The University of Birmingham will announce today that it has become the first European institution to partner with the US publishing giant Wiley, marking a step-change in the provision of distance and online learning in the UK.

This bold alliance underlines the University’s pioneering approach to distance learning and marks a significant shift in the provision of new modes of education in the UK.

Three new Masters programmes are being developed that will offer those seeking professional development the same quality learning experience and qualifications they would expect from a full-time course at the University of Birmingham, but with flexibility to learn online anywhere in the world.

The initial set of courses on offer will include a Masters in Public Administration and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) that will carry Birmingham Business School’s Triple Crown accreditation.

Announcing the partnership with Wiley, Vice-chancellor, Professor Sir David Eastwood, said: “For more than a century, the University has been challenging and developing great minds. This alliance will ensure Birmingham continues this tradition by extending access to our offering through exciting new modes of learning and teaching.”

Wiley is one of the global market leaders at supporting higher education institutions to develop unparalleled distant learning programmes. Together with the University’s partnership with the Canvas online learning platform – another UK first – Birmingham aims to revolutionise the distance learning experience.

Stephen Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wiley, said: “We are extremely excited about our relationship with the University of Birmingham. It is a tremendous opportunity to partner with a prestigious Russell Group institution and help expand its brand and programmes to new markets through high-quality distance learning experiences. As a leading higher education solutions provider Wiley is committed to improving educational outcomes for the benefit of our partners and students.”

The University of Birmingham is already one of the largest providers of Distance and Blended learning programmes in the UK. It offers a broad range of post-qualification teacher training (through the School of Education) and economic development (through the International Development Department), as well as an innovative distance learning PhD programme across all areas of Arts and Law. The University’s Health Services Management Centre (HSMC) is a leading partner in an international consortium delivering national senior leadership programmes on behalf of the NHS, and the University has launched a successful Masters in Advanced General Dental Practice by distance learning. Birmingham was also one of the founding partners in the Future Learn platform.

Birmingham’s commitment to building a strong online learning portfolio is further demonstrated by the creation of a new department under the direction of Ian Myatt, formerly Head of Knowledge & Learning for BBC Online.

The three new Masters programmes will launch in September 2015.