The London School of Economics, King's College and University College London confirmed this week that they planned to start awarding their own degrees, raising new doubts about the future of the federal University of London, writes Rebecca Attwood.
Students from the university's colleges have historically received a University of London certificate on their graduation day. But increasing numbers of colleges have been seeking the power to award their own degrees. King's, UCL and the LSE plan to exercise these powers from the next academic year.
Writing in the LSE's annual accounts, director Sir Howard Davies says: "Many of our students are now surprised to find themselves given a University of London certificate on their graduation day. We have therefore decided that it would be better for the LSE to issue degrees in its own name in future. We await approval from the University of London as a whole to that proposal."
In a more radical move, Imperial College London announced that it would secede from the federal university in December 2005. Sir Howard said that this "would not be the right course" for the LSE, but added that the school was looking for improvements in the governance of the University of London and in its cost control. "We keep our position under review," he said.
King's and UCL also told The Times Higher that they hoped to award their own degrees from 2007-08.
The Institute of Education recently gained powers to award its own degrees.