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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

Qualifications Frameworks

​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies (Qualifications Frameworks) are part of the Quality Code - Part A: Setting and Maintaining Academic Standards. 

There is one framework for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and a separate one for Scotland. Both are combined in the one publication.

The Qualifications Frameworks describe the achievement represented by higher education qualifications. They apply to degrees, diplomas, certificates and other academic awards granted by a higher education provider with degree awarding powers.

For reviews from August 2015

The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies (Qualifications Frameworks)

For reviews until August 2015

The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ) 
The Framework for Qualifications of Higher Education Institutions in Scotland (F​QHEIS)

The FQHEIS forms part of the wider Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (opens in new window).​​

UK qualifications in ​Europe

A Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education ​Area (FQ-EHEA) (PDF, 22 KB) (opens in new window), set up through the Bologna Process, provides a mechanism for relating the qualifications frameworks of different European countries to each other. This assists in the recognition of qualifications from different countries and promotes mobility of learners and graduates across Europe.

We have verified that t​he UK Qualifications Frameworks are compatible with this European framework. The following documents provide further details.

Verification of the Compatibility of the FHEQ ​with the FQ-EHEA (PDF 507 KB)

The Bologna Process in Higher Education: Compatibility of t​he FHEQ with the FQ-EHEA (PDF, 47 KB)

Verification of Comp​atibility of the FQHEIS with the FQ-EHEA: Report of the Scottish Working Group (PDF 592 KB)

The Bologna Process in Higher Education: Compatibility of the FQHEIS with the European Higher Education Area​ (PDF 102 KB)

Other referen​ce points​

Qualifications Can Cross Boundaries: Guide to Comparing Qualifications in the UK and Ireland  (PDF, 441 KB)

Description of Higher Education Qualifications in Eng​land, Wales and Northern Ireland (PDF, 4​35 KB)​​​​​
Please note that the regulatory landscape for England is changing in 2017-18; Northern Ireland will make a decision about participation in some of those changes. This description will be updated once full details of the new approach are available. The regulatory landscape in Wales has changed and the descriptor will be updated to reflect those changes. There is a separate descriptor for Scotland. For further information in the meantime, please contact QAA.