Buckinghamshire College of Higher Education has taken a further step towards full university status by announcing that it will offer its own degrees for courses starting next academic year.
The High Wycombe college, which offers degrees validated by Brunel University, will also award its first self-validated masters degrees in 1998.
But the move, following the Higher Education Quality Council's granting of degree awarding powers last year, has been criticised by some staff who feel that the college is moving too fast and has failed to consult them fully.
One academic, who refused to be named, said: "We are worried about the college using its new powers prematurely. A college, or university, must have a recognised name and we fear that the college lacks this and that this will hit student recruitment."
The college's director Bryan Mogford said: "There has been no real change in our plans which were that, at some stage over the next two years, we would undertake our own awards. Of course there will be some measure of uncertainty but we have conducted a great deal of market research with current and prospective students."
He said that Brunel degrees would be offered alongside the Buckinghamshire awards until full university status had been granted. He said there would be no change in course entry requirements.