Universities could soon offer fast-track two-year degrees, under a government proposal to be announced today.
The degrees will have increased yearly costs but will be no more expensive than degrees which take more than two years, officials claim.
It is aimed at mature students and those who want to get back to work more quickly.
The Department for Education is yet to confirm the higher fees, which need Parliament’s approval, but they could be as much as £13,500 a year.
Currently students pay up to £9,000 a year on three or four-year degrees.
The proposal will be announced today by Universities minister Jo Johnson, the younger brother of Foreign Secretary, Boris.
“This Bill gives us the chance to introduce new and flexible ways of learning,” he is expected to say at a London conference.
“Students are crying out for more flexible courses, modes of study which they can fit around work and life, shorter courses that enable them to get into and back into work more quickly, and courses that equip them with the skills that the modern workplace needs.
“I absolutely recognise that for many students the classic three-year residential model will remain the preferred option.
“But it clearly must not be the only option.”
The two-year degree proposal was a manifesto pledge from the Tories during the last election.
Maddalaine Ansell, chief executive of the University Alliance, told the Guardian: “Accelerated degrees can be a really attractive option for mature students.”