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Find and Compare Qualifications Frameworks

Find and Compare Qualifications Frameworks

Compare the results of the national referencing process by choosing the national flag. Up to 5 examples of qualifications are provided for each NQF level. National systems may include many other qualifications at those levels.

  • Knowledge at the most advanced frontier of a field of work or study and at the interface between fields
  • The most advanced and specialised skills and techniques, including synthesis and evaluation, required to solve critical problems in research and/or innovation and to extend and redefine existing knowledge or professional practice
  • Demonstrate substantial authority, innovation, autonomy, scholarly and professional integrity and sustained commitment to the development of new ideas or processes at the forefront of work or study contexts including research
  • Highly specialised knowledge, some of which is at the forefront of knowledge in a field of work or study, as the basis for original thinking and/or research; critical awareness of knowledge issues in a field and at the interface between different fields
  • Specialised problem-solving skills required in research and/or innovation in order to develop new knowledge and procedures and to integrate knowledge from different fields
  • Manage and transform work or study contexts that are complex, unpredictable and require new strategic approaches; take responsibility for contributing to professional knowledge and practice and/or for reviewing the strategic performance of teams
  • Advanced knowledge of a field of work or study, involving a critical understanding of theories and principles
  • Advanced skills, demonstrating mastery and innovation, required to solve complex and unpredictable problems in a specialised field of work or study
  • Manage complex technical or professional activities or projects, taking responsibility for decision making in unpredictable work or study contexts; take responsibility for managing professional development of individuals and groups
  • Comprehensive, specialised, factual and theoretical knowledge within a field of work or study and an awareness of the boundaries of that knowledge
  • A comprehensive range of cognitive and practical skills required to develop creative solutions to abstract problems
  • Exercise management and supervision in contexts of work or study activities where there is unpredictable change review and develop performance of self and others
  • Factual and theoretical knowledge in broad contexts within a field of work or study
  • A range of cognitive and practical skills required to generate solutions to specific problems in a field of work or study
  • Exercise self-management within the guidelines of work or study contexts that are usually predictable, but are subject to change; supervise the routine work of others, taking some responsibility for the evaluation and improvement of work or study activities
  • Knowledge of facts, principles, processes and general concepts, in a field of work or study
  • A range of cognitive and practical skills required to accomplish tasks and solve problems by selecting and applying basic methods, tools, materials and information
  • Take responsibility for completion of tasks in work or study; adapt own behaviour to circumstances in solving problems
  • Basic factual knowledge of a field of work or study
  • Basic cognitive and practical skills required to use relevant information in order to carry out tasks and to solve routine problems using simple rules and tools
  • Work or study under supervision with some autonomy
  • Basic general knowledge
  • Basic skills required to carry out simple tasks
  • Work or study under direct supervision in a structured context
England & Northern Ireland
Country
Wales
Ofqual & CCEA

Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual)

At Ofqual, we're responsible for maintaining standards, improving confidence and distributing information about qualifications and examinations. We regulate general and vocational qualifications in England and vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland. We give formal recognition to bodies and organisations that deliver qualifications and assessments. We also accredit their awards and monitor their activities (including their fees).

We're not directly controlled by the government but report to parliament.

The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA)

The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) is a non-departmental public body reporting to the Department of Education in Northern Ireland.  CCEA is a unique educational body in the UK, bringing together the three areas of curriculum, examinations and assessment.  CCEA Advises Government on what should be taught in Northern Ireland’s schools and colleges. CCEA Monitors standards ensuring that the qualifications and examinations offered by awarding bodies in Northern Ireland are of an appropriate quality and standard.  As Northern Ireland’s leading awarding body CCEA offers a diverse range of qualifications, such as GCSEs, including the new GCSE Double Award specifications in vocational subjects, GCE A and AS levels, Entry Level Qualifications, and Graded Objectives in Modern Languages

NQF/NQS NCP: Ofqual & CCEA
Information
The Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales

The Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales (CQFW) was formally adopted by the Welsh Government in 2002. The CQFW is managed through the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and works in close co-operation with the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW).

NQF/NQS NCP: The Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales
Referencing Report
QCF Level 8

Level 8 qualifications recognise leading experts or practitioners in a particular field. Learning at this level involves the development of new and creative approaches that extend or redefine existing knowledge or professional practice.

  • Vocational Qualifications level 8
    Vocational qualifications (VQs) are designed to allow learners to learn in a way that suits them, and give learners the skills that employers are looking for. Occupational VQs are designed to meet the national occupational standards (NOS) for a particular sector/work place and employers rely on these qualifications for evidence that an employee is competent to carry out the job.
EQF Level 8
CQFW Level 8

Make a significant and original contribution to a specialised field of inquiry demonstrating a command of methodological issues and engaging in critical dialogue with peers; accepting full accountability for outcomes.

  • Doctoral Degrees
    Doctoral Degrees are designed at CQFW Level 8 and have 540 CQFW Credit Points of which a minimum of 360 CQFW Credit Points are at CQFW level 8.
QCF Level 7

Level 7 qualifications recognise highly developed and complex levels of knowledge which enable the development of in-depth and original responses to complicated and unpredictable problems and situations. Learning at this level involves the demonstration of high level specialist professional knowledge and is appropriate for senior professionals and managers. Level 7 qualifications are at a level equivalent to Masters degrees, postgraduate certificates and postgraduate diplomas.

  • National Vocational Qualifications Level 5
    National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) cover a broad range of industry sectors and occupations and are delivered either in the learner’s actual workplace or in a workplace setting. Each NVQ is made up of units of national occupational standards, which define the knowledge, understanding and competence required to perform that particular job related role.
  • Vocational Qualifications level 7
    Vocational qualifications (VQs) are designed to allow learners to learn in a way that suits them, and give learners the skills that employers are looking for. Occupational VQs are designed to meet the national occupational standards (NOS) for a particular sector/work place and employers rely on these qualifications for evidence that an employee is competent to carry out the job.
EQF Level 7
CQFW Level 7

Display mastery of a complex and specialised area of knowledge and skills, employing advanced skills to conduct research, or advanced technical and professional activity; accepting accountability for all related decision making including use of supervision.

  • Master's Degrees
    Master's Degrees are designed at CQFW Level 7 and have at least 180 CQFW Credit Points of which a minimum of 150 are at CQFW Level 7
  • Integrated Master’s Degrees
      
  • Postgraduate Diplomas

      

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

      

  • Postgraduate Certificates

        

QCF Level 6

Level 6 qualifications recognise a specialist high level knowledge of an area of work or study to enable the use of an individual's own ideas and research in response to complex problems and situations. Learning at this level involves the achievement of a high level of professional knowledge and is appropriate for people working as knowledge-based professionals or in a professional management positions. Level 6 qualifications are at a level equivalent to Bachelors degrees with honours, graduate certificates and graduate diplomas.

  • Vocational Qualifications Level 6
    Vocational qualifications (VQs) are designed to allow learners to learn in a way that suits them, and give learners the skills that employers are looking for. Occupational VQs are designed to meet the national occupational standards (NOS) for a particular sector/work place and employers rely on these qualifications for evidence that an employee is competent to carry out the job.
EQF Level 6
CQFW Level 6

Critically review, consolidate and extend a systematic and coherent body of knowledge, utilising specialised skills across an area of study; critically evaluate new concepts and evidence from a range of sources; transfer and apply diagnostic and creative skills and exercise significant judgement in a range of situations; accept accountability for determining and achieving group and/or personal outcomes.

  • Bachelor’s Degrees with Honours
    Bachelor’s Degrees with Honours are designed at CQFW Level 6 and have at least 360 CQFW Credit Points of which a minimum of 90 are at CQFW Level 6.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees
      
  • Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

      

  • Graduate Diplomas

      

  • Graduate Certificates

      

QCF Level 5

Level 5 qualifications recognise the ability to increase the depth of knowledge and understanding of an area of work or study to enable the formulation of solutions and responses to complex problems and situations. Learning at this level involves the demonstration of high levels of knowledge, a high level of work expertise in job roles and competence in managing and training others. Qualifications at the level are appropriate for people working as higher technicians, professionals, or managers. Level 5 qualifications are at a level equivalent to intermediate Higher education qualifications such as Diplomas of Higher Education, Foundation and other degrees that do not typically provide access to postgraduate programmes.

  • Level 5 Vocational Qualifications
    Vocational qualifications (VQs) are designed to allow learners to learn in a way that suits them, and give learners the skills that employers are looking for. Occupational VQs are designed to meet the national occupational standards (NOS) for a particular sector/work place and employers rely on these qualifications for evidence that an employee is competent to carry out the job.
  • Higher National Diplomas (HND)
    A Higher National Certificate (HNC) is a higher education qualification. The HNC is studied full-time, the qualification normally takes one year or two years part time.
QCF Level 4

Level 4 qualifications recognise specialist learning and involves detailed analysis of a high level of information and knowledge in an area of work or study. Learning at this level is appropriate for people working in technical and professional jobs, and/or managing and developing others. Level 4 qualifications are at level equivalent to Certificates of Higher Education.

  • Level 4 Vocational Qualifications
    Vocational qualifications (VQs) are designed to allow learners to learn in a way that suits them, and give learners the skills that employers are looking for. Occupational VQs are designed to meet the national occupational standards (NOS) for a particular sector/work place and employers rely on these qualifications for evidence that an employee is competent to carry out the job.
  • Higher National Certificate (HNC)
    A Higher National Certificate (HNC) is a higher education qualification. The HNC is studied full-time, the qualification normally takes one year or two years part time.
EQF Level 5
CQFW Level 5

Generate ideas through the analysis of concepts at an abstract level, with a command of specialised skills and the formulation of responses to well defined and abstract problems; analyse and evaluate information; exercise significant judgement across a broad range of functions; and accept responsibility for determining and achieving personal and/or group outcomes.     Diplomas of Higher Education are designed at CQFW Level 5 and have at least 240 CQFW Credit Points of which a minimum of 90 are at CQFW Level 5.

  • Diplomas of Higher Education (DipHE)
    Diplomas of Higher Education are designed at CQFW Level 5 and have at least 240 CQFW Credit Points of which a minimum of 90 are at CQFW Level 5.
  • Foundation Degrees
      
  • Higher National Diplomas (HND)

      

CQFW Level 4

Develop a rigorous approach to the acquisition of a broad knowledge base; employ a range of specialised skills; evaluate information, using it to plan and develop investigative strategies and to determine solutions to a variety of unpredictable problems; operate in a range of varied and specific contexts, taking responsibility for the nature and quality of outputs.

  • Certificates of Higher Education (CertHE)
    Certificates of Higher Education are designed at CQFW Level 4 and have at least 120 CQFW Credit Points of which a minimum of 90 are at CQFW Level 4.
  • Key Skills Level 4
      
  • Higher National Certificates (HNC)

      

QCF Level 3

Level 3 qualifications recognise the ability to gain and where relevant apply a range of knowledge, skills and understanding. Learning at this level involves obtaining detailed knowledge and skills. Level 3 is appropriate for people wishing to go to university, people working independently, or in some areas supervising and training others in their field of work.

  • GCE AS and A Level
    The AS is a stand-alone qualification usually made up of two units and is worth half a full A level. GCE advanced levels (A levels) are made up of advanced subsidiary (AS) units and A2 units. A levels are available in over 45 subjects and are usually sat by 16 to 18 year olds in schools or colleges, but are open to anyone who wants to gain a qualification.
  • National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) level 3
    National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) cover a broad range of industry sectors and occupations and are delivered either in the learner’s actual workplace or in a workplace setting. Each NVQ is made up of units of national occupational standards, which define the knowledge, understanding and competence required to perform that particular job related role.
  • Functional Skills Level 3 (England only)

    Functional skills are a key element to the curriculum and qualifications reforms in England. They are the practical skills that allow people to use English, mathematics, and information and communication technology (ICT) in real life contexts. In developing functional skills, people can adapt and apply the knowledge to suit different situations they may face at home, at work, in education, and in the community.

EQF Level 4
CQFW Level 3

Apply knowledge and skills in a range of complex activities demonstrating comprehension of relevant theories; access and analyse information independently and make reasoned judgements, selecting from a considerable choice of procedures in familiar and unfamiliar contexts and direct own activities, with some responsibility for the output of others.

  • NVQ Level 3
      
  • Vocational Qualifications Level 3
      
  • GCE AS and A Level

      

  • Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification Advanced

      

  • Key Skills Level 3

      

QCF Level 2

Level 2 qualifications recognise the ability to gain a good knowledge and understanding of a subject area of work or study and to perform varied tasks with some guidance or supervision.

  • GCSEs Grades A*-C
    General Certificate of Secondary Education, is now the main school-leaving qualification in England. GCSEs are available in over 50 subjects. GCSEs can be studied alongside other qualifications and are usually sat by 15-18 year olds in schools or colleges.
  • Higher Diploma (England only)
    The Diploma is a composite qualifications for 14-19 year olds made up of principal learning; generic learning, and additional and specialist learning. They can be taken at three levels: Foundation, which is a Level 1 qualification; Higher Diploma, which is Level 2; and the Advanced and Progression Diplomas, which are both Level 3. Diplomas have been designed with input from employers and are available in industry sector related ‘lines of learning.’
  • National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) Level 2

    National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) cover a broad range of industry sectors and occupations and are delivered either in the learner’s actual workplace or in a workplace setting. Each NVQ is made up of units of national occupational standards, which define the knowledge, understanding and competence required to perform that particular job related role.

  • Functional Skills at level 2 (England only)

    Functional skills are a key element to the curriculum and qualifications reforms in England. They are the practical skills that allow people to use English, mathematics, and information and communication technology (ICT) in real life contexts. In developing functional skills, people can adapt and apply the knowledge to suit different situations they may face at home, at work, in education, and in the community.

  • Essential Skills at level 2 (Northern Ireland only)

    Essential Skills are nationally accredited adult qualifications available throughout Northern Ireland in - Entry Level Literacy, Entry Level Numeracy, Level 1&2 Communication, Level 1&2 Application of Number

EQF Level 3
CQFW Level 2

Apply knowledge with underpinning comprehension in a number of areas and employ a range of skills within a number of contexts, some of which may be non-routine and undertake directed activities, with a degree of autonomy, within time constraints

  • NVQ Level 2
      
  • Vocational Qualifications Level 2
      
  • Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification Intermediate

      

  • GCSEs grade A*-C

      

  • Key Skills Level 2

      

QCF Level 1

Level 1 qualifications recognise basic knowledge and skills and the ability to apply learning with guidance or supervision. Learning at this level is about activities which mostly relate to everyday situations and may be linked to job competence.

  • GCSEs Grades G - D.
    General Certificate of Secondary Education, is now the main school-leaving qualification in England. GCSEs are available in over 50 subjects. GCSEs can be studied alongside other qualifications and are usually sat by 15-18 year olds in schools or colleges.
  • Foundation Diploma (England only)
    The Diploma is a composite qualifications for 14-19 year olds made up of principal learning; generic learning, and additional and specialist learning. They can be taken at three levels: Foundation, which is a Level 1 qualification; Higher Diploma, which is Level 2; and the Advanced and Progression Diplomas, which are both Level 3. Diplomas have been designed with input from employers and are available in industry sector related ‘lines of learning.’
  • National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) Level 1

    National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) cover a broad range of industry sectors and occupations and are delivered either in the learner’s actual workplace or in a workplace setting. Each NVQ is made up of units of national occupational standards, which define the knowledge, understanding and competence required to perform that particular job related role.

  • Functional Skills Level 1 (England only)

    Functional skills are a key element to the curriculum and qualifications reforms in England. They are the practical skills that allow people to use English, mathematics, and information and communication technology (ICT) in real life contexts. In developing functional skills, people can adapt and apply the knowledge to suit different situations they may face at home, at work, in education, and in the community.

EQF Level 2
CQFW Level 1

Employ a narrow range of applied knowledge, skills and basic comprehension within a limited range of predictable and structured contexts, including working with others under direct supervision, but with a very limited degree of discretion and judgement about possible action

  • NVQ Level 1
      
  • Vocational Qualifications Level 1
      
  • GCSEs at grade D-G

      

  • Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification Foundation

      

  • Key Skills Level 1

      

Entry Level 3

Achievement at Entry 3 reflects the ability to make use of skills, knowledge and understanding, to carry out structured tasks and activities in familiar contexts, with appropriate guidance where needed.

EQF Level 1
CQFW Level Entry 1/2/3

Employ, recall and demonstrate elementary comprehension in a narrow range of areas, exercise basic skills within highly structured contexts and carry out directed activity under close supervision.

Entry Level 2

Achievement at Entry level 2 reflects the ability to make use of skills, knowledge and understanding and carry out simple, familiar tasks and activities with guidance.

Entry Level 1

Entry 1 ranges from the most elementary of achievements to beginning to make use of skills, knowledge or understanding that relate to the immediate environment.

As EQF starts at Level 1, referencing NQF levels below that level is not possible