The University Council of Jamaica functions essentially as an accrediting, awards and academic development body for degree, diploma and certificate programmes proposed and developed at approved tertiary institutions. Its main functions are:
To register institutions that have met minimum tertiary educational standards with respect to:
- adequacy and suitability of physical facilities with regard to student enrollment
- scope, appropriateness and educational value of institutional courses and experiences
- qualifications and competence of staff
- adequacy of resources e.g. library, computers, laboratories, to support the programmes
- other operational factors.
To provide accreditation for degree and specialized programmes by:
- establishing and applying criteria for the accreditation of tertiary educational programmes and courses of study
- assisting registered institutions in the improvement of their educational programmes
- encouraging and facilitating programmes related to national needs.
- To assist in the development of tertiary institutions by providing professional advice and services for the development and improvement of programmes.
- To award degrees, diplomas and certificates to students who have pursued such courses at tertiary institutions in Jamaica approved by the UCJ.
- To study current issues in post-secondary education with a view to maintaining and improving educational standards.
- To provide appropriate public information about the institutions and programmes registered and accredited by the Council.
- To co-ordinate the activities of the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education (JCTE).
- To act as the national information centre for Jamaican tertiary qualifications.
- To establish equivalence and facilitate recognition of foreign qualifications.
- To assure the quality of programmes being offered in Jamaica by foreign institutions.
In executing its functions, the UCJ has developed a number of guidelines that are available to its stakeholders. These guidelines include: Guidelines for Establishing a Tertiary Educational Institution, Registration Handbook, Accreditation Process, The Self Study, Information for Overseas Institutions, Standards for a University, and the Manual for the Visiting Team.