University of London
University of London

City and the University of London FAQs

This page contains Questions and Answers about the University of London and the benefits of City’s membership. It also outlines the next steps in the process.

Q1. What is the University of London (UOL)?

A1. The University of London (UOL) was founded by Royal Charter in 1836 and is one of the oldest, largest and most diverse universities in the UK. UOL is a collegiate research University consisting of 18 self-governing colleges and 10 smaller specialist research institutes. The Colleges are legally and academically autonomous institutions since they set their entrance criteria and examinations for their courses, offer their own services to students and most have degree-awarding powers. UOL has around 135,000 campus-based students and some 54,000 distance learning students in 180 countries as part of UOL’s International Programmes.

The 18 Colleges:

  • Birkbeck, University of London
  • City, University of London
  • Courtauld Institute of Art
  • Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Heythrop College
  • The Institute of Cancer Research
  • King’s College London
  • London Business School
  • The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • Royal Academy of Music
  • Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • The Royal Veterinary College
  • St George’s, University of London
  • SOAS, University of London
  • University College London (UCL)
  • City, University of London

Q2. What are the benefits of City joining UOL?

A2. City joining the UOL is certainly not a “merger” as some media have suggested. City remains an autonomous institution as are the current members of the UOL federation. City has joined to, among other things, signal its academic standing and to benefit from the prestigious UOL brand.

The potential benefits of City’s membership of the UOL are:

  • A strong signal of City’s academic reputation and strengthening the City brand in the UK and internationally.
  • Improvements to the student experience through opportunities for greater social interaction, extension of the student community, access to additional library and sports facilities and accommodation options.
  • Greater potential for collaboration in education, research and enterprise between City academics and research students and their colleagues in the UOL, for example opportunities to participate in doctoral training centres and distance learning programmes.

Q3. How does membership affect City’s governance and the Student’s Union?

A3. City remains a chartered institution, autonomous and self-governing, with its own Council, Senate, Students’ Union and other bodies as at present.

City will continue to award honorary professorships and honorary doctorates and to exercise its traditional institutional freedoms. City’s Charter and Statutes have been updated, with the agreement of the Privy Council.

City will play a role in the governance of the UOL through the Head (currently titled the “President”) being a member of the UOL's Collegiate Council.

Q4. How does membership affect City’s degree-awarding powers?

A4. City will continue to award its own degrees.

Q5. How does membership affect City’s staff?

A5. City remains the employer of its staff on the same terms as now. The UOL will have no role in relation to staff employed by City.

The case for joining rests on the benefits membership brings to City’s academic reputation, potential for research collaboration and for enhancing the student experience.

Staff have become members of the UOL. Membership confers no legal rights but does offer several benefits. They include access to the Federal Library resources which include the Senate House Libraries (SHL) education and research collections in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

There are currently no significant plans to change how City delivers student services. During 2015/16 discussions took place with the UOL regarding the potential for benefits for City students from appropriate alignment of certain services offered to students for example, through access to careers and accommodation databases.

Q6. How will membership affect City’s students?

A6. City will continue to recruit, register and be responsible for its students. Students of City have also become members of the UOL. Membership does not confer any legal rights but does offer several benefits.

Students can benefit from access to UOL library resources and are entitled to membership of ‘Student Central’ (the former University of London Union). Further details are available in the answer to question 11 in the additional information for students.

During 2015/16 City discussions took place with UOL regarding access to UOL’s accommodation services. We anticipate that the UOL accommodation services will, in time, provide wider options to City students. For example, we expect that City will receive a modest allocation of rooms, increasing over time, in the UOL Intercollegiate Halls of Residence.

Q7. Does membership lead to greater collaboration in research?

A7. Research collaboration already takes place between City academics and academics from Colleges of the UOL. Membership of UOL will make involvement in such ventures easier by providing a focal point for networking and knowledge sharing.

Q8. Does membership help City’s international standing?

A8. The UOL has a strong international “brand”, partly through the academic excellence of its constituent Colleges and partly because it is the world’s oldest provider of degrees through distance learning, with some 54,000 students in 180 countries and over 100 study programmes.

City will clearly benefit from the strong UOL brand in its international recruitment. Membership will also enable City to discuss options for contributing to the planned growth of the UOL International Programmes (distance learning provision). This could help City to achieve its international aspirations without the need for more facilities in London.

Q9. What is the cost of joining UOL?

A9. The costs of joining UOL are considered appropriate for the benefits that will be realised and represent value for money.

The costs comprise:

  • A premium for membership services of £0.9M to recognise the University of London’s past investment in assets which will enhance the students’ experience.
  • An annual subscription fee which will be around £145,000 to pay for core services and activities.
  • Annual charges for services e.g., Senate House Libraries that are based on student and staff usage.
  • One-off costs to become a college of the UOL including legal fees, updating the signage on the estate and the City website.

To put this in context, at steady state the annual subscription fee represents around 0.1% of turnover.

Q10. What facilities can students access?

A10. Student Central:

Students have become members of UOL and are entitled to be a member of ‘Student Central’ (the former University of London Union). Membership is free and offers students access to services including sports, societies, online tickets and bars. This complements the provision available at City and through the Students’ Union. The list of services that full Student Central members are entitled to use is available on the Student Central website.

One of the main differences is that Student Central organises sport across the entire University of London and offers some niche activities and societies different from elsewhere.


City can choose to apply online for access to the Federal Library resources which include Senate House Libraries (SHL) which provides collections in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Find out more information about UoL libraries.

The Libraries operate according to the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) Access scheme. The SCONUL Access Scheme will continue as now and will be extended to include specialist Institutes which are members of UOL and not normally covered by SCONUL. UCL is not part of the scheme. Find out more details about the UoL Library Access Agreement.

Residential Accommodation:

UOL provides a range of accommodation services for students of member Colleges depending on the agreement with each College. The accommodation includes rooms in the Intercollegiate Halls of Residence, a private housing service and a ‘Head Leasing Scheme’ (through which the UOL manages private accommodation for its students.

Q11. How does joining affect tuition fees and funding for City?

A11. There is no change to City’s legal status as a result of becoming a member. There is no change to tuition fees and funding arrangements as a result of UOL membership. City will continue to review its fees on an annual basis.

Q12. Will membership affect the degrees of students at the moment? How will degrees be accredited?

A12. City will continue to award its own degrees. There will be no change to the content of the degree.

Q13. Will I be able to request a new degree certificate featuring the new name “City, University of London” if my degree was awarded to me before 1st September 2016?

A13. Your degree certificate bears the name of the institution at the time you were awarded your degree. You cannot request a replacement degree certificate from “City, University of London” if you were awarded your degree before 1st September 2016. However, for information purposes we have provided a letter which explains the change of name. Download the letter.

Q14. Is there a difference between a degree awarded by “City University London” and “City, University of London”?

A14. The degrees are equivalent and only the name of the institution at the time you were awarded your degree will differ.

Q15. Will I hold a University of London degree?

A15. You will hold a degree from City, University of London which is a member college of the University of London Federation.

Q16. Can I request a replacement degree certificate?

A16. Replacement certificates can be requested through the website here. Please note that you may incur a charge for a replacement certificate and you will be re-issued the certificate under the name of the institution when your degree was awarded.

If your award was made before 1st September 2016 then any replacement certificate will be a “City University London” certificate and will not include the name “City, University of London”. Only students who are awarded their degrees on or after 1st September 2016 will be provided a degree certificate in the name of “City, University of London”. The date that the University awards your degree is not the same as the date of the graduation ceremony you attended, or will be attending.

Q17. Are lectures and research affected?

A17. There will be no impact on teaching and learning provision for City students.

Q18. How are individual Departments and Schools affected?

A18. There is very little change. Schools and Departments will have opportunities to enter into collaborations with UOL and the Colleges.

Q19. Can City students enrol on or visit courses at other University of London Colleges?

A19. Each constituent College is autonomous and considers any such arrangements on an individual basis. There are currently no plans to enter into such arrangements.

Q20. Can City students enrol on or visit courses at other University of London Colleges?

A20. Each constituent College is autonomous and considers any such arrangements on an individual basis. There are currently no plans to enter into such arrangements.

Q21. Why is City joining when other Colleges have left? Why did they leave?

A21. Membership brings many academic advantages, signal City’s new and stronger reputation and differentiate it from the post-1992 London higher education sector.

Only one College has left the UOL Federation. Imperial College London was a member until 2007. The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama joined at about the same time.

Q22. How much would it cost the University to fund the services membership provides, if it was to do so alone?

A22. It is not possible to answer this question in any detail, but building new halls of residence, for example, would be extremely expensive.

Q23. City has a rich and meaningful history. Has it surrendered this by joining UOL?

A23. Joining UOL is a positive step in City's history. We retain our historic strengths, professional credibility and deep-rooted City of London heritage.

Q24. How does membership affect the Student’s Union’s ability to make political decisions?

A24. Membership does not affect City, University of London Students’ Union’s ability to make political stances or decisions. It will act independently from other unions as it does now. The University of London does not have a Students’ Union: each individual college has an independent Students’ Union representing its members.