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Updated edition of The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies published

Date: February 21 - 2024

QAA has published the second edition of The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies. This edition includes minor contextual updates which take account of the many changes made to the UK's quality arrangements since the QAA's Frameworks document was first published in 2014.

The main elements of The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications of Degree-Awarding Bodies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ) and The Framework for Qualifications of Higher Education Institutions in Scotland (FQHEIS) remain unchanged. 

The guidance within the document has been updated to reflect regulatory developments in the sector, the aim of the updated guidance being to support providers using the frameworks. Each framework sets out a table of qualification levels and describes the general achievement expected of holders of the main qualification type at each of the levels.

The qualification level descriptors have not changed. Descriptors of the four main degree outcome classifications for undergraduate honours degrees have now been included within the document for the first time, detailing the general levels of skills, attributes, knowledge and behaviours expected at the level of each degree classification.

In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, degree-awarding bodies are required to use the relevant framework(s) in setting and maintaining academic standards. When awarding qualifications, they are expected to ensure that the requirements of the relevant frameworks are met. Providers in England are of course very welcome to continue making use of these frameworks, while those registered with the Office for Students (OfS) are required to comply with the condition of registration that sets out sector-recognised standards.

This updated edition also sees the document being made available in the Welsh language for the first time.

‘This updated edition of the higher education frameworks is the product of several years of work and discussion,’ says QAA's Quality & Standards Manager, Dr Andy Smith. ‘We're so grateful to everyone who's supported the development of this document, as it continues to provide clear and useful support and guidance on qualification thresholds for providers across the sector.’