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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education
Further information

If you require any further guidance on how to apply for degree awarding powers and university title, please conta​ct us for further information.

Degree awarding powers and university title

​​​​​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. Precise arrangements for how this happens depend on where in the UK the applicant institution is based.

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.

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.

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

How we assess applications ​

Applications are passed to us by the relevant government body and are assessed by the Advisory Committee on Degree Awarding Powers (ACDAP). If the applicant has made a case to proceed, the application and evidence are then tested in detail by a specially appointed scrutiny team. On the basis of the team's report, ACDAP makes a recommendation to our Board, which then confidentially advises the Privy Council (via the relevant government body). 

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 yo​u 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).


Applications are submitted to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), who pass them to us for assessment and scrutiny. Any organisation considering this step should first conta​ct us and HE​FCE for a preliminary discussion.

Applicants must fulfil the relevant government Guidance and criteria.

Full details of requirements, how to apply, and how the application is considered, can be found in the Degree Awarding Powers Handbook for Applicants in England.


Full details of requirements, how to apply, and how the application is considered, can be found in the Degree Awarding Powers and University Title in Scotland: Guidance and Criteria for Applicants document.

Wales and Northern Ireland

We're currently updating our guidance on how to apply for degree awarding powers and university title in Wales and Northern Ireland. If you have an enquiry about applying from these parts of the UK, please c​ontact us.