Page last updated at 18:08 GMT, Friday, 21 November 2008

Second uni to award own degrees

Degree certificate
Changes to Royal Charters mean the colleges can award their own degrees

One of Wales' oldest universities in Aberystwyth says it intends awarding its own degrees.

It follows a decision by Bangor University to pursue a similar route and award degrees itself - rather than those of the University of Wales.

Swansea University has also confirmed that it may follow suit.

The University of Wales currently awards degrees to various accredited higher education bodies, including eight universities around Wales.

Aberystwyth University was formed in 1872.

But in 2007 it became independent of the federal University of Wales along with Bangor and Swansea universities, when a new Royal Charters gave the bodies the right to award their own degrees, if they wished.

Wales' largest university, Cardiff, broke away from the University of Wales in 2004, although it remains an affiliated organisation.

These other institutions are mature institutions and wish to be independent, so good luck to them
Professor Nigel Palastanga, University of Wales

University of Wales pro-vice chancellor Professor Nigel Palastanga told BBC Wales' Dragon's Eye that he expected Swansea, Aberystwyth and Bangor universities to leave the institution.

"I wouldn't be surprised and we wish them well," he said.

"These other institutions are mature institutions and wish to be independent, so good luck to them."

In a statement on Friday, Aberystwyth University confirmed it had "decided in principle to award Aberystwyth University degrees".

A committee examining how that will be implemented is now being set up.

Consultation process

Professor Noel Lloyd, vice-chancellor of Aberystwyth University, added: "The decision to award Aberystwyth University degrees demonstrates our ambition and our commitment to continuing to provide a high quality experience for students and staff, and represents an important milestone in this university's distinguished history."

Bangor University said no decision had been taken on 2009-10 and the matter was still being discussed. But BBC Wales has learned a decision has been made in principle.

A spokesperson at Swansea University said: "Swansea University is currently consulting with staff and students whether the university should invoke its own degree-awarding powers and award Swansea University degrees in the future.

"The outcome of the consultation process will be considered by the university senate and council. Until then, Swansea University will continue to award University of Wales degrees."

Aberystwyth, Bangor and Cardiff were original founding members of the University of Wales, while Swansea joined in 1920.

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