Birkbeck, University of London certainly stands out from the crowd. The institution’s commitment to its proud history of educating working professionals means that all teaching takes place after 6pm, a unique feature among campus universities in the UK.
The University traces its roots back to 1823, when Dr. George Birkbeck, an eminent philanthropist and academic decided to create an education institution for London’s working population. The success and popularity of the concept led to the institution joining the University of London in 1913, before gaining its Royal Charter in 1926, and embarking on a long history of academic excellence.
Whilst London residents may find this a convenient way to gain a degree whilst working, how does this model work for international students whose working hours are limited by visa regulations?
Birkbeck believes that the evening study model is highly beneficial for international students. Here’s why:
1. Study alongside working people
For many international students, employment prospects are a vitally important factor in choosing what university to study at overseas. When they arrive at university however, they often find that their classes are full of other international students in the same position. With the global jobs market ever more competitive, a degree on its own is no longer a guarantee of employment. At Birkbeck, international students are integrated from day one with working people, enabling them to make connections with people from a variety of sectors and develop their professional network. Many international graduates from Birkbeck found that this gave them a competitive edge when applying for work in their home country after completing their studies.
Students also find that the abundance of working people in their classes makes the teaching and learning a more dynamic experience. Students who are also employees often have real world problems from their place of work that they are seeking a solution for. In the Business and Management sector in particular, students are able to apply the theory they learn in the classroom directly to their job the next day. The results of this are then communicated to the rest of the class, providing all students with unique evidence of the power of the education they are receiving.
2. Daytime is free
One of the other significant advantages of studying in the evening for Birkbeck students is that their daytime is free. Whilst the university expects that students will of course be busy with their academic studies, having the daytime free allows a student to further enhance their employability by gaining experience through internships and work placements. There is also the chance to earn some cash to supplement their learning and student life, although Home Office regulations restrict this to twenty paid hours per week during term time.
Furthermore, the student experience is thoroughly enriched due to Birkbeck’s location in Bloomsbury, the traditional academic centre of London. World-class research resources such as the British Library and the British Museum are within a short walk of the College campus, as well as some of the world’s most famous art galleries and theatres. The West End shopping areas of Oxford Street and Covent Garden are also a short walk away, lying beside the lively bars and clubs of Soho. In addition to the world-class attractions which come with a central London location, students can also enjoy the facilities of the University of London Union (ULU), which include bars and cafes, clubs and societies, sports facilities, and a live music venue. Having daytime free allows students to make the most of all of these resources, whilst simultaneously gaining a world-class education in the evening.
EVENING STUDY VIDEO
International students are only eligible to study Birkbeck’s full-time degrees. Although taught in the evening, these degrees take the same amount of time as at other universities. This means that an undergraduate degree takes three years, a masters degree one year, and PhD study is three or four years.