UCS takes ‘huge step’ towards full independence with granting of degree powers

UCS Waterfront building, Ipswich Campus

UCS Waterfront building, Ipswich Campus - Credit: Archant

Suffolk is now nearer to having its first independent university after UCS was given the power to award its own degrees.

University Campus Suffolk (UCS) can now validate undergraduate and taught postgraduate degrees – the penultimate step before it can become a fully independent university.

Currently the University of Essex and University of East Anglia awards degrees on behalf of UCS – which will continue until it becomes a university in its own right.

Richard Lister, provost and chief executive of UCS, said it was a “huge step” for the institution which first opened in 2007.

“We have achieved [the awarding powers] much more quickly than anyone had anticipated and it is a huge step towards our full independence,” he said.

“My sincere thanks go to all those people who have worked so hard to get us to this stage in our development. This is truly a team achievement.

“The assessment team spent nine months with us and the speed at which we have been granted the awarding powers is a tribute to the professionalism and quality of every single member of the UCS community.”

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The Ipswich-based university, which also offers courses across the county, could be approved as a university in its own right as quickly as May. But Mr Lister said a more realistic date would be at the start of the 2016/17 academic year.

He added the university becoming independent would be a major economic driver for Suffolk and the region.

“We have for a long time been one of, I think it is, three counties without a fully independent university – when we get that it will give a real self confidence boost, it would be a real economic driver and we deliver education right across the county and into Norfolk,” Mr Lister said.

Brian Summers, registrar and secretary at the University of East Anglia, said: “I wish to congratulate everyone at University Campus Suffolk in gaining this important step on the journey towards independence.

“Along with the University of Essex and a number of other crucial stakeholders, UEA was there at the start of this project in 2007 and we are delighted by the progress that has been made, and full credit must go to Richard Lister and to his colleagues. We wish UCS every success as they apply for university title in the coming months.”

UCS has 4,200 full-time equivalent students, with plans to have 7,000 by 2020.