Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) is the national credit transfer system for all levels of qualifications in Scotland. The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership promotes lifelong learning in the country. Through the SCQF, learners can gain a better understanding of qualifications and plan their future learning.

The SCQF is in the custody of, and managed by, the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership (SCQF Partnership). Since its creation in November 2006 the SCQF Partnership, which is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity, has aimed to: ensure that, where appropriate, all assessed learning and qualifications are included within the Framework and extend the recognition of informal and non-formal learning; fully develop and promote the Framework as a lifelong learning tool; and develop relationships with other frameworks internationally.

Its members are the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education; College Development Network; the Scottish Qualifications Authority; and Universities Scotland.



Scottish higher education institutions had long used the SCOTCAT (Scottish Credit Accumulation and Transfer) system for equating courses from different institutions. SCOTCAT had three levels. Level 1 was equivalent to University 1st Year, an HNC or a Certificate of Higher Education (Cert HE). Level 2 was equivalent to University 2nd Year, an HND or a Diploma of Higher Education. Level 3 was equivalent to Years 3 and 4 at a Scottish University, and generally these credits lead to a Special or Honours Degree.

Scottish Qualifications Authority

Following the creation of the Scottish Qualifications Authority by the merger of the Scottish Examinations Board and SCOTVEC, efforts were made to unite the different levels of vocational and academic qualifications. The aim was to make it easier for employers and education institutions to understand the level to which a person had been educated.[1] A secondary aim was to remove prejudice against vocational and non-traditional qualifications.


Following from these two efforts, all the education and training providers in Scotland agreed to create a common framework for all qualifications, both current and historical. This led to the development of a 12-level framework with courses, units, modules and clusters being placed at a specific level with a credit weighting.

Changes have been made to Higher Education level courses to prepare the Scottish system for the Bologna process.

The Framework

The Framework has 12 levels.

SCQF Level SQA National Units, Courses and Group Awards Higher Education Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQ)
12  Doctorates 
11  Master's degreeSVQ 5
10  Honours degree, Graduate diploma 
9  Ordinary degree, Graduate certificate 
8  Higher National Diploma, Diploma of Higher EducationSVQ 4
7 Advanced HigherHigher National Certificate, Certificate of Higher Education 
6 Higher SVQ 3
5 National 5
Intermediate 2 (discontinued)
Credit Standard Grade (discontinued)
 SVQ 2
4 National 4
Intermediate 1 (discontinued)
General Standard Grade (discontinued)
 SVQ 1
3 National 3
Access 3 (discontinued)
Foundation Standard Grade (discontinued)
2 National 2
Access 2 (discontinued)
1 National 1
Access 1 (discontinued)

See also


  1. "Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework". Scottish Qualifications Agency. Retrieved 27 August 2014.

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