External study's surprise success

March 3, 1995

The University of London's external programme, where students can study for a degree from anywhere in the world, has had a 52 per cent increase in enquiries following a brief advertising campaign.

The response, which took the university by surprise, follows a 15 per cent increase in students on the programme last year, bringing the total to just over 21,000.

Judith Brooks, head of policy and development on the programme, said: "There is a lot of competition to get into the taught programme. The external programme allows students who cannot study in the traditional way to get a degree." A quarter of students on the programme are resident in the United Kingdom.

Students are sent a subject guide and introduction, and are then left to study on their own. Some choose to have tuition at a local university, or through a correspondence course.

The crucial thing about the degree is that it is marked alongside internal papers, with identical standards.

* The University of London summer school, aimed at sixth-formers to introduce them to university-level study, has also seen a massive increase in numbers. In 1991 the school offered 250 free places.

In 1994 3,550 applications were received for 2,765 places, with the highest number of applicants coming from the London Borough of Camden.

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