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Birkbeck

Location: Central London Show on Map

Site: Main campus in Bloomsbury; some courses offered in Stratford.

A top UK research-intensive institution, specialising in evening higher education. A member of the 1994 Group of universities.

Student Population

Total Students:19,580
Undergraduates:69%
Postgraduates:31%
FE Students:0%

Undergraduates

Total undergraduates:13,445
Male:46%
Female:54%
Full Time:2%
Mature on Entry:68%
UK Students:94%
State school entry:77%

Teaching Staff

560 full and part-time

Broad study areas

Arts, business & management, computer science, economics, law, sciences, psychology, social sciences.

Freshers

Admission Information:Flexible entry policy for first-degree students
Drop Out Rate:9%
Accommodation:Some full-time students housed

Institution

Founded:1823
Structural features:A multi-faculty college of University of London
Site:In the heart of University of London’s central precinct in Bloomsbury, central London. Some courses are offered at Stratford, in East London.
How to get there:Easily reached by tube (Russell Square, Goodge Street, Warren Street, Euston Square and Euston stations), mainline stations (Euston, St Pancras, King’s Cross) and well-served by central London bus routes and docking stations for London cycle scheme.
Special features:London’s only specialist provider of part-time, evening higher education, allowing students to earn while they learn.

Student services & facilities

Student advice & services:My Birkbeck student support services cover every aspect of studying at Birkbeck and is the gateway into the institution: from first enquiry, to arrival for the first class, right through to graduation. Services include a dedicated website and helpdesk where students can drop in, or contact by phone or email, and provides advice on eg finance, disability and learning support. SU is affiliated with the NUS and promotes student welfare issues and also provides a counselling service.
Amenities:Restaurant, café and snack bar (open day and evenings); SU bar. Very close to eg UCL and SOAS. ULU (University of London Union) is next door - a well-known music venue and with all major sports and social facilities.
Sporting facilities:All major sports facilities at ULU (University of London Union), next door, including a gym and the largest swimming pool in central London. .
Accommodation:No college accommodation, as most students live at home. Those needing to rent can get advice from University of London Housing Services (ULHS). Full-time students can apply to London University halls of residence (Birkbeck has a quota of rooms).

Study opportunities & careers

Library & information services:Five floor library in main building: 300,000+ books; access to 20,000 electronic journals, ebooks and databases; 376 study places. Open 15 hours/day (until 11.45 pm) 7 days/week, including web/phone/email enquiry services; 24-hour book renewal (web/phone). Information provision, £91 pa spent for each student (FTE). Students may also use the main University of London Senate House Library next door. Networked IT service across campus and from outsidethe college; IT support with technical bulletins, regular newsletter and helpdesk.
Other learning resources:Range of academic and learning support including English language, study skills and essay writing. Courses and workshops on eg note-taking, academic writing, exam revision, research skills, and developing IT skills to enhance presentation of work.
Careers:Comprehensive career planning and development service.

Money

Term-time work:As teaching takes place in the evenings, students are free to work and develop their careers during the day.
Financial help:Fee reductions of £2250 pa for UK/EU students whose family income is up to £20k pa studying their degree over 4 years (less if the course is less intense). Cash bursaries of £750 pa for students whose family income is up to £25k pa, studying over 4 years. Part-time students are now eligible for government loans to cover tuition costs. College hardship funds for students in difficulties.
University tuition fees:Students pay £6000 pa for 4-year part-time first degree courses (£6750 for those leading to professional recognition); £8000 pa full-time (£9000 for professionally recognised courses). Students can pay in eight instalments at no extra cost.

Courses

Academic features:

Multi-faculty institution teaching 170+ postgraduate, 75+ undergraduate degrees and 60+ undergraduate certificates courses.

Awarding body:

University of London

Main undergraduate awards:

FdA, FdSc, BA, BSc, BSc(Econ), LLB

Length of courses:

4 years part-time; 3 years full-time.

Main subjects offered:

  • Accountancy
  • Archaeology
  • Art History
  • Arts Management
  • Astronomy
  • Biochemistry
  • Biological Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Science
  • Business Economics
  • Business Studies
  • Chemistry
  • Classical Studies
  • Classics
  • Community Studies
  • Computer Science
  • Computing
  • Conservation
  • Counselling
  • Creative/Performance Writing
  • Criminal Justice
  • Criminology
  • Dance
  • Development Studies
  • Earth Sciences
  • Economics
  • English
  • Environmental Biology
  • Environmental Management
  • Environmental Science
  • Environmental Studies
  • European Studies
  • Film Studies
  • Finance
  • Financial Economics
  • French
  • Garden Design
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • German
  • Hispanic Studies
  • History
  • History/Philosophy of Science
  • Horticulture
  • Housing Management
  • Humanities
  • Iberian Studies
  • Information Systems
  • Information Technology
  • International Relations
  • Japanese
  • Journalism
  • Latin American Studies
  • Law
  • Linguistics
  • Management
  • Mathematics
  • Media Studies
  • Molecular Biology
  • Multimedia
  • Performance Arts
  • Pharmacy
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Portuguese
  • Psychology
  • Social Anthropology
  • Social Policy
  • Social Science
  • Social Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Statistics
  • Theatre Studies
  • Web Development/Design
  • Youth & Community Work

Student view

Pierre Smith Khanna (Politics, Philosophy and History), Communication and Activities Officer

Living

What's it like as a place to live?

Birkbeck doesn't have halls of its own (but will provide support for those who need it via University of London halls). It is, however, located in a brilliant spot in the midst of Bloomsbury, surrounded by parks and students from SOAS, LSE, UCL etc.

What's the student population like?

This is probably Birkbeck's biggest asset in my opinion – that is, not only is the student population diverse (all nations, colours and creeds are here) in 'normal' London fashion, but all ages groups too. I started studying here when I was 20, and found that I learnt as much from talking to the other students after lectures as I did by sitting in the lecture itself. Everyone comes from a different walk of life, and many have lived colourful lives already so listening to their experiences is extremely rewarding, as is debating with such open minded individuals. Witnessing a 65 year old man interrupt the lecturer to correct him by saying 'I remember meeting so and so in a lecture in 1964 and ...' is priceless.

How do students and locals get on?

Everyone gets along pretty well. If you go to the same coffee shop or sandwich shop regularly the staff start to recognise you and will always have a chat when they see you (in my experience at least!). There's a brilliant farmers' market on every Thursday right in front of Birkbeck's main entrance, which serves the best burger in the area! Plenty of pubs and cafes to go to before/after class too.

Studying

What's it like as a place to study?

I find it a great place to study, partly because I love my course (Politics, Philosophy and History) and Birkbeck is the only university in the UK which provides it, and partly because I've got to know such great people here. The course structure is simple enough (split into 3 terms) and flexible enough to fit around other obligations (work, caring duties etc..), comprising 3 nights a week from 6pm to 7/8pm(depending on your tutorial schedule). The facilities are fine; what you'd expect from studying in central London.

What are the teaching staff like?

The teaching staff are generally very good. Personal preferences do come into play though, some students favour certain academics and criticise others. Overall the staff are well read and have an in depth knowledge of their subject areas, and quite often the course they teach overlaps with their own personal research. There are, of course, a handful who have been dotted with 'academic glamour' – the critic Slavoj Zizek and Birkbeck's President Eric Hobsbawm two of the most recognized internationally.

Socialising

What are student societies like?

There are currently a dozen or so of them, ranging from LGBT, French, German, early Modernist and law societies. It would be wrong to say that they are the backbone of student life here, but if you are part of one you certainly benefit from great events and networking opportunities. Societies are pretty easy to set up, the Student Union are keen on supporting them, all it takes is dedication on the student's behalf to keep them going. The Student Union is currently working on a collaborative project with SOAS and the IOE to create sporting societies and teams (5 a side football, hockey, badminton etc..) to compete in the ULU leagues.

What's a typical night out?

It depends how close your exams are. Usually it's a few drinks at The George (Birkbeck's bar), out on the terrace, engaged either in a philosophical debate, playing foosball, or cracking ridiculous jokes (or all three at the same time). It is not unusual, however, to take the conversation elsewhere once The George kicks us out at 11pm, and a few nights have been spent wondering around Bloomsbury half sober till the early hours of the morning, having danced our socks off in the little Spanish bar behind Tottenham Court Road.

... And how much does it cost?

Drinks at the George are dead cheap; drinks elsewhere are fairly priced. If you go down to dance in the Spanish bar there is no entry fee either, so all in all it's a relatively cheap night out!

How can you get home safely?

By tube, bus, foot, night bus, Borris bike, taxi, bike, minicab... the options are endless.

Money

Is it an expensive place to live?

London is an expensive place to live – it's the UK's most expensive city. However, if you know your way around and are on the lookout for a good deal, you will certainly find one. Accommodation aside, it is possible to live on under £5 a day if you plan your meals ahead. Birkbeck has a good eatery, which serves hot lunches and dinners for under £4. Otherwise, tons of places offer student discounts - it's simply a matter of using it. Because there are so many places to go out in London, the best advice is, if you're a frequent party-goer, make sure you find the good deals. Don't waste £20 for an entry to a nightclub; plenty of great places don't charge at the door, or charge under £10.

Average price of a pint?

£3.60

And the price of a takeaway?

£4-5

What's the part-time work situation?

If you're not working part-time it means you're working full-time. That's to be expected at Birkbeck. The College offers job opportunities from time to time, as does ULU next door, but it's really up to you to find your own opportunities. It's not like London isn't full of them... all it takes is a few days dedicated to walking around different neighbourhoods and giving your CV to each and every shop, bar, restaurant, pub and outlet you see. The more CVs you give out, the more likely it is you'll receive a phone call asking for an interview/trial shift during the week.

Summary

What's the best feature about the place?

It's part time, which allows you to have a life outside of university, in London, and a life at Birkbeck. Both are quite amazing.

And the worst?

Studying for 4 years instead of 3. That's the price you pay for the freedom and flexibility it allows though...

And to sum it all up?

Birkbeck is the only high standard university that allows you to benefit from your personal experience in London, while learning and earning a degree. The experience of students surrounding you simply adds to the pool of knowledge from which you can draw endlessly upon, going well beyond your degree and preparing you for real life.

Past Students

Baroness McFarlane (Manchester University), Dame Elizabeth Estève-Coll (Vice Chancellor, East Anglia University), Frank Sidebottom (cabaret singer), Sidney Webb (founder of LSE and other things), Helen Sharman (first British astronaut), Laurie Taylor (sociologist and journalist).

More info?

Contact President of SU, President@bcsu.bbk.ac.uk

Contact

Address:

Birkbeck College, University of London
Malet Street
London
WC1E 7HX

Tel:

0845 601 0174 or 020 7631 6692

Email:

info@bbk.ac.uk

Website:

www.bbk.ac.uk

Student enquiries:

My Birkbeck Student Centre (www.bbk.ac.uk/ask)

Application:

Direct

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