Business Education

Internationally Recognised Degrees

Recognised UK degrees  July 8, 2019 – 05:22 pm
Internationally recognised

The following institutions or bodies can award degrees which are unique to them, but do not have the powers to award any degree, unlike the recognised bodies.

Degree-awarding powers and criteria for university title

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has revised the guidance for:

  • degree awarding powers
  • university title and university college title
  • designation as an institution eligible to receive HEFCE funding
  • transfers from the further education to the higher education sector

All new applications must be submitted to HEFCE. HEFCE will be accepting new applications for all 4 processes from 15 September 2015. Read the guidance on the criteria and application process.

Frequently asked questions

Q. How do I know whether the institution I want to study at is recognised in the UK?
A. The UK authorities recognise those institutions that can offer degrees by virtue of their own degree awarding powers (recognised bodies) or those powers of another institution (listed bodies).

You can search for recognised bodies, listed bodies and other awards.

If you are in any doubt about the validity of the course you are applying for, check the legal basis on which the course is being offered with the institution and check that the degree will be one awarded by a recognised body.

Q. What do I do if the course I want to study is not validated by any of the recognised bodies?
A. The course may be offered by a foreign university. Foreign universities may offer degrees in the UK provided they make it clear that they are not UK degrees. The UK authorities cannot advise on the quality of these courses. It is up to you to check what recognition arrangements exist in the country of origin for any degree course you undertake in the UK.

If you are in any doubt about the validity of the course you are applying for, check the legal basis on which the course is being offered with the institution and check that the degree will be one from a recognised body.

Q. I have a query about whether a UK qualification that is not a degree is accredited or recognised. Who should I ask about this?
A. You may want to contact the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual), which is the regulator of qualifications, exams and tests in England. Ofqual maintain a Register of Regulated Qualifications which includes a record of regulated awarding bodies for these qualifications.

Q. What do I do if the institution where I want to study is not recognised?
A. Check with the college or university the legal basis on which it offers courses. Then check with the institution which is said to validate the course. There may have been some additions to the lists since they were last updated.

Q. How will I know if the college or institution I wish to study at in the UK will be acceptable to the Home Office or UK Border Agency?
A. You can check whether any such college or institution will be acceptable for coming to study in the UK by accessing the UK Border Agency’s Register of Tier 4 Sponsors (approved education providers).

Q. What has happened to the DIUS Register of Education and Training Providers?
A. The former DIUS Register - which is not to be confused with the Recognised UK Degrees website - has been replaced by the UK Border Agency’s Register of Sponsors.

Q. How do I know if the qualification I want to study will enable me to stay in the UK under the International Graduates Scheme?
A. The UK Border Agency’s International Graduates Scheme has now closed to new applicants.

If you wish to come to the United Kingdom to work, or if you are already here and wish to extend your stay by switching into a working category, you will need to apply under the new points-based system.

If you are already in the United Kingdom under the International Graduates Scheme (or the Science and Engineering Graduates Scheme that preceded it), you should see Transitional arrangements for migrants on the International Graduates Scheme or Science and Engineering Graduates Scheme.

Q. Can I study externally for a recognised UK degree at a private institution?
A. To comply with UK Border Agency rules, overseas students accepted to study externally for a degree at a private education institution in the UK, must also be registered as an external student with the recognised UK body that awards the degree. For more information please contact the UK Border Agency.

Q. How do I know what the quality of my course will be?
A. The UK has a comprehensive system of quality assurance in higher education. All UK universities and other degree-awarding bodies (recognised bodies), whether publicly funded or not, must undergo review by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). The academic community has primary responsibility for standards and quality, but QAA confirms that UK expectations are being met. QAA’s review findings are published on its website. Where problems are identified, institutions are expected to show that they have rectified them.

Where degree-awarding bodies delegate courses or parts of courses to other UK or international organisations that are not reviewed by QAA, they must demonstrate (during their QAA review) that such partnerships do not pose a threat to standards and quality. Many such partnerships are with listed bodies that are themselves reviewed by QAA. Alternative providers recruiting international students to the UK must also undergo QAA review (in order to meet UK Border Agency regulations).

There is no guarantee that an institution claiming to offer UK degrees is entitled to do so. Before enrolling on a course you should always ascertain that the qualification will be awarded through a formal arrangement with a recognised body reviewed by QAA - if in doubt, check directly with the degree-awarding body.

Q. Will the course be acceptable to professional bodies, employers and other higher education institutions?
A. Each one makes its own decision so you need to check in detail. If you are in any doubt about the validity of the course you are applying for, check the legal basis on which the course is being offered with the institution and check that the degree will be one from a recognised body.


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