University of Reading and CEM agree independent futures

Posted on: 17 September, 2010

The College of Estate Management (CEM) and the University of Reading have agreed a plan which will see CEM pursue the awarding of its own degrees. This will involve the withdrawal of the University’s validation for the College’s undergraduate and postgraduate programmes over time.

The two institutions have enjoyed a strong and productive relationship since the 1960s and have, as part of recent discussions, explored the potential for a merger of the two organisations. However, both institutions now believe the time has come for each to build on its own strengths. This will be best achieved as strong and autonomous institutions and will ensure there is clarity relating to the respective brands, markets and programme provision in those markets.

For existing students whose courses are currently validated by the University of Reading, there will be no change in validation arrangements. Meanwhile, the College will continue to work closely with the University to ensure that new validation arrangements are fully in place as the University progressively withdraws from its validation role on behalf of the College.

Dr Ann Heywood, Principal of the College of Estate Management, said:

‘The College is a mature and established institution with a worldwide reputation and a distinctive model of delivering courses by distance learning that has proved its success for 150,000 people at all levels of their careers. We would like to thank the University for its support over many years. However, it is right the College should take this step to full independence, retaining valued existing relationships and building new ones, and above all preserving the value of the degrees and diplomas awarded to CEM students.’

Professor Tony Downes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Reading, said:

‘As a world-renowned provider of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in property and real estate, surveying and construction, the University of Reading remains committed to providing quality programmes that attract the brightest students and provide the sectors with a highly-skilled workforce. We wish the College every success in the future and we will, of course, ensure the validation of the qualifications of their students within the timeframe agreed.’

A joint working party is being set up to oversee the transition.


How will this affect me?

Existing CEM students

Students currently enrolled upon CEM courses validated by the University of Reading will experience no change whatsoever to their studies and will continue to receive their award from the University of Reading upon successful completion of their course.

Prospective CEM students

New students who elect to study with CEM during the transition period, and who are accepted onto a University of Reading validated course, will again progress through their studies with CEM and receive their award from the University of Reading upon successful completion of their course.

The two organisations have committed to honour this arrangement for as long as is required to ensure the successful progression of all students admitted on this basis, e.g. a student starting a 4 year BSc degree in 2012 will graduate with a University of Reading award in 2016.

Once CEM has made the transition to an alternative validation partner and/or its own awarding powers, subsequent intakes will be admitted onto courses with the validating and awarding organisation(s) superceding the University of Reading. These changes will in no way affect the substance, structure or standard of the courses: the quality of CEM’s educational provision will, as ever, remain paramount.

Under no circumstances will any student start a course with one validating body and find that their resulting award is made by another body, unless they so choose to do.

The future of CEM

The College’s trustees recently voted unanimously to work towards having taught degree awarding powers (TDAP) in place for CEM’s centenary year (2019).

The application for TDAP will be made against the background of the CEM business plan, which will consolidate a sustainable future for the College, its students, staff and all other stakeholders. As a sign of its confidence and commitment, the board has voted £4 million from reserves towards making learning more accessible for students and for continuing international expansion.


Any further enquiries may be directed as follows:
Existing students: please contact your course administrator
Prospective students: please call the Admissions team on +44 (0) 118 921 4696 or email