The creation of a University of Cumbria has moved a step closer after a college was given permission to award its own degrees.
Until now, degrees at St Martin's College - which has three campuses in the county - have been awarded by Lancaster University.
The power to award degrees was granted by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA).
The new university will be created by the amalgamation of St Martin's College and Cumbria Institute of the Arts.
Prof Chris Carr, St Martin's Principal, said: "This is fantastic news. The application was not only a major strategic element of our own corporate plan but is a major step forward for the creation of the new university.
"Our success is a testament to the professionalism and hard work of our staff.
"It is also an assurance to our current and future students that St Martin's and soon-to-be University of Cumbria provides a high standard of teaching and a quality learning experience within the HE sector."