What is a UK recognised body or listed body?
Institutions that offer degree-level courses in the UK are called either ‘recognised bodies’ or ‘listed bodies’:
- Recognised bodies are UK higher learning institutions that can award recognised UK degrees themselves.
- Listed bodies cannot award recognised UK degrees themselves, but they can deliver courses that lead to a UK degree which is validated and awarded by a recognised body.
If a UK degree is not awarded by a recognised body then it will not be recognised in the UK.
It is an offence in the UK for any organisation to offer a degree qualification which could be taken to be that of a UK provider unless the provider offering the qualification is recognised.
Until 31 March 2018 the Department for Education (DfE) was responsible for compiling, publishing and maintaining the lists of recognised bodies and listed bodies.
From 1 April 2018, under the legislation which also established the OfS, this responsibility transferred to us.
We will be publishing our own lists of recognised bodies and listed bodies in due course, which we will then maintain and update.
How do I check if a higher education provider is a recognised body or listed body?
The DfE will continue to publish and maintain lists of recognised and listed bodies until we publish our own lists.
At present, to check if an institution is a recognised body or listed body please use the link to the DfE website below:
Check if an institution is a recognised body or listed body
If a provider is a recognised body then all the degree level courses it offers are recognised. The mode of delivery of its degree courses (for example, distance learning) is at the discretion of the providers themselves. If you have any course-specific queries regarding a recognised body you should contact the provider directly.
What to do if a provider is not included in the lists of recognised bodies or listed bodies
If a university or college is not included in the lists, contact us to check that they’re officially recognised.
If you are in any doubt about the validity of the degree course that you are applying for, you should check the legal basis on which the course is being offered with your provider, and seek confirmation that the degree will be awarded/validated by a recognised body.
If the provider awarding the degree is different to the provider you will be registered and studying with, then you should check with the awarding provider that they do validate your particular degree course.
Foreign providers may offer degrees in the UK provided that they make it clear that they are not recognised UK degrees. If the awarding body is not based in the UK then you should check that the degree is recognised or accredited by the government of the country that the provider operates from.
We cannot advise on the UK equivalency of any qualification obtained outside of the UK. In order to gain the translation and equivalent value of your qualification within the UK, you should contact UK NARIC. This is the designated UK national agency for the recognition and comparison of international qualifications and skills.
The lists of recognised bodies and listed bodies only include higher education providers offering degree level courses.
Higher education courses other than degree level are not regulated in the same way as degree level courses. Providers are therefore able to offer diplomas and certificates in a particular subject without being officially accredited as such.
Ofqual is responsible for maintaining standards and distributing information about general and vocational qualifications and examinations for qualifications in England. Ofqual's Register of Regulated Qualifications provides information about recognised awarding organisations, regulated qualifications and diploma structures.
The OfS advises on which providers are UK recognised bodies and listed bodies, and are therefore recognised as delivering courses that lead to UK degrees.
We often receive related queries regarding student finance and funding, visas for studying in the UK, legalisation of documents and choosing a course to study. We are unable to assist in these areas as they are the responsibility of other organisations.
Student finance and loans
You can find information on finance for students:
Legalisation of documents
- If you require legalisation of documents issued in the UK, you can find further information from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)
- If a document was issued outside of the UK then it must be legalised in the country in which it was issued.
If you have any queries relating to UK recognised bodies or listed bodies please email us at [email protected].