Birkbeck, University of London

In 1823 George Birkbeck founded the London Mechanics’ Institute with a vision for opening up university education to working Londoners. By 1920 Birkbeck was incorporated in to the University of London and today, almost 200 years later, George’s mission remains undimmed.

Birkbeck, University of London, is a world-class research and teaching institution, a vibrant centre of academic engagement and excellence and London's only specialist provider of evening higher education.

Where once we were known solely for our part-time courses and mature students, today we have a wider mix; our cohort of full-time undergraduates has grown from zero to almost 3,000 over the past six years. Undergraduate students can study for a degree at a pace that suits them, across three, four or six years, while we are the sixth largest provider of postgraduate programmes in the UK.

We have 14,000 students studying for over 130 Masters Degrees, nearly 80 BA/BSc/LLB degrees and 40 Certificates of Higher Education. We also have over 800 PhD students.

But while Birkbeck has its roots firmly in London, we are recognised on a global stage. The Times Higher Education (THE) World University rankings 2015-16 placed Birkbeck among the world’s top 250 universities and ranked us the 50th most international university, taking in to account both the international students and international academic collaborations.

Birkbeck’s reputation as a world-class research intensive institution was cemented by the Research Assessment Framework in 2014. Birkbeck was 30th in the UK for research (THE rankings ‘with intensity’), with 73% of our research rated ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. We are home to 44 research and specialist institutes.

This unique combination of ground-breaking research and innovative teaching provides an inspirational learning experience for our students; we have consistently ranked number one in London for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey.

Birkbeck’s main Bloomsbury campus is in the heart of academic London, home to a number of other universities and colleges of the University of London, including University College London and the School of Oriental and African Studies.

We are situated among beautiful, leafy squares in one of the world’s greatest concentrations of libraries, including the British Library and Senate House Library. The British Museum is next door and we are a just short stroll from the West End. Across the city in east London, we offer courses at University Square in Stratford. Both our campuses are well-served by public transport.

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Key facts

  • Top 250 Global University
  • London's only specialist provider of evening higher education
  • 73% of research rated 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent'
  • 14,000 students
  • No. 1 in London for overall satisfaction (NSS 2014)