You made a lively piece out of Imperial College's application for degree-awarding powers ("Imperial bids for degrees", THES , April 20) but the reality is more prosaic.
It is University of London policy that colleges may include a degree-awarding provision when seeking to amend their charters. It is a cardinal principle that no college, even if, like London Business School, it has degree-awarding powers, may use them. They must instead award a London University degree to which the college name may be attached.
I can envisage circumstances in which colleges' degree-awarding powers might be used concurrently, such as when awarding honorary degrees, joint degrees with others or distance learning outside the external programme.
No college is part of London University because it could not obtain the necessary powers to exist outside it. A degree-awarding charter provision is a sign of distinction and maturity, even where the college continues to award degrees of the University of London.
Vice-chancellor, University of London