Scottish university gets approval to award degree in New York branch
GCU New York officially opened back in 2014. Pic: Facebook/GC New York College

Students can now apply to study at Glasgow Caledonian University’s New York branch campus, after the US state authorities gave the Scottish university “provisional charter” to award degrees, reports The Times.

While the degrees won’t be in their own name but by the city’s state authorities, the university welcomes the approval for them to start running their courses.

“I am absolutely thrilled we now have the opportunity to build upon our new research and business relationships in New York to deliver our unique programmes, which focus on fair fashion, fair finance and sustainability,” GCU principal Pamela Gillies said.

“Our New York team, led by vice-president Cara Smyth, should be very proud of the steadfast way it has forged a new path for our university.”

The temporary charter is for five years, after which it can become “absolute”, meaning GCU New York would then be granted degree-awarding powers – a standard practice higher education institutions face worldwide.

New York State Education Department’s approval makes GCU the first foreign higher education institution to have degree-accrediting powers in the US East Coast city.

Four master’s courses are in the pipe at their Manhattan campus – social business and microfinance, international fashion marketing, luxury brand management and risk management – according to Gillies, who wants to admit about 40 students per year.

Before this approval, staff at the “University for the Common Good” – as it calls itself – held public talks as well as commercial and promotional events. No students have yet been taught officially at this campus, where close to GBP12 million (US$15.34 million) has been pumped into.

GCU vice-president Smyth, who leads their New York team, is keen to start offering their master’s degrees now that they’ve been given the green light to do so.

“Our Fair Fashion Center will support the degrees as we continue to identify effective approaches to profitable sustainability, proving the business case by turning global challenges into industry opportunities,” Smyth said.

GCU’s Fair Fashion Centre aims to create a fashion industry that “supports people, planet and profits”, its website said. The centre is guided by the United Nations and works with more than 30 “global brands” in their bid “to research fashion as an instrument of sustainability and ethical business”.

With the approval, GCU now has presence in three capital cities: Glasgow, London and New York.

The school’s website also states GCU also works in partnership with the Caledonian College of Engineering in OmanGrameen Caledonian College of Nursing in Bangladesh and the University of Johannesburg to deliver a BSc in Railway Operations Management.

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