Characteristics Statements

Characteristics Statements describe the distinctive features of qualifications at particular levels within the Qualifications Frameworks. They describe the qualifications in terms of their purpose, general characteristics and generic outcomes, but do not include subject level detail.


These documents are currently being updated to bring them in line with the new Quality Code. Updated versions will be available on this page in due course.


Doctoral Degree Characteristics Statement

Publication Date: 10 Sep 2015

This document is a Qualifications Characteristics Statement for doctoral degrees. It describes the distinctive features of doctoral degrees in the UK. Characteristics Statements are closely linked to The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies (the Qualifications Frameworks). They complement and contextualise the information provided within the Qualifications Frameworks, providing more detail about the distinctive features of qualifications at particular levels of the frameworks and/or of qualifications at any level, which are awarded in a particular way. This latest version becomes a reference point for the purposes of QAA reviews conducted from 1 August 2016. The previous edition of the Statement continues to apply to reviews conducted before 1 August 2016.

Document Details
Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 413 KB

Foundation Degree Characteristics Statement

Publication Date: 10 Sep 2015

This document is a Qualifications Characteristics Statement for foundation degrees. It describes the distinctive features of foundation degrees in the UK.

Document Details
Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 193 KB

Master's Degree Characteristics Statement

Publication Date: 10 Sep 2015

This document is a Qualifications Characteristics Statement for master's degrees. It describes the distinctive features of master's degrees in the UK. Characteristics Statements are closely linked to The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies (the Qualifications Frameworks). They complement and contextualise the information provided within the Qualifications Frameworks, providing more detail about the distinctive features of qualifications at particular levels of the frameworks and/or of qualifications at any level, which are awarded in a particular way. This latest version becomes a reference point for the purposes of QAA reviews conducted from 1 August 2016. The previous edition of the Statement continues to apply to reviews conducted before 1 August 2016.​​​

Document Details
Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 260 KB

Qualifications Involving More Than One Degree-Awarding Body

Publication Date: 03 Oct 2015

This document is a Qualifications Characteristics Statement for qualifications involving more than one degree-awarding body. It describes the distinctive features of these types of awards.

Document Details
Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 304 KB

Other Resources

Quality Assuring Higher Education in Apprenticeships: Current Approaches

Publication Date: 13 Jul 2018

This document describes how expectations relating to the quality assurance of higher education, as set out in the UK Quality Code for Higher Education, accommodate and apply to existing and emerging UK models of apprenticeships involving higher education qualifications at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Document Details
Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 770 KB

This document is also available in Welsh


 

Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education: Guidance for UK Higher Education Providers

Publication Date: 11 Apr 2018

The purpose of this document is to capture the impact of QAA’s 2012 guidance on Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and to provide a future roadmap for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education.

Document Details
Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 1014 KB

Guides for Higher Education Providers for Effective Practice in Examining and Assessing in a Language other than the Language of Tuition

Publication Date: 22 Jan 2018

The purpose of this guide is to promote effective practical arrangements for providers to reflect the 12th Indicator of good practice of Chapter B6 of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education (Quality Code): degree-awarding bodies assure themselves that the standards of their awards are not compromised as a result of conducting assessment in a language other than English.

Document Details
Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 47 KB

​Qualifications Can Cross Boundaries: Guide to Comparing Qualifications in the UK and Ireland

Publication Date: 08 Jun 2017

Document Details
Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 919 KB

Contracting to Cheat in Higher Education - How to Address Contract Cheating, the Use of Third-Party Services and Essay Mills

Publication Date: 09 Oct 2017

​This guidance sets out best practice around promoting academic integrity in higher education, through tackling students' use of third parties' services in order to cheat. It covers the use of essay mills and other forms of contract cheating. It describes the issues, and sets out the steps providers can take to deal with these.

Document Details
Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 486 KB

Plagiarism in Higher Education - Custom essay writing services: an exploration and next steps for the UK higher education sector

Publication Date: 20 Aug 2016

​This report explores the growing threat to UK higher education from custom essay writing services, or ‘essay mills’. It looks at how these services operate, gives examples from their websites, and highlights the claims they make, in particular their guarantees of being ‘plagiarism free’. It also includes a series of recommendations and specific actions QAA will take to begin to tackle the promotion and use of custom essay writing services.

Document Details
Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 208 KB

Education for sustainable development: Guidance for UK higher education providers

Publication Date: 05 Jun 2014

This new guidance is intended to support higher education providers wishing to embrace education for sustainable development as part of the student academic experience. The guidance is intended to complement the Quality Code but does not form an explicit part of it.

Document Details
Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 344 KB

Explaining contact hours: Guidance for institutions providing public information about higher education in the UK

Publication Date: 11 Aug 2011

This guidance reflects how approaches to teaching, learning and assessment - including contact time - vary across subjects and across higher education institutions in the UK, and encourages institutions to communicate this information to students. It is primarily aimed at higher education institutions in England but may be of interest to staff and students in higher education across the UK.

Document Details
Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 578 KB

Contact hours: a guide for students

Publication Date: 11 Aug 2011

A student guide to contact hours. In higher education, the term 'contact hours' is used very broadly, to refer to the amount of time that you spend learning in contact with teaching or associated staff, when studying for a particular course.

Document Details
Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 516 KB