Type of degree Watch
In 2000, sudden financial pressures prompted the Methodist Church to lease the Harcourt Hill site to Oxford Brookes University, effectively causing the College to cease to exist. Some of the student body felt that this lease arrangement was not presented to them until it became a fait accompli and that there was a measure of mismanagement and secrecy associated with the negotiations leading to the move. Students were guaranteed throughout that degrees would be safeguarded and continued to be awarded by the University of Oxford, which they were without any problems arising.
Does this mean that the degrees awarded by the institute today are University of Oxford degrees rather than Oxford brookes degrees?
Basically, it's a very blurry issue. There are so many factors involved that instead of writing a big piece, I'd rather just list them.
1. I applied to Westminster to study English Lit. The offer was DD. At the same time Brookes offered me BCC to study the same course. Oxford wanted AAA-AAB. Getting into the "University of Oxford" with DD and no interview doesn't sound right to me.
2. The prospectus for the year that I applied had the following title on the front cover: Westminster College in Oxford". There was no "University of Oxford" on the front cover.
3. I found a link to an old Oxford University report regarding the merger between Oxford Brookes and Westminster. It talked about how Oxford validated Westminster degrees. Back in the day, the college did not have awarding powers of its own and couldn't award its own degrees without a bigger university's seal of approval. This was common practice and still is today. Exeter University validates Exeter College and Marjon degrees. Southampton University used to validate King Alfred College (Winchester) and Chichester College degrees. Today, King Alfs and Chichester are universities so they no longer need Southampton for undergraduate degree validation.
4. The website for the Westminster College was something like West-Coll.ac.uk not ".ox.ac.uk" (e.g. http://www.univ.ox.ac.uk/)
So, on these grounds I was certain that Westminster College degrees were not Oxford University degrees.
BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT
I've just found out
(a) Graduates of Westminster can become affiliate members of Oxford Alumni:
"Students who read for Oxford University courses at Westminster College * Please note that alumni may be asked to provide evidence such as a degree/diploma certificate, before membership is granted"
(b) Westminster scarfs etc are sold with other Oxford college scarfs
(c) A lot of people are using the term "Westminster College, Oxford" on their CVs
It's all really, really odd.
The only conclusion I can come to is that Oxford University both validated the courses at Westminster, whilst at the same time they offered courses at Westminster (Theology being one of them).
I've just asked the Westminster College Facebook group if their certificates say Westminster College or Oxford University on them, and apparently the degrees in 1997 said Oxford University at the top (but later there was a shift to the Open University).
It's all strange.
Had a "financial deal" not been struck it is widely believed that Wesminster would have gradually moved towards becoming a full college of the University. So, those who studies before or after the link with Oxford University are not Oxford Alumni, whilst those who did enjoy that link are.
Not all that strange, really.