You are here:

Celebrating Honorary Teaching Degrees at the University of London 

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

Between the 1930s and the 1980s, teachers were typically trained on two-year or three-year certificate courses at teacher training colleges. 

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 to be awarded honorary Bachelor of Education degrees at special ceremonies.

View from behind of new graduates standing at ceremony
Thousands of individuals who received two-year or three-year teaching certificates may be eligible to receive honorary degrees.


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. 

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 Teacher Training College)

What happens now?

Applications for honorary teaching degrees are now closed. 

If you applied for an honorary teaching degree or registered interest, we'll be in contact with more information. We'll also be in touch with successful applicants to share details about the degree ceremonies later in 2023. 

You can also contact us at to find out more or ask questions. Before you contact us, please read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below. 

There is also a dedicated ceremonies FAQ page for questions that are specifically about the upcoming Honorary Teaching Degrees ceremonies.