§ Mr. George Howarth
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what definition of a degree he uses. 
§ Margaret Hodge
A degree is defined in section 214 of the Education Reform Act as an award at Master, Bachelor or Doctorate level granted or to be granted by a university, college or other body which is authorised by Royal Charter or Act of Parliament to grant degrees. The qualifications framework issued by the Quality Assurance Agency indicates that the term 'degree' should only be used for qualifications which meet the expectations laid down in its qualification descriptors. If a private UK organisation without the necessary powers offers its own degrees, it would be in contravention of section 214 of the Education Reform Act 1988. Such organisations can be investigated and prosecuted by the local Trading Standards Department.