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Birkbeck, University of London



THE World Ranking: 351



Birkbeck, University of London has an amazing reputation as one of the English capital city’s best, most unique universities. Birkbeck offers international and domestic students lots of exciting, life-changing opportunities to learn and grow on respected, well-rated courses across five key subject areas. There are over 250 undergraduate degree programmes available for study at Birkbeck, as well as nearly 500 postgraduate courses.


All courses at the university are taught after traditional working hours have come to an end, between six and nine in the evening. This unique model of learning allows students at Birkbeck to spend their days differently, whether they’re relaxing, studying, working part-time, or completing an employability-boosting internship.


From the research and study facilities to the talented tutors and lecturers, the standard of education at Birkbeck is never anything but high. It’s one of the top 400 universities in the world, and it also reaches the top 10 universities in the UK in some categories. For example, the QS World University Rankings for 2023 give the institution an International Students Ratio rating of 98.1 per cent.


Birkbeck is one of the University of London’s 17 member institutions. The University of London is a federation of London higher education providers at the top of their fields, providing high-quality education to many students. In total, there are nearly 250,000 learners under the University of London umbrella. Over 12,000 of those attend Birkbeck, including 3,000 international students from over 120 different countries.


The main Birkbeck building is in Bloomsbury, right in the city centre, and London’s famous transport network of underground and overground trains (named the London Underground and often nicknamed ‘The Tube’) can easily get a student anywhere they want to go from campus. In London, everything a person needs is close by. At Birkbeck, everything a student needs is offered, from award-winning research institutes and study buildings to comfortable, safe accommodation options.


The scholarships available to international students are great. The student support services make every person on campus feel heard and appreciated, providing everything from financial guidance to counselling to career coaching. There are many societies, clubs, and events to enjoy when classes are done for the day. Any person who wants to experience student life in London at a school that will always deliver a high standard of education should consider Birkbeck.


Discover more about studying at Birkbeck:


Teaching quality

Entry requirements

Scholarships & funding

University structure


Student support

Graduate outcomes


Teaching Quality

As Birkbeck is one of the University of London’s respected member institutions, it’s not a surprise to see that the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2022 placed it at 351st, while the QS World University Rankings for 2023 placed it at 343rd. Since 1823 when Birkbeck was founded, high-quality teaching and hard-working students have been the reasons for its success.


Birkbeck is today a leading research college that puts a lot of focus on diverse, inclusive learning. It’s one of the top 25 universities in the UK for international students and has a lot of talented international staff who share their skills, knowledge, and support with students of all backgrounds. In 2022, the 373 Euston Road Birkbeck teaching facility was given a Constructing Excellence SEBCE award.


As of 2020, six of Birkbeck’s courses were in the global top 200: Arts and humanities, history, psychology, media and communications and English studies (with media and communications and English studies in the top 150). Without quality teaching, these great rankings wouldn’t be possible. Across all subjects of study at Birkbeck, strong academic standards are in place, and many useful academic resources are easy for students to access.


Since Birkbeck courses normally happen in the evenings, students also benefit from a unique experience that many say raises the teaching quality even higher. They can spend their days as they want to and then fully apply themselves between six and nine in the evening. All enrolled students make the most of their studies and career opportunities, and the evening learning schedule makes it even easier for them to take on work experience opportunities and internships.


Entry Requirements

The university requirements for international students change from course to course at Birkbeck. Students can study at the undergraduate, postgraduate, or doctoral level, and these levels will also have some changing entry requirements. There may also be specific university entry requirements for students from certain countries. All academic grades (including equivalents for international applicants) will be mentioned on individual course pages on the Birkbeck website.


For undergraduate students, the university will consider their academic performance, knowledge, and work experience, as well as measure them against some general education level requirements. For example, an undergraduate student from Argentina will usually require a foundation course for entry onto any programme. They can also apply with an International Baccalaureate score. Depending on the course, IB requirements range from 28 to 30.


Undergraduates from all countries must also be able to prove that they have the right level of English understanding since courses at this institution are delivered and assessed in English. For postgraduates, there is also an English understanding requirement, but the education standards rise to the level of university qualifications.


Applicants will usually need at least a lower second-class bachelor’s degree or the equivalent for master’s programmes, rising to an upper second-class bachelor’s for doctoral and higher-level programmes.


English Score Required

Birkbeck welcomes lots of international students from around the world, and it’s a school that’s proud of its diversity. However, since it assesses and teaches in English, there is a need for a certain level of English language skill.


If overseas applicants can’t prove their proficiency in another way (for example, previous schooling in an English institution or time spent living in a majority English-speaking country), they will need to complete an English test and achieve a minimum score to be considered for student admission. Birkbeck accepts several English testing methods, with two of the most common being the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).


In terms of general English requirements, undergraduate applicants should achieve a minimum IELTS overall band score of 6.5 with no individual band scores below 6 or a minimum TOEFL online score of 79 (18 in reading, 19 in listening and speaking, 23 in writing).


Postgraduates should achieve a minimum IELTS overall band score of 7 with no individual band scores below 6.5 or a minimum TOEFL online score of 94 (19 in reading, 20 in listening and speaking, 24 in writing).


At both levels, some courses might have their own higher IELTS scores, so applicants should carefully research the courses they’re interested in to make sure they’re eligible. For applicants who don’t quite meet the standards, the university also offers several pre-sessional academic English courses that will help them improve and reach the right level of proficiency to enrol.



The admission process at Birkbeck is different for each level of study. For example, any international undergraduate applicant who wants to study full-time at the institution must apply for their course via UCAS, while any international postgraduate student must apply directly via the Birkbeck website. Part-time undergraduate courses should also be applied for via the Birkbeck website.


There are eight admission steps that undergraduate students need to follow for university admission to the UK. They need to make sure they include as much detail as possible when filling out their forms. If they’re applying with international qualifications, they may have to send these transcripts to the university directly. The eight steps are:


Register with UCAS. Fill out their details, including residency, personal circumstances, and current email address.


  1. Add their education history from secondary onwards.
  2. Fill in any employment history.
  3. Select their course choices.
  4. Write their personal statement, usually 1,000 words long.
  5. Submit their application.
  6. Get a reference, pay the application fee and officially send their application.


As mentioned, there is an application fee. International students can choose to apply to up to five courses through UCAS. If they choose to apply for five, the fee (as of 2023) is GBP 27. For people who only want to apply to Birkbeck, the fee is reduced (also as of 2023) to GBP 22.50.


Postgraduate students must always apply through Birkbeck directly. On the application form, they will need to provide their personal details, their previous qualifications, and any relevant work experience. They’ll then need to share a personal statement, references, statistical information and any funding or sponsorship information (if they’re being sponsored by their employer, for example). Finally, they’ll need to prove their English score and send proof of identity and academic achievement.


One important thing for Birkbeck student admission applicants to think about before they hit submit on an application is the tuition cost. Tuition fees can be very different between courses, so it is recommended that all applicants do their research on specific fees that will apply to them.


For example, a full-time international student studying for a bachelor’s degree in business can expect to pay GBP 14,560 annually, while a part-time international student studying for a master’s in information technology should expect to pay GBP 8,190 annually.


Scholarships & Funding

Birkbeck offers several scholarships to international students. Some of them are available to all international applicants, and others are offered to students from specific backgrounds. Each of the available university scholarships is awarded based on different criteria (often based on academic achievement).


One of the most popular options is the Birkbeck International Excellence Scholarship. Students must be enrolled in a full-time undergraduate or postgraduate taught programme to be eligible for this scholarship. The funding offered ranges from GBP 1,000 to GBP 5,000 and will be awarded as a direct reduction of a student’s tuition fees in their first year only.


There are different application forms for students from different regions who want to be considered for the Birkbeck International Excellence Scholarship. Students must also submit a statement of intent of no longer than 4,000 characters, explaining why they should receive it. They must also pay a non-refundable fee of GBP 200 if they succeed in getting the award.


Citizens of commonwealth countries who are studying master's and doctoral courses can apply for the Commonwealth Scholarships if they come from low-income or poor economic backgrounds. About 800 of these are awarded each year, and the exact award amount changes. Students should check the criteria and make sure that they’re eligible before applying.


Postgraduate students from India and Nigeria can get a 10 per cent reduction on their tuition fees for their first year via the International Early Enrolment Tuition Fee Reduction. Any student living in Nigeria and starting a master’s in the School of Arts can also apply for the Nigeria Creative Industries Master’s Scholarships. These will provide a GBP 1,000 tuition fee reduction in their first year.


University Structure

Birkbeck is in Bloomsbury, one of the most beautiful and exciting areas in the city of London. There are schools, departments and research centres located on and around Gower Street, Russell Square and Torrington Square. Combined, there are a total of five academic schools at Birkbeck, and they all contain several departments. The structure is as follows:


  • The School of Arts
    • The Department of English, Theatre and Creative Writing
    • The Department of Film, Media, and Cultural Studies
    • The Department of History of Art
    • The Department of Languages, Cultures and Applied Linguistics
  • The School of Business, Economics, and Informatics:
    • The Department of Computer Science and Information Systems
    • The Department of Economics, Mathematics and Statistics
    • The Department of Management
    • The Department of Organisational Psychology
  • The School of Law
    • The Department of Criminology
    • The Department of Law
  • The School of Science
    • The Department of Biological Sciences
    • The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
    • The Department of Psychology Sciences
  • The School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy:
    • The Department of Geography
    • The Department of History, Classics and Archaeology
    • The Department of Philosophy
    • The Department of Politics
    • The Department of Psychosocial Studies


Birkbeck also has lots of research institutes and research centres to boast about. The institutes are set up well for multi-subject research and study, and they enable staff researchers and students to work together on a range of exciting projects. Examples include:


  • The Birkbeck Gender and Sexuality Institute
  • The Birkbeck Institute for the Study of Antisemitism
  • The Institute for Crime and Justice Policy Research
  • The Institute for Data Analytics
  • The Institute for the Moving Image
  • The Institute for Structural Molecular Biology



The facilities available to students at Birkbeck are amazing. International students find it easy to settle in and make friends thanks to the extracurricular facilities, including clubs, societies, and lots of activities to join in with at exciting student life centres on campus and across the busy city of London. The Students’ Union at Birkbeck is a great example, a home for lots of clubs and societies, including the Applied Linguistics Society, the Enviro Society and many more.


The Gordon Square Cinema is multi-purpose, great as a study area and a student recreation centre. Students can access the cinema room itself, as well as private break-out spaces and room for group/independent study. The Gordon Square café is also a great choice for eating and drinking, serving a nice range of sandwiches, cakes and hot and cold drinks.


Academically, the facilities are just as hard to beat. Each lecture theatre includes a range of modern technology, including a visualiser and a microphone. Each teaching room comes with a PC, a data projector, a whiteboard and more.


The historic Keynes Library (named after influential British figure John Maynard Keynes, well-known in the field of economics) in the School of Arts is the perfect student activity centre for study, research and hard work.



Most people who attend Birkbeck prefer to live in private student accommodation, but the university does offer some accommodation. Options include choices for full-time, part-time and short-term students, as well as choices for families and couples (with one member of the group as a current student). There are also disability-friendly accommodation options to meet all accessibility needs.


For new international students, the International Hall is the best option for university accommodation (rather than private). This hall houses over 850 students, and it’s close to major tube stations like King’s Cross and Russell Square. It’s also less than a 10-minute walk away from the Bloomsbury campus.


There are single rooms, studios, and flats at International Hall, as well as catered and self-catered options. Prices change between options. A single-catered room with a shared bathroom, for example, is GBP 245.28 weekly, while a self-catered double studio is GBP 300.23 weekly.


Returning Birkbeck students will usually choose to live in a privately rented shared student house or apartment. This connects them directly to the city of London and gives them more freedom and space to study outside the university area, but students are advised to do plenty of research before finding a private rental to make sure it’s in the right location (and good value for money).


Student Support

The university’s student services are highly rated and very useful. At Birkbeck, the complete student support programme covers everything from counselling and mental health advice to career coaching and academic skills workshops.


Student support services for international students help them to settle into London life and handle all the paperwork from the application phase onwards. International students also get their own orientation events. Disabled students can always access focused student support for their accessibility and learning needs through the disability and dyslexia service. Religious students of all faiths can turn to chaplains.


The support doesn’t only get offered in person, either. Students can also access a range of helpful student guides and resources online. Whether it’s a booklet on foreign travel information or a presentation covering the IT basics at Birkbeck, everyone can find the help they’re looking for.


Graduate Outcomes

In 2019, research revealed that 50 per cent of Birkbeck alumni were earning over GBP 30,000 annually within six months of graduation. Clearly, job prospects from this institution are strong. Tutors hold students to high standards and prepare them not just for academic success but for the workplace.


Plus, there are lots of career services available for students. These, along with the professional standards applied to teaching across all programmes and courses, are a big part of widening their career options as much as possible.


The university’s employment services are freely available to current students and recent graduates. There are lots of options, including a job search platform (the Student Circus), free workshops on things like CV writing and interview technique, and in-depth one-to-one sessions with a career guide for advice and direction. (These sessions can usually be offered in person or online, whichever better suits the student.)


There’s also a full career coaching programme at Birkbeck, as well as an Upskill programme that keeps potential future employers coming to campus all academic year. Overall, Birkbeck gives students, whether domestic or international, all the tools they need to succeed.



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Key facts and figures at Birkbeck, University of London


Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023
Source: THE


QS World University Rankings 2024
Source: QS


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