Birkbeck, University of London is in the heart of the historic neighbourhood of Bloomsbury in central London. We are one of six departments in the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy whose mission is to teach and research issues of fundamental importance to humanity. In our department the issues we are researching and teaching address some of the most pressing issues of our time, climate change, sustainability, coastal erosion, international development, racism, and social and economic inequality.
Our department has nearly 500 students studying at Certificate, Undergraduate and Postgraduate level. We are proud of the diversity of our student body. A quarter of our students are under 25, a further 20 per cent are between 25 and 30 and nearly one-third are between 30 and 40 years of age. Two – thirds of our students are women and nearly half of our student identify as Black and Minority Ethnic.
A typical lecture group is between 10 and 40 students and seminars generally have 15 students in undergraduate and postgraduate modules. We are committed to research-led teaching, which means that all of our academic staff teach to their specialisms: you will be taught by some of the leading academics in their field. In general, academics deliver both lectures and seminars.
We teach in the evenings. For part time students you will be in class one or two evenings a week for two or three terms. For full time students you will be in lectures or seminars for two or three evenings a week for two or three terms. Lectures give you the structure of your subject – the key theories, concepts and trends. Seminars are interactive and encourage students to develop their critical thinking and presentation skills.
For each 30 credit module (one year of full time study is 120 credits at undergraduate level) you will have to study independently for 10 to 15 hours a week outside of lectures and seminars, probably more in the periods leading up to exams and other assessments. We have excellent library resources to support your studies. In addition to Birkbeck’s own physical and e-library, many students can have access to the University of London’s Senate House Library and other, specialist libraries in the Bloomsbury area.
We recognise the importance of experiential learning to geography and offer field trips in the UK, London and Mallorca to balance experiential learning with the busy lives of London students. We also recognise the importance of new technologies for teaching and research in geography, incorporating tablets and apps, and drones for collecting and recording data in the field. We are members of the London International Development Centre, which provides many opportunities for networking and seminars and conferences in development research across the Bloomsbury Colleges. We also support and host the London Group of Historical Geographers annual seminar programme and are members of the Royal Geographical Society.
We offer undergraduate degrees in geography, environmental management and development studies and globalisation, and community development. We are also the home for the BSc Social Sciences at Birkbeck. At postgraduate level we have MSc programmes in geographic information systems, social and cultural geography, climate change management, environment and sustainability, development studies, children, youth and international development, development studies, development studies and social anthropology.