What we want to seek to obtain is a co-operative journey that will end in a Co-operative University” (Rae, 1909)

Over 100 years ago the co-operative movement dreamt of establishing a Co-operative University. Now we’re working in partnership with a network of Higher Education Co-operatives to make that dream a reality and we want you to be a part of it.

Our ambition is to offer degree level courses from Autumn 2019. We want to show you why the time is right for a Co-operative University and what that co-operative difference really is.

What will the event involve?

Our event will showcase what’s different about a Co-operative University, offer more information about the degree programmes we plan to run and highlight how you can get involved. Whether you’re a potential student or looking to support someone to learn with us, an education provider, or want to work with us as a tutor, mentor or advocate, you’ll see what makes us unique. An agenda with more information is available below.

The Co-operative Difference

  • Degrees which are open to all, regardless of previous academic achievement – we value your personal and professional experience. Degrees will be part time and taught flexibly.
  • A supportive academic community with outstanding benefits, including £500 annually for students to spend on what they need to support their learning*.
  • Students and staff will be members of the University, with an equal voice, a say in designing the curriculum and the opportunity to shape their own learning.
  • A University that brings together a number of higher education co-operatives into a federation with deeply democratic structures based on full student and member participation, equality and decent work.
  • A programme that’s research led, critically engages with global challenges and tackles issues such as social justice.
  • A university that creates a new form of social value, based on the needs and capacities of people and the planet.

*Based on undergraduate degree over 4 years @ £5,500

Our Degree Programmes

Our undergraduate programmes will include: 

  • BA in International Development and Co-operation: theory, practice and possibilities. This programme is for those interested in exploring, understanding and constructing alternative social, cultural and economic approaches to the experiences of individuals and communities in the global north and south.
  • BA in Social Movements and Parallel Histories: organizing, acting and learning. The purpose of this programme is to understand what shapes, motivates, constitutes and characterises social movements globally. Through case studies and theory, we ask how social movements shape history and people’s everyday lives. What can we learn from social movements to help us think about organizing ourselves for complex futures?                                                     
  • BA in Co-operative Leadership, Culture and Management – Focusing on how to understand, appreciate and apply the co-operative difference for all organisations and employees, through an exploration of models of leadership, decision making, influence and democratic practice. Whether leading a co-operative, a community group, an enterprise or a social organisation, this course will enable learners how to lead with values.

We are also planning accredited higher education programmes in Democratic Practice, Social and Community Organising, Community History and Culture, Human Ecology, Art and Community, Alternative Forms of Social and Economic Organisation and The Nature and Future of Work.

Crucially, all students will begin with a module in Co-operative Learning, Research and Practice which will enable them to become skilled and confident co-operators and motivated and critical learners.


12:15 - Registration 

12:30 - Welcome, Aims for the Day, Introductions, Meeting the Board. 

13:00 - Light Lunch

13:30 - What's different about a Co-operative University?  (The Story So Far: history, where we are now, Q&As) 

14:15 - Getting to know the Federation: meeting our Higher Education Co-ops

14:45 - Break

15:00 - Developing co-operative Higher Education materials: an interactive activity

16:00 - Questions and what next?  

This event is now closed to bookings