All valid UK degrees are awarded by a university or other legally approved degree-awarding body that has overall responsibility for the academic standards and quality of the qualification. Decisions to grant degree awarding powers in the UK are made by the Privy Council based on advice from us. From August 2019 the authority to grant powers in England will transfer to the Office for Students. Precise arrangements for how degree awarding powers are granted depend on where in the UK the applicant institution is based.



Our guide provides an overview of what it means to have degree awarding powers in the UK, who is suitable to apply for them, and how their suitability for these powers is checked.


The Right to Award UK Degrees

Publication Date: 01 Jan 2016

‚ÄčThis guide explains about degree awarding powers and university title, including information on who can apply, the assessment process and the criteria that needs to be met in order to be successful.

Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 178 KB

Types of degree awarding powers


Foundation degree awarding powers (FDAP) give further education colleges in England and Wales the right to award foundation degrees.


Taught degree awarding powers (TDAP) give UK higher education providers the right to award bachelor's degrees with honours and other taught higher education qualifications, but not postgraduate research degrees as set out below under RDAP.


In England applicants from April 2018 may also apply for the power to award bachelor’s only degrees.


Research degree awarding powers (RDAP) give UK higher education providers with TDAP the right to award doctoral degrees and master's degrees where the research component (including a requirement to produce original work) is larger than the taught component when measured by student effort.


In England applicants from April 2018 may also apply for degree awarding powers in all subjects or in specified subjects.


For more details on these qualifications see the UK Qualifications Frameworks.


The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies

Publication Date: 20 Nov 2014

The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies provide important reference points for higher education providers, assisting them in setting and maintaining academic standards. The frameworks are central to the Expectation in Chapter A1: The National Level of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education that degree-awarding bodies use external UK and European reference points to secure threshold academic standards across the higher education sector. The framework document will become a reference point for the purpose of reviews carried out by QAA from August 2015.

Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 246 KB

How we assess applications


Applications that meet the requirements are passed to us by the relevant government body. Where there is a case to proceed, the application will be tested in detail by a specially appointed team who will visit the institution and review evidence over an extended period of time. On the basis of the team’s report, we confidentially advise the Privy Council (via the relevant government body) or the Office for Students on whether degree awarding powers should be granted.


See the guidance and criteria section for details.



Information for students


All genuine UK degree programmes are approved by a UK university or other degree-awarding body. Before enrolling on a higher education course, you should make sure that it has been approved by, and will lead to an award from, a recognised degree-awarding body. Visit the website of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to find a full list of these recognised bodies.


The BIS website also tells you whether your provider, if it does not have degree awarding powers, is a legitimate listed body entitled to provide courses of higher education on behalf of a recognised body (in which case the latter will award the qualification).



From July 2018, the Office for Students will begin to publish a register listing all English providers officially recognised by this body which will include information about regulatory status. All providers granted or applying for, degree awarding powers are required to be registered with the Office for Students.     



Information for applicants


Applicants must fulfil the relevant government guidance and criteria, and applications must be submitted to the relevant government body, depending on where the UK applicant institution is based. Information about what is expected and how to apply is provided in our published handbooks.


An application fee is required at the point of submission followed by a separate scrutiny fee should the application progress to a full scrutiny. Fees cover the costs of a typical scrutiny incurred up to and including a scrutiny team final report. Should any substantial additional expenditure be incurred as part of a detailed scrutiny, a further charge may be made to ensure costs are recovered. Further details on fees are available in the relevant DAP handbook in our guidance and criteria’ section.



All records relating to an application for degree awarding powers or university title are closed until the final decision by the Privy Council or Office for Students has been made public. Our Policy on the Disclosure of Records states what records we may then disclose, and when.


Policy on the Disclosure of Records Relating to Applications for Degree Awarding Powers and University Title

Publication Date: 31 Oct 2015

Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 194 KB

Although we are not the decision-making body, it is concerned to ensure that the advice that it provides on applications is reasonable and fair. Therefore, in the event that an applicant institution has concerns about the advice being given on its application, it may make written representations to us before the advice is provided to the Privy Council or Office for Students. This provides an opportunity for us to reconsider our advice.


Representations on degree awarding powers applications 2018

Publication Date: 17 Jul 2018

Representations on degree awarding powers applications sets out the procedure for making written representations to QAA.

Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 157 KB

Applications


Applicants in England must submit their application to the Office for Students. Where the application meets the requirements outlined in the regulatory framework, the Office for Students will ask us, as the Designated Quality Body for England, to undertake an initial assessment to determine whether the application can proceed to scrutiny. The Office for Students will publish guidance setting out the information required for an application in Summer 2018. Applicants should contact the Office for Students for further details on the submission process. 


Applicants in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland must submit their application to the Privy Council who will refer the application to us for consideration by the Advisory Committee for Degree Awarding Powers (ACDAP). ACDAP will determine whether the application can proceed to scrutiny. The application must be submitted to the Privy Council five weeks prior to the ACDAP meeting and the application and full supporting documentation must be submitted to us four weeks prior to the meeting of ACDAP. Applicants should contact us for confirmation of submission deadlines and for further details on the submission process.  


ACDAP meetings for 2018-19 are as follows:

Thursday 6 September 2018

Thursday 8 November 2018

Thursday 7 February 2019

Thursday 16 May 2019