The UK has a well-deserved reputation world-wide for providing high quality and well-respected higher education. There are well over 100 institutions in the UK that are permitted to award a wide variety of degrees to suit most educational aspirations.
All those institutions have degree awarding powers recognized by the UK authorities (UK and Scottish Parliament, Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies).
In addition to institutions awarding degrees, there are also several hundred colleges and other institutions which do not have degree-awarding powers but who provide complete courses leading to recognized UK degrees. Courses at these institutions are validated by institutions which have degree awarding powers.
The growth of the internet has enabled UK institutions to make information on their courses available to a global audience.
This growth and the need for more flexible provision, opening higher education up to a wider group of people means that many universities and colleges now offer their degrees through distance learning.
The UK authorities recognise those institutions which have been granted degree-awarding powers by either a Royal Charter, Act of Parliament or the Privy Council. These are known as ‘recognised bodies’. All UK universities and some higher education colleges are recognised bodies.
The Education (Recognised Bodies) (England) (Order) 2013
The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) register of higher education providers lists higher education (HE) providers, which have particular relationships to government (or bodies related to government) in England. It sets out the powers they have (including degree awarding powers where relevant), and the regulatory controls which apply to them. The information in the register is regularly updated.
Other institutions, which do not have the power to award their own degrees, may provide full courses which lead to a degree of a recognised body. These are known as ‘listed bodies’.
Organisations that only offer part of a degree course do not have listed body status. In such cases, enquirers are recommended to contact the degree awarding body to confirm that the course was originally set up by them. Degree awarding bodies not on our list of recognised bodies will not be awarding recognised UK degrees.
The Education (Listed Bodies) (England) (Order) 2013