Twickenham's university college officially changed its name this week, and revealed it could be a full university within a couple of years.

In September it was announced that St Mary's College, in Waldegrave Road, was to become a university college, rather than a college of the University of Surrey.

And now, following an 18-month period of scrutiny by the Quality Assurance Agency, the organisation that safeguards the public interest in standards of higher education qualifications, it is official.

The Strawberry Hill college has been given the power to award its own taught degrees by the Privy Council, the body responsible for making the decision.

And as of Monday, January 8, the college officially became St Mary's University College, Twickenham.

Students starting courses in autumn this year will be awarded with degrees from St Mary's University College in place of degrees from the University of Surrey.

Arthur Naylor, principal at St Mary's, said he was delighted the change was now official and revealed the college's medium term plans were to become a full university.

"Being a university college describes what we do, a university education with a college ethos," said Dr Naylor "It describes well what it's like to be at St Mary's."

Dr Naylor added that to be a university St Mary's needed 4,000 full time equivalent students, and they currently had between 3,750 and 3,800, and they hoped to do this within two years.

He said the increase in St Mary's students would be done through an increase in part-time and foundation degree courses rather than undergraduate numbers.