Are University of Essex Online degrees recognised?


14th Oct 2016


Online study


A common concern for those researching an online course or degree is whether or not the qualification is ‘real’.

With the internet flooded with so-called ‘diploma mills’ and the illegal market for fake certifications, it’s not surprising that potential students are still often wary of online courses.

This confusion is also made worse by the rise and then decline in popularity of MOOCs (massive open online courses). These programmes have unlimited participation and are open access. However, although they are extremely valuable for gaining broad knowledge of a subject, they very rarely lead to a degree from an accredited institution and have been criticised for their reliance on user-generated content and student self-regulation.

Here at University of Essex Online, our Admissions team are often asked whether our degrees are really ‘legitimate’ degrees. Here’s the answer we give…


Independent verification

Independent verification of our institution can be found on numerous sites, starting first with our listing on the University of Essex website.

University of Essex Online courses are delivered by Kaplan Open Learning; we’re an experienced online learning provider and our partnership with the University of Essex has been in place since 2007. All of our graduates receive a degree from the University of Essex, and there is no mention of online study on the degree certificate. The mode of study is only mentioned in the transcripts that accompany a student’s final grades.


Our National Student Survey (NSS) result

The annual National Student Survey is held every year to gain honest student feedback across the UK’s further and higher education sectors. The published results help prospective students make well-informed decisions about which courses to choose and where to study.   

The University of Essex Online achieved excellence for teaching, learning and academic support in the 2023 National Student Survey (NSS).



Independent statistics on our institution can also be found in numerous other locations. HEFCE lists Kaplan Open Learning (Essex) Ltd. as a “Register of HE providers” and describes how we are required to ‘demonstrate financial sustainability’, ‘have regular quality reviews’, ‘provide certain information on its students and performance’ and ‘ensure student complaints can be reviewed independently’  among many other quality responsibilities. You can read our listing here.

The UK government website Unistats also lists Kaplan Open Learning (Essex) Limited as ‘meeting expectations for quality and standards as defined by the Teaching Excellence Framework’. You can learn more about this here.


In summary, you have nothing to fear when you decide to study for a University of Essex Online degree; our online and part-time courses are just an alternative way for those with work and family commitments to achieve a recognised undergraduate or postgraduate qualification.


Inspired to start studying online? Download our prospectus today.