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Celebrating Honorary Teaching Degrees at the University of London

The University of London is offering honorary Bachelors of Education to those who hold teaching certificates received from some of the former London area teaching colleges, where the University was the awarding body.

The University was delighted to host the 2023 ceremony on 27 June at Logan Hall. You can view photos from the day or scroll through the dedicated Flickr album

Honorary Teaching Degree Ceremony
Thousands of individuals who received two-year or three-year teaching certificates may be eligible to receive honorary degrees.

Expressions of interest are now open for the 2024 ceremony – the closing date for expressions of interest is 1 February 2024.

The ceremony date for 2024 is yet to be confirmed.

In the meantime, you can also read a write up, browse through photos and watch the highlights from our 2023 celebrations.


Until the 1980s, teachers were typically trained on two-year or three-year certificate courses at teacher training colleges, which were nationally organised into area training groups under the administrative control of the Area Training Centres (ATCs).  

The actual certificates were mostly awarded by universities but via the ATCs. From the late 1960s and through the early 1970s these certificates were gradually wound down and teaching became a graduate profession. At the same time, many teacher training colleges underwent a national rationalisation process and typically were closed or merged into various larger higher education institutions.   

In the 1980s, UK law changed and a Certificate of Education was no longer deemed a requirement for teachers. It was replaced with the requirement for all trainees to complete a graduate or postgraduate course.  

There has been a movement across the higher education sector for the thousands of individuals who received teaching certificates between the 1930s and the 1980s to be awarded honorary Bachelor of Education degrees at special ceremonies.  

Of the 26 former teaching colleges in London, all but seven* merged into other institutions. The institutions into which the colleges merged usually received the student records for those colleges. In recent years, many of those institutions have given honorary Bachelors of Education to those who received teaching certificates.  

The seven colleges which did not merge into other institutions simply closed. The University of London, as the awarding body, believes that we are the ones to take forward giving honorary degrees to those who received teaching certificates.   

*The seven colleges are:  

  • Coloma College of Education  
  • Maria Assumpta Teacher Training College  
  • Sittingbourne College of Education  
  • Nonington College of Physical Education  
  • Stockwell College of Education  
  • Thomas Huxley College  
  • Philippa Fawcett and Furzedown College of Education (including Philippa Fawcett Teacher Training College and Furzedown College of Education.)  

What happens next  

The 2023 ceremony took place on 27 June 2023. Applications for the 2024 celebration are now open.   

If you would like to apply to receive your certificate at the 2024 celebration, please use this form.  

The University is not normally able to award honorary degrees in absentia. However, we know in this instance that not everyone will be able to travel to receive their honorary degree. If you think you qualify for an exemption which would allow you to receive the degree in absentia, please read the information and fill in the form on this page. If you are applying to receive the degree in absentia, please DO NOT fill in the form for the 2024 celebration.    

If you have any questions, please contact us at   


Key information