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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
Scotland
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
Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership

The SCQF Partnership was established in 2006 as a company ltd by guarantee to manage the SCQF.  The aims of the company are to: maintain the quality and integrity of the SCQF; promote and develop the SCQF as a tool to support lifelong learning; develop and maintain relationships with other frameworks in the UK, Europe and internationally.

NQF/NQS NCP: Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership
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
SCQF Level 12

Knowledge and understanding: Demonstrate and/or work with:

  • A critical overview of a subject/discipline, including critical understanding of the principal theories, principles and concepts;
  • A critical, detailed and often leading knowledge and understanding at the forefront of one or more specialisms;
  • Knowledge and understanding that is generated through personal research or equivalent work that makes a significant contribution to the development of the subject/discipline.


Practice: applied knowledge and understanding: Use a significant range of the principal skills, techniques, practices and materials associated with a subject/discipline. Use and enhance a range of complex skills, techniques, practices and materials at the forefront of one or more specialisms. Apply a range of standard and specialised research/equivalent instruments and techniques of enquiry. Design and execute research, investigative or development projects to deal with new problems and issues. Demonstrate originality and creativity in the development and application of new knowledge, understanding and practices. Practise in the context of new problems and circumstances.

Generic cognitive skills: Apply a constant and integrated approach to critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas, information and issues. Identify, conceptualise and offer original and creative insights into new, complex and abstract ideas, information and issues. Develop creative and original responses to problems and issues. Deal with very complex and/or new issues and make informed judgements in the absence of complete or consistent data/information.

Communication, ICT and numeracy skills: Use a significant range of advanced and specialised skills as appropriate to a subject/discipline – for example:

  • Communicate at an appropriate level to a range of audiences and adapt communication to the context and purpose;
  • Communicate at the standard of published academic work and/or critical dialogue and review with peers and experts in other specialisms;
  • Use a range of software to support and enhance work at this level and specify software requirements to enhance work;
  • Critically evaluate numerical and graphical data.

Autonomy, accountability and working with others: Exercise a high level of autonomy and initiative in professional and equivalent activities. Take full responsibility for own work and/or significant responsibility for the work of others. Demonstrate leadership and/or originality in tackling and solving problems and issues. Work in ways which are reflective, self-critical and based on research/evidence. Deal with complex ethical and professional issues. Make informed judgements on new and emerging issues not addressed by current professional and/or ethical codes or practices.

  • Doctoral Degrees
    Doctoral Degrees are designed at SCQF Level 12 and have 540 SCQF Credit Points of which a minimum of 420 SCQF Credit Points are at SCQF Level 12.
  • Professional Development Awards
    Professional Development Awards are designed for those normally already in a career who wish to extend or broaden their skills base, usually after completing a degree or vocational qualification relevant to their area of interest.  Professional Development Awards comprise at least two Units.  At SCQF Level 12, Professional Development Awards have a minimum credit value of 16 SCQF Credit Points. There is no maximum credit value therefore each Professional Development Award at this level will vary.
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
SCQF Level 11

Knowledge and understanding: Demonstrate and/or work with:

  • Knowledge that covers and integrates most, if not all, of the main areas of a subject/discipline — including their features, boundaries, terminology and conventions;
  • A critical understanding of the principal theories, principles and concepts;
  • A critical understanding of a range of specialised theories, principles and concepts;
  • Extensive, detailed and critical knowledge and understanding in one or more specialisms, much of which is at or informed by developments at the forefront;
  • Critical awareness of current issues in a subject/discipline and one or more specialisms.


Practice: applied knowledge and understanding: Use a significant range of the principal skills, techniques, practices and/or materials which are associated with a subject/discipline. Use a range of specialised skills, techniques, practices and/or materials which are at the forefront or informed by forefront developments. Apply a range of standard and specialised research or equivalent instruments and techniques of enquiry. Plan and execute a significant project of research, investigation or development. Demonstrate originality or creativity in the application of knowledge, understanding and/or practices. Practise in a wide and often unpredictable variety of professional level contexts.

Generic cognitive skills: Apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to issues which are at the forefront or informed by developments at the forefront of a subject/discipline. Identify, conceptualise and define new and abstract problems and issues. Develop original and creative responses to problems and issues. Critically review, consolidate and extend knowledge, skills, practices and thinking in a subject/discipline. Deal with complex issues and make informed judgements in situations in the absence of complete or consistent data/ information.

Communication, ICT and numeracy skills: Use a range of advanced and specialised skills as appropriate to a subject/discipline – for example:

  • Communicate, using appropriate methods, to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge/expertise;
  • Communicate with peers, more senior colleagues and specialists;
  • Use a wide range of software to support and enhance work at this level and specify new software or refinements/improvements to existing software to increase effectiveness;
  • Undertake critical evaluations of a wide range of numerical and graphical data.

Autonomy, accountability and working with others: Exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in professional and equivalent activities. Take responsibility for own work and/or significant responsibility for the work of others. Take responsibility for a significant range of resources. Demonstrate leadership and/or initiative and make an identifiable contribution to change and development. Practise in ways which draw on critical reflection on own and others’ roles and responsibilities. Deal with complex ethical and professional issues and make informed judgements on issues not addressed by current professional and/or ethical codes or practices.

  • Masters Degrees
    Masters Degrees are designed at SCQF Level 11 and have at least 180 SCQF Credit Points of which a minimum of 150 are at SCQF Level 11.
  • Post Graduate Diploma
    Post Graduate Diplomas are designed at SCQF Level 11 and have at least 120 SCQF Credit Points.
  • Post Graduate Certificate

    Post Graduate Certificates are designed at SCQF Level 11 and have at least 60 SCQF Credit Points.

  • Professional Development Awards

    Professional Development Awards are designed for those normally already in a career who wish to extend or broaden their skills base, usually after completing a degree or vocational qualification relevant to their area of interest.  Professional Development Awards comprise at least 2 Units.  At SCQF Level 11, Professional Development Awards have a minimum credit value of 16 SCQF Credit Points. There is no maximum credit value therefore each Professional Development Award at this level will vary.

  • SVQ 5

    SVQs are work-based qualifications which are usually delivered in the workplace or in partnership with a college or other training provider.  SVQs are a means of recognising the skills and knowledge people need in employment i.e. job competence.  At SVQ 5, competence involves the application of skills and a significant range of fundamental principles across a wide and often unpredictable variety of contexts.  Very substantial personal autonomy and often significant responsibility for the work of others and for the allocation of substantial resources feature strongly as do personal responsibility. Credit points will vary dependant on the specific award.

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
SCQF Level 10

Knowledge and understanding: Demonstrate and/or work with:

  • Knowledge that covers and integrates most of the principal areas, features, boundaries, terminology and conventions of a subject/discipline;
  • A critical understanding of the principal theories, concepts and principles;
  • Detailed knowledge and understanding in one or more specialisms, some of which is informed by or at the forefront of a subject/discipline;
  • Knowledge and understanding of the ways in which the subject/discipline is developed, including a range of established techniques of enquiry or research methodologies.


Practice: applied knowledge and understanding: Use a range of the principal skills, practices and/or materials associated with a subject/discipline. Use a few skills, practices and/or materials which are specialised, advanced or at the forefront of a subject/discipline. Execute a defined project of research, development or investigation and identify and implement relevant outcomes. Practise in a range of professional level contexts which include a degree or unpredictability and/or specialism.

Generic cognitive skills: Critically identify, define, conceptualise and analyse complex/professional level problems and issues. Offer professional level insights, interpretations and solutions to problems and issues. Critically review and consolidate knowledge, skills, practices and thinking in a subject/discipline. Demonstrate some originality and creativity in dealing with professional level issues. Make judgements where data/information is limited or comes from a range of sources.

Communication, ICT and numeracy skills: Use a wide range of routine skills and some advanced and specialised skills in support of established practices in a subject/discipline, for example:

  • Make formal presentations about specialised topics to informed audiences;
  • Communicate with professional level peers, senior colleagues and specialists;
  • Use a range of software to support and enhance work at this level and specify refinements/improvements to software to increase effectiveness;
  • Interpret, use and evaluate a wide range of numerical and graphical data to set and achieve goals/targets.

Autonomy, accountability and working with others: Exercise autonomy and initiative in professional/equivalent activities. Take significant responsibility for the work of others and for a range of resources. Practise in ways which show a clear awareness of own and others’ roles and responsibilities. Work effectively under guidance in a peer relationship with qualified practitioners. Work with others to bring about change, development and/or new thinking. Deal with complex ethical and professional issues, in accordance with current professional and/or ethical codes or practices. Recognise the limits of these codes and seek guidance where appropriate.

  • Honours Degree
    The Scottish Honours Degree is designed to SCQF Level 10 and has a minimum of 480 SCQF Credit Points of which a minimum of 90 are at SCQF Level 9 and a minimum of 90 at SCQF Level 10.
  • Graduate Certificate / Diploma
    Titles with the stem Graduate may be used for qualifications from programmes of study that typically require graduate entry or its equivalent.  The Graduate Certificate has 60 SCQF Credit Points at Levels 9 or 10 and the Graduate Diploma has 120 SCQF Credit Points at Levels 9 or 10.
  • Professional Development Awards

    Professional Development Awards are designed for those normally already in a career who wish to extend or broaden their skills base, usually after completing a degree or vocational qualification relevant to their area of interest. Professional Development Awards comprise at least 2 Units.  At SCQF Levels 9 and 10, Professional Development Awards have a minimum credit value of 16 SCQF Credit Points. There is no maximum credit value therefore each Professional Development Award at this level will vary.

SCQF Level 9

Knowledge and understanding: Demonstrate and/or work with:

  • A broad and integrated knowledge and understanding of the scope, main areas and boundaries of a subject/ discipline;
  • A critical understanding of a selection of the principal theories, principles, concepts and terminology;
  • Knowledge that is detailed in some areas and/or knowledge of one or more specialisms that are informed by forefront developments.

Practice: applied knowledge and understanding: Use a selection of the principal skills, techniques, practices and/or materials associated with a subject/discipline. Use a few skills, techniques, practices and/or materials that are specialised or advanced. Practise routine methods of enquiry and/or research. Practise in a range of professional level contexts that include a degree of unpredictability.

Generic cognitive skills: Undertake critical analysis, evaluation and/or synthesis of ideas, concepts, information and issues. Identify and analyse routine professional problems and issues. Draw on a range of sources in making judgements.

Communication, ICT and numeracy skills: Use a range of routine skills and some advanced and specialised skills in support of established practices in a subject/discipline – for example:

  • Make formal and informal presentations on standard/mainstream topics in the subject/discipline to a range of audiences;
  • Use a range of IT applications to support and enhance work;
  • Interpret, use and evaluate numerical and graphical data to achieve goals/targets.

Autonomy, accountability and working with others: Exercise autonomy and initiative in some activities at a professional level. Take some responsibility for the work of and for a range of resources. Practise in ways that take account of own and others’ roles and responsibilities. Work under guidance with qualified practitioners. Deal with ethical and professional issues in accordance with current professional and/or ethical codes or practices, seeking guidance where appropriate.

  • Bachelors/Ordinary Degree
    The Scottish Bachelors Degree is designed to SCQF Level 9 and has a minimum of 360 SCQF Credit Points of which a minimum of 60 are at SCQF Level 9.
  • Graduate Certificate / Diploma
    Titles with the stem Graduate may be used for qualifications from programmes of study that typically require graduate entry or its equivalent.  The Graduate Certificate has 60 SCQF Credit Points at Levels 9 or 10 and the Graduate Diploma has 120 SCQF Credit Points at Levels 9 or 10.
  • Professional Development Awards

    Professional Development Awards are designed for those normally already in a career who wish to extend or broaden their skills base, usually after completing a degree or vocational qualification relevant to their area of interest. Professional Development Awards comprise at least 2 Units.  At SCQF Levels 9 and 10, Professional Development Awards have a minimum credit value of 16 SCQF Credit Points. There is no maximum credit value therefore each Professional Development Award at this level will vary.

  • SVQ 4

    SVQs are work-based qualifications which are usually delivered in the workplace or in partnership with a college or other training provider.  SVQs are a means of recognising the skills and knowledge people need in employment i.e. job competence.  At SVQ 4 competence involves the application of knowledge and skills in a broad range of varied work activities, performed in a broad range of variety of contexts most of complex technical or professional work activities, performed in a wide variety of contexts and with a substantial degree of personal  responsibility and autonomy. Responsibility for the work of others and the allocation of resources is often present.  Credit points will vary dependant on the specific award.

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
SCQF Level 8

Knowledge and understanding: Demonstrate and/or work with:

  • A broad knowledge of the scope, defining features and main areas of a subject/discipline;
  • Detailed knowledge in some areas;
  • Understanding of a limited range of core theories, principles and concepts;
  • Limited knowledge and understanding of some major current issues and specialisms;
  • An outline knowledge and understanding of research and equivalent scholarly/academic processes.

Practice: applied knowledge and understanding: Use a range of routine skills, techniques, practices and/or materials associated with a subject/discipline, a few of which are advanced or complex. Carry out routine lines of enquiry, development or investigation into professional level problems and issues. Adapt routine practices within accepted standards.

Generic cognitive skills: Undertake critical analysis, evaluation and/or synthesis of ideas, concepts, information and issues that are within the common understandings of the subject/discipline. Use a range of approaches to formulate evidence-based solutions/responses to defined and/or routine problems/issues. Critically evaluate evidence-based solutions/responses to defined and/or routine problems/issues.

Communication, ICT and numeracy skills: Use a range of routine skills and some advanced and specialised skills associated with a subject/discipline – for example:

  • Convey complex information to a range of audiences and for a range of purposes;
  • Use a range of standard applications to process and obtain data;
  • Use and evaluate numerical and graphical data to measure progress and achieve goals/targets.

Autonomy, accountability and working with others: Exercise autonomy and initiative in some activities at a professional level. Take significant managerial or supervisory responsibility for the work of others in defined areas of work. Manage resources within defined areas of work. Take the lead on planning in familiar or defined contexts. Take continuing account of own and others’ roles, responsibilities and contributions in carrying out and evaluating tasks. Work in support of current professional practice, under guidance. Deal with ethical and professional issues in accordance with current professional and/or ethical codes of practices, under guidance. 

  • Higher National Diplomas
    Higher National Diplomas are designed to provide people with the practical skills and theoretical knowledge that employers expect and also to provide articulation to degree programmes.  Higher National Diplomas are at SCQF Level 8 and have 240 SCQF Credit Points, at least 64 of which must be at SCQF Level 8 but typically most of the Units in the 2nd year of a Higher National Diploma are at the level of the award.
  • Diploma of Higher Education
    The Diploma of Higher Education is designed to SCQF Level 8 and has 240 SCQF Credit Points of which a minimum of 90 are at SCQF 8 or above.
  • Professional Development Awards

    Professional Development Awards are designed for those normally already in a career who wish to extend or broaden their skills base, usually after completing a degree or vocational qualification relevant to their area of interest.  Professional Development Awards comprise at least 2 Units.   At SCQF Levels  8, Professional Development Awards have a minimum credit value of 16 SCQF Credit Points. There is no maximum credit value therefore each Professional Development Award at this level will vary.

  • SVQ 4

    SVQs are work-based qualifications which are usually delivered in the workplace or in partnership with a college or other training provider.  SVQs are a means of recognising the skills and knowledge people need in employment i.e. job competence.  At SVQ 4 competence involves the application of knowledge and skills in a broad range of varied work activities, performed in a broad range of variety of contexts most of complex technical or professional work activities, performed in a wide variety of contexts and with a substantial degree of personal  responsibility and autonomy. Responsibility for the work of others and the allocation of resources is often present.  Credit points will vary dependant on the specific award.

SCQF Level 7

Knowledge and understanding: Demonstrate and/or work with:

  • A broad knowledge of the subject/discipline in general;
  • Knowledge that is embedded in the main theories, concepts and principles;
  • An awareness of the evolving/changing nature of knowledge and understanding;
  • An understanding of the difference between explanations based on evidence and/or research and other forms of explanation and of the importance of this difference.

Practice: applied knowledge and understanding: Use some of the basic and routine professional skills, techniques, practices and/or materials associated with a subject/discipline. Practise these in both routine and non-routine contexts.

Generic cognitive skills: Present and evaluate arguments, information and ideas which are routine to the subject/discipline. Use a range of approaches to address defined and/or routine problems and issues within familiar contexts.

Communication, ICT and numeracy skills: Use a wide range of routine skills and some advanced skills associated with the subject/discipline – for example:

  • Convey complex ideas in well-structured and coherent form;
  • Use a range of forms of communication effectively in both familiar and new contexts;
  • Use standard applications to process and obtain a variety of information and data;
  • Use a range of numerical and graphical skills in combination;
  • Use numerical and graphical data to measure progress and achieve goals/targets.

Autonomy, accountability and working with others: Exercise some initiative and independence in carrying out defined activities at a professional level. Take supervision in less familiar areas of work. Take some managerial responsibility for the work of others within a defined and supervised structure. Manage limited resources within defined areas of work. Take the lead in implementing agreed plans in familiar or defined contexts. Take account of own and others’ roles and responsibilities in carrying out and evaluating tasks. Work with others in support of current professional practice under guidance.

  • Advanced Higher
    National Courses are designed to develop skills in a specific subject area. A National Course at Advanced Higher is allocated 32 SCQF Credit Points at SCQF Level 7 and is usually made up of three Units and a Course Assessment which are all at SCQF Level 7.
  • Higher National Certificates
    Higher National Certificates are designed to provide people with the practical skills and theoretical knowledge that employers expect and also to provide articulation to HNDs and degree programmes.  Higher National Certificates are at SCQF Level 7 and have 96 SCQF Credit Points, at least 48 of which must be at SCQF Level 7 but typically most of the Units in Higher National Certificates are at the level of the award.
  • Certificate of Higher Education

    The Certificate of Higher Education is designed to SCQF Level 7 and has 120 SCQF Credit Points of which a minimum of 90 are at SCQF 7 or above.

  • Professional Development Awards

    Professional Development Awards are designed for those normally already in a career who wish to extend or broaden their skills base, usually after completing a degree or vocational qualification relevant to their area of interest.  Professional Development Awards comprise at least 2 Units.   At SCQF Levels 7, Professional Development Awards have a minimum credit value of 16 SCQF Credit Points. There is no maximum credit value therefore each Professional Development Award at this level will vary.

  • SVQ 3

    SVQs are work-based qualifications which are usually delivered in the workplace or in partnership with a college or other training provider.  SVQs are a means of recognising the skills and knowledge people need in employment i.e. job competence.  At SVQ 3 competence involves the application of knowledge and skills in a broad range of varied work activities, performed in a variety of contexts most of which are complex or non-routine.  There is considerable responsibility and autonomy and control or guidance of others is often present.  Credit points will vary dependant on the specific award.

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
SCQF Level 6

Knowledge and understanding: Demonstrate and/or work with:

  • Generalised knowledge of a subject/discipline;
  • Factual and theoretical knowledge;
  • A range of facts, ideas, properties, materials, terminology, practices, techniques about/associated with a subject/ discipline;
  • Relate the subject/discipline to a range of practical and/or everyday applications.

Practice: applied knowledge and understanding: Apply knowledge and understanding in known, practical contexts. Use some of the basic, routine practices, techniques and/or materials associated with a subject/discipline in routine contexts which may have non-routine elements. Plan how skills will be used to address set situations and/or problems and adapt these as necessary.

Generic cognitive skills: Obtain, organise and use factual and theoretical information in problem solving. Make generalisations and predictions. Draw conclusions and suggest solutions.

Communication, ICT and numeracy skills: Use a wide range of skills – for example:

  • Produce and respond to detailed and relatively complex written and oral communication in both familiar and unfamiliar contexts;
  • Select and use standard applications to process, obtain and combine information;
  • Use a wide range of numerical and graphical data in routine contexts which may have non-routine elements.

Autonomy, accountability and working with others: Take responsibility for the carrying out of a range of activities where the overall goal is clear, under non-directive supervision. Take some supervisory responsibility for the work of others and lead established teams in the implementation of routine work. Manage limited resources within defined and supervised areas of work. Take account of roles and responsibilities related to the tasks being carried out and take a significant role in the evaluation of work and the improvement of practices and processes.

  • Higher
    National Courses are designed to develop skills in a specific subject area. A National Course at Higher is allocated 24 SCQF Credit Points at SCQF Level 6 and is usually made up of three Units and a Course Assessment which are all at SCQF Level 6.
  • National Certificates
    National Certificates at SCQF Level 6 are designed to provide candidates with the skills and knowledge that employers expect and also to provide articulation to Higher National programmes.  National Certificates are made up of mandatory and optional units and have a total credit value of 72 SCQF Credit Points of which at least half must be at SCQF Level 6.  The mandatory section must have a minimum of 36 SCQF Credit Points.
  • National Progression Awards

    National Progression Awards at SCQF Level 6 are small flexible Group Awards that are linked to National Occupational Standards or other professional or trade standards and are designed to assess and certificate a defined set of skills in a specialist vocational area.  National Progression Awards are made up of a minimum of 2 Units.  National Progression Awards have a minimum credit value of 12 SCQF Credit Points.  There is no maximum SCQF Credit Points value so therefore each National Progression Award will vary.

  • Professional Development Awards

    Professional Development Awards are designed for those normally already in a career who wish to extend or broaden their skills base, usually after completing a degree or vocational qualification relevant to their area of interest.  Professional Development Awards comprise at least 2 Units.   At SCQF Level 6, Professional Development Awards have a minimum credit value of 12 SCQF Credit Points. There is no maximum credit value therefore each Professional Development Award at this level will vary.

  • SVQ 3

    SVQs are work-based qualifications which are usually delivered in the workplace or in partnership with a college or other training provider.  SVQs are a means of recognising the skills and knowledge people need in employment i.e. job competence.  At SVQ 3 competence involves the application of knowledge and skills in a broad range of varied work activities, performed in a variety of contexts most of which are complex or non-routine.  There is considerable responsibility and autonomy and control or guidance of others is often present. Credit points will vary dependant on the specific award.

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
SCQF Level 5

Knowledge and understanding: Demonstrate and/or work with:

  • Basic knowledge in a subject/discipline which is mainly factual but has some theoretical component;
  • A range of simple facts and ideas about and associated with a subject/discipline;
  • Knowledge and understanding of basic processes, materials and terminology.

Practice: applied knowledge and understanding: Relate ideas and knowledge to personal and/or practical contexts. Complete some routine and non-routine tasks using knowledge associated with a subject/discipline. Plan and organise both familiar and new tasks. Select appropriate tools and materials and use safely and effectively (e.g. without waste). Adjust tools where necessary, following safe practices.

Generic cognitive skills: Use a problem-solving approach to deal with a situation or issue that is straightforward in relation to a subject/discipline. Operate in a familiar context, but where there is a need to take account of or use additional information of different kinds, some of which will be theoretical or hypothetical. Use some abstract constructs for example make generalisations and/or draw conclusions.

Communication, ICT and numeracy skills: Use a range of routine skills for example:

  • Produce and respond to detailed written and oral communication in familiar contexts;
  • Use standard applications to process, obtain and combine information;
  • Use a range of numerical and graphical data in straightforward contexts that have some complex features.

Autonomy, accountability and working with others: Work alone or with others on tasks with minimum supervision. Agree goals and responsibilities for self and/or work team with manager/supervisor. Take leadership responsibility for some tasks. Show an awareness of others’ roles, responsibilities and requirements in carrying out work and make a contribution to the evaluation and improvement of practices and processes.

  • Intermediate 2
    National Courses are designed to develop skills in a specific subject area. A National Course at Intermediate 2 is allocated 24 SCQF Credit Points at SCQF Level 5 and is usually made up of three Units and a Course Assessment which are all at SCQF Level 5.
  • Standard Grade – Credit
    Standard Grades are designed to develop skills and knowledge in a specific subject area.  A Standard Grade at General Level is allocated 24 SCQF Credit Points at SCQF Level 5.
  • National Certificates

    National Certificates at SCQF Level 5 are designed to provide candidates with the skills and knowledge that employers expect and also to provide articulation to Higher National programmes.  National Certificates are made up of mandatory and optional units and have a total credit value of 72 SCQF Credit Points of which at least half must be at SCQF Level 5.  The mandatory section must have a minimum of 36 SCQF Credit Points.

  • National Progression Awards

    National Progression Awards at SCQF Level 5 are small flexible Group Awards that are linked to National Occupational Standards or other professional or trade standards and are designed to assess and certificate a defined set of skills in a specialist vocational area.  National Progression Awards are made up of a minimum of 2 Units.  National Progression Awards have a total credit value of 12 SCQF Credit Points.  There is no maximum SCQF Credit Points value so therefore each National Progression Award will vary.

  • SVQ 2

    SVQs are work-based qualifications which are usually delivered in the workplace or in partnership with a college or other training provider.  SVQs are a means of recognising the skills and knowledge people need in employment i.e. job competence.  At SVQ 2 competence involves the application of knowledge and skills in a significant range of varied work activities, performed in a variety of contexts. At this level, there will be activities which are complex or non-routine and there is some individual responsibility and autonomy. Collaboration with others, perhaps through membership of a work group or team, may often be a requirement.  Credit points will vary dependant on the specific award.

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
SCQF Level 4

Knowledge and understanding: Demonstrate and/or work with:

  • Basic knowledge in a subject/discipline which is mainly factual;
  • Some simple facts and ideas about and associated with a subject/discipline;
  • Knowledge of basic processes, materials and terminology.


Practice: applied knowledge and understanding: Relate knowledge to personal and/or practical contexts. Use a few skills to complete straightforward tasks with some non-routine elements. Select and use, with guidance, appropriate tools and materials safely and effectively.

Generic cognitive skills: Use, with guidance, given stages of a problem solving approach to deal with a situation or issue. Operate in straightforward contexts. Identify and/or take account of some of the consequences of action/inaction.

Communication, ICT and numeracy skills: Use straightforward skills – for example:

  • Produce and respond to simple but detailed written and oral communication in familiar contexts;
  • Use the most straightforward features of familiar applications to process and obtain information;
  • Use straightforward numerical and graphical data in straightforward and familiar contexts.

Autonomy, accountability and working with others: Work alone or with others on straightforward tasks. Contribute to the setting of goals, timelines, etc. Contribute to the review of completed work and offer suggestions for improving practices and processes. Identify own strengths and weaknesses relative to the work.

  • Intermediate 1
    National Courses are designed to develop skills in a specific subject area. A National Course at Intermediate 1 is allocated 24 SCQF Credit Points at SCQF Level 4 and is usually made up of three Units and a Course Assessment which are all at SCQF Level 4.
  • Standard Grade - General
    Standard Grades are designed to develop skills and knowledge in a specific subject area.  A Standard Grade at General Level is allocated 24 SCQF Credit Points at SCQF Level 4.
  • National Certificates

    National Certificates at SCQF Level 4 are designed to provide candidates with the skills and knowledge that employers expect and also to provide articulation to higher level study eg National Certificates at higher SCQF Levels.  National Certificates are made up of mandatory and optional units and have a total credit value of 72 SCQF Credit Points of which at least half must be at SCQF Level 4.  The mandatory section must have a minimum of 36 SCQF Credit Points.

  • National Progression Awards

    National Progression Awards at SCQF Level 4 are small flexible Group Awards that are linked to National Occupational Standards or other professional or trade standards and are designed to assess and certificate a defined set of skills in a specialist vocational area.  National Progression Awards are made up of a minimum of 2 Units.  National Progression Awards have a total credit value of 12 SCQF Credit Points.  There is no maximum SCQF Credit Points value so therefore each National Progression Award will vary.

  • SVQ 1

    SVQs are work-based qualifications which are usually delivered in the workplace or in partnership with a college or other training provider.  SVQs are a means of recognising the skills and knowledge people need in employment i.e. job competence. At SVQ 1 competence involves the application of knowledge and skills in the performance of a range of varied work activities, most of which may be routine or predictable. Credit points will vary dependant on the specific award.

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
SCQF Level 3

Knowledge and understanding: Demonstrate and/or work with:

  • Basic knowledge in a subject/discipline;
  • Simple facts and ideas associated with a subject/discipline.


Practice: applied knowledge and understanding: Relate knowledge with some prompting to personal and/or everyday contexts. Use a few basic, routine skills to undertake familiar and routine tasks. Complete pre-planned tasks. Use, with guidance, basic tools and materials safely and effectively.

Generic cognitive skills: Identify, with some prompting, a process to deal with a situation or issue. Operate in familiar contexts using given criteria. Take account of some identified consequences of action.

Communication, ICT and numeracy skills: Use simple skills, for example:

  • Produce and respond to simple written and oral communication in familiar, routine contexts;
  • Carry out simple tasks to process data and access information;
  • Use simple numerical and graphical data in everyday contexts.

Autonomy, accountability and working with others: Work alone or with others on simple tasks under frequent supervision. Participate in the setting of goals, timelines etc. Participate in the review of completed work and the identification of ways of improving practices and processes. Identify, given simple criteria, own strengths and weaknesses relative to the work.

  • Access 3
    National Courses at Access 3 are designed to develop skills and knowledge in a specific subject area.  A National Course at Access 3 is allocated 18 SCQF Credit Points at SCQF Level 3 and is usually made up of three Units at the SCQF level of the course.
  • Standard Grade - Foundation
    Standard Grades are designed to develop skills and knowledge in a specific subject area.  A Standard Grade at Foundation Level is allocated 24 SCQF Credit Points at SCQF Level 3.
  • National Certificates

    National Certificates at SCQF Level 3 are designed to provide candidates with the skills and knowledge that employers expect and also to provide articulation to higher level study eg National Certificates at higher SCQF Levels.  National Certificates are made up of mandatory and optional units and have a total credit value of 54 SCQF Credit Points of which at least half must be at SCQF Level 3.  The mandatory section must have a minimum of 27 SCQF Credit Points.

  • National Progression Awards

    National Progression Awards at SCQF Level 3 are small flexible Group Awards that are linked to National Occupational Standards or other professional or trade standards and are designed to assess and certificate a defined set of skills in a specialist vocational area.  National Progression Awards are made up of a minimum of 2 Units.  National Progression Awards have a total credit value of 12 SCQF Credit Points.  There is no maximum SCQF Credit Points value so therefore each National Progression Award will vary.

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
SCQF Level 2

Knowledge and understanding: Demonstrate and/or work with knowledge of simple facts and ideas in a subject/discipline.

Practice: applied knowledge and understanding: Relate knowledge to a few simple everyday contexts with prompting. Use a few very simple skills. Carry out, with guidance, a few familiar tasks. Use under supervision basic tools and materials.

Generic cognitive skills: Use rehearsed stages for solving problems. Operate in personal and/or everyday contexts. Take some account, with prompting, of identified consequences of action.

Communication, ICT and numeracy skills: 
Use very simple skills with assistance, for example:

  • Produce and respond to a limited range of very simple written and oral communication in familiar/routine contexts;
  • Carry out a limited range of very simple tasks to process data and access information;
  • Use a limited range of very simple and familiar numerical and graphical data in familiar and everyday contexts.

Autonomy, accountability and working with others: Work alone or with others on simple routine, familiar tasks under frequent and directive supervision. Identify, given simple criteria, some successes and/or failures of the work.

  • Access 2
    Access 2 qualifications are all about providing opportunities for candidates who require additional support for their learning. Access 2 qualifications are routes to learning. They are also qualifications with opportunities for progression - this may be to another qualification at the same level, or to the next level.Qualifications at Access 1 and 2 levels are designed to be accessible to all candidates. Candidates can be given support and guidance from teaching staff and evidence can be gathered in a variety of ways. Teachers/lectures should make an assessment of individual candidate’s needs in order to make a judgment on how much support or direction a candidate needs and what type of evidence would be best. Throughout Access 1 and 2 candidates should undertake Units using their usual means of communication.
SCQF Level 1

There is no separate Level Descriptor for Level 1, which covers all provision that comes below the full achievement of Level 2

  • Access 1
    Access 1 qualifications are all about providing opportunities for candidates who require additional support for their learning. Access 1 qualifications are routes to learning. They are also qualifications with opportunities for progression - this may be to another qualification at the same level, or to the next level. Qualifications at Access 1 levels are designed to be accessible to all candidates. Candidates can be given support and guidance from teaching staff and evidence can be gathered in a variety of ways. Teachers/lectures should make an assessment of individual candidate’s needs in order to make a judgment on how much support or direction a candidate needs and what type of evidence would be best. Throughout Access 1 candidates should undertake Units using their usual means of communication.