies. 

  • 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.