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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - www.hefce.ac.uk - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.

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Applications for the degree awarding powers gateway have now closed. If you applied on or before 31 March 2018, the Office for Students will process your application as outlined in either the ‘Taught and research degree awarding powers’ September 2015 guidance, or in the ‘Foundation degree awarding powers’ October 2015 guidance.

See more about how new applicants can apply for degree awarding powers 

What are degree awarding powers?

Students who successfully complete a course of study usually receive a diploma, certificate or degree.

If they are awarded a degree, it can be a foundation degree, a bachelors degree with honours, a masters degree or a doctorate.

Taught degrees are bachelors degrees with honours, and other taught higher education qualifications, up to and including the level of a masters degree. Research degrees recognise the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, through original research or other forms of advanced scholarship. 

Who can apply?

Providers of higher education based in England can apply if they meet the criteria set out in government guidance. Institutions will need to show that:

  • their present regulatory and quality assurance arrangements are effective
  • they have the capacity to meet the expectations on academic standards and quality management set out in the national academic infrastructure.

To be eligible for teaching and research degree awarding powers, institutions should have:

  • no fewer than four consecutive years' experience, immediately before the year of application, of delivering higher education programmes at a level at least equivalent to Level 6 of the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications for England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ)
  • the majority of their higher education students enrolled on study programmes, which are at Level 6 or above of the FHEQ.

To be eligible for foundation degree awarding powers, institutions should have:

  • no fewer than four consecutive years’ experience, immediately before the year of application, of delivering higher education programmes at a level at least equivalent to Level 5 of the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.

Page last updated 9 December 2015