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Online degrees can be equal in status and standing to qualifications gained on-campus – but you should check their validity and accreditation.

When you choose an online university programme it’s important to know that the university is reputable and that your online degree will be globally recognised. That’s why the right accreditation is crucial.

Accreditation that validates an online or campus-based university and the online degree programmes it offers, assures you that your learning will meet certain high standards.

As a minimum, in the UK, degrees can only be awarded by authorised bodies. If an online university isn’t officially recognised, your degree may not be recognised in the workplace.

As a professional you should seek to study online with a university that is of a very high standard and acknowledged as such by highly reputable bodies. This will ensure that your online degree is recognised, and therefore valuable, in the job market.

Online qualification validation checklist

Here are some points to look out for to make sure that your online university degree programme meets recognised standards:


The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education monitors and safeguards standards in UK higher education.

Russell Group membership

The Russell Group is a collection of 24 of the UK’s leading universities. They represent the best teaching, research and learning, as well as having excellent links with business and the public sector.

AACSB Accreditation

AACSB provides internationally recognised quality standards for campus-based and online business degrees, including online MBA programmes. It accredits the top 5% of business schools worldwide and its standards focus on excellence and continuous improvement.*

Ranking in lists

Find out how the university you choose ranks in lists compiled by reputable publications or professional bodies. This can give you an idea of its standing in the global job market.

  • The Times Higher Education compiles a list of the world’s best universities. Research, teaching, knowledge transfer and international outlook are all evaluated.
  • The QS World University Rankings assess universities, including online universities, in research, teaching, employability and internationalisation.
  • The Academic Ranking of World Universities ranks world universities on the basis of six indicators, including the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and the number of highly cited researchers selected by Thomson Reuters.

Specific professional accreditation

As well as university accreditation, some online degrees have specific accreditation:

REF ratings

The Research Excellence Framework assesses the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

Choosing an online university degree

The University of Liverpool is a redbrick UK Russell Group university that offers fully online postgraduate degrees with the same standing as degrees awarded to graduates who study on campus.

Find out more about our online accredited degree programmes.

* According to the AACSB, 755 business schools have earned AACSB accreditation (source: out of an estimated 16,484 business schools worldwide (source: AACSB Business School Data Guide 2015)

** Many countries have their own accrediting bodies, and degree recognition differs from country to country. If you reside outside of the United Kingdom, please review your country of residence’s requirements to confirm recognition of your programme. The University of Liverpool Online Programmes does not offer programmes that lead to professional licensure. Career options may require additional experience, training or other factors beyond the successful completion of a University of Liverpool online degree programme.

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