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An Explanatory Note to anyone who encounters a Canterbury University Graduate.

This note is addressed to anyone who encounters a Canterbury University Graduate and is specifically aimed at Human Resource Managers, employers, officials, lawyers or registrars but is equally applicable to friends, relatives and spouses.

It addresses the three most asked questions:

  • Is the degree Accredited?

  • Is the degree legal?

  • Expectations

What can I expect from a Canterbury University Graduate?



Accreditation is often a poorly understood subject. 

Accreditation is a voluntary process of external review. There is no such thing as a universally accepted form of accreditation. It simply does not exist.

An institution can be considered accredited in one jurisdiction, but not in another. A perfectly valid institution can be accredited for one purpose by one entity but for reasons of politics, theology, morality or (more commonly) financial motivations, be considered “unaccredited” by another.


Most often when an institution is described as “unaccredited” it means that it does not have a form of accreditation that allows access to taxpayer subsidies. Indeed, in the United States that is the ONLY legal function of accreditation recognized by the United States Department of Education.

As a private institution that requires no public funding of any sort, Canterbury University has no need of any such accreditation and so for that reason it is often erroneously referred to as “unaccredited” by those with an incomplete understanding of this area of legislation.


However, the legal situation is that having been subjected to a process of external review by the not-for-profit Trust, the United Congress of Colleges, Canterbury University complies with the legal definition of “accredited”.

It is often correctly noted that Canterbury University is not accredited by any higher education accreditation organization recognized by the United States Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education in the United States. 

The fact that Canterbury University, which is not a US institution, is not accredited in the US is entirely consistent with the relevant legislation:

 “The Secretary of Education’s recognition of accrediting agencies is limited by statute to accreditation activities within the United States. Although many recognized agencies carry out accrediting activities outside the United States, these actions are not within the legal authority of the Department of Education to recognize, are not reviewed by the Department, and the Department does not exercise any oversight over them.”  - United States Department of Education 


The US Department of Education formally recognizes that such accreditation is voluntary:

 “The database does not include a number of postsecondary educational institutions and programs that elect not to seek accreditation but nevertheless may provide a quality postsecondary education.”  - United States Department of Education


Furthermore, it is often portrayed that inclusion in such an accreditation database is some kind of warranty. It is not and the United States Department of Education states so clearly: 

“The database is provided as a public service without warranty of any kind. The database does not constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any of the educational institutions or programs.”  -  United States Department of Education 


It has been correctly pointed out that Canterbury University is not a listed body with the British Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, which is hardly surprising since that organization ceased to exist in 2009 and when it was in existence its remit was similarly limited to British institutions. It was merged into the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills which also has a remit limited to the British institutions.


Canterbury University is not a British degree granting institution and is therefore excluded from that remit.

 However, because it does operate a facility in the UK it is required to (and does) comply with the United Kingdom 1988 Education (Reform) Act which grants exemptions to non-British institutions. It also complies with all legislation relevant to its presence in the UK. This is something that commentators often purposely omit from their comments.

Canterbury University views as churlish the policy of commentators to point out that the institution does not have forms of accreditation that it cannot legally acquire, which institutions have the legal freedom to elect not to have and which do not offer any kind of warranty concerning degrees granted.

For those with an interest in obtaining a perspective on the limited relevance of accreditation to degree quality, Canterbury University highly recommends the following authoritative text: 

“Can College Accreditation Live Up to Its Promise?” 

“Putting the matter in a nutshell, we conclude that accreditation has not served to ensure quality, has not protected the curriculum from serious degradation, and gives students, parents, and public decision-makers almost no useful information about institutions of higher education. Accreditation has, however, imposed significant monetary and non-monetary costs. We call for changes in policy at the federal, state, and institutional levels.”

(American Council of Trustees and Alumni. By George C. Leef and Roxana D. Burris)

Here is a link:

Accreditation is not synonymous with quality, although many would like you to believe that it is.



Is the degree legal?


Yes it is. In fact, the legality of Canterbury University degrees was challenged in the United States and it won a devastating legal victory in 2009. The case took two years to prepare not (as has been suggested) because the Defense kept asking for extensions, but because each time a Motion to Dismiss was presented the Prosecution asked for extensions to consider the points raised.

When the case finally went to trial, it was dismissed in 27 minutes. The Judge had no choice but to declare Canterbury University and its degrees perfectly legal.

Here is a link:

Canterbury University is an internationally administered tertiary level academic institution with incorporated and unincorporated structures in multiple jurisdictions and its overall structure ensures that it is legally entitled to conduct itself as a private degree granting institution.



Canterbury University provides remote education and assessment programs. It is not a traditional bricks and mortar institution and does not pretend to be. It provides innovative paths to graduation sought by people who would otherwise not be able to do so despite possessing skills and knowledge worthy of recognition.  It attracts high value, competent, experienced people who bring real world capabilities into the realm of Academia. 

There are over 40,000 Canterbury University Graduates worldwide, working hard and providing valuable contributions the Arts, Science, Academia, Business and Society in general. 

Canterbury University Graduates regularly out perform graduates of traditional institutions in the work place.

Here is a link:

Any employer, organization or agency has the freedom to set its own accreditation criteria and some do. Many of those who do, do so in the erroneous belief that such accreditation is either a legal requirement for the degree to be considered legitimate or offers some form of warranty concerning the degree or the capabilities of the graduate.


As clearly shown above, neither is true. To pass over the opportunity to engage the services of any graduate with any degree and lose out on that graduate's capabilities is the absolute right of any employer.


However, to do so as a thoughtless and badly researched "knee jerk" reaction because the degree does not have a certain type of accreditation that is not legally applicable, which an institution may elect not to have and which offers no warranty of any sort is an act of folly of the first order.


Sandra Holden

Marcelo Jones

Mary Anne Johnson

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