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Introductory statement from Heather Fry, HEFCE Director (Education and Participation)

HEFCE commissioned Liz Hart Associates to undertake a study of the costs to higher education institutions of delivering honours degrees intensively over two years. The study was carried out between June and September 2010 and was based on TRAC(T) data and qualitative information obtained from institutions piloting flexible delivery under the Strategic Development Fund-supported Flexible Learning Pathfinders initiative.

The purpose of the study was to:

  • provide evidence of the costs of delivering two-year accelerated honours degrees, compared to similar degrees delivered through the traditional three-year route.
  • identify barriers to the expansion of two-year accelerated honours degrees.

The study found that there was potential for savings to be made by accelerated two-year delivery, but in order to realise these savings, changes would need to be made to institutional structures, procedures and processes, which are currently aligned to the three-year model.

The study also identifies the challenges faced by institutions in implementing accelerated degrees, and puts forward some recommendations to HEFCE as to how changes might be facilitated.