What is the SCQF?


  • is Scotland’s lifelong learning Framework;
  • can help you and employers understand and compare the wide range of Scottish qualifications;
  • clearly shows that qualifications have the same worth, regardless of the route taken; and
  • has 12 levels (the learning programmes become more difficult as SCQF levels increase).

The SCQF covers achievements such as those from school, college, university, youth programmes and many work-based qualifications. It does this by giving each qualification a level and a number of credit points.

The level of a qualification shows how difficult the learning is. The credit points show how much learning is involved in achieving that qualification. Each credit point represents 10 hours of learning.

All Scottish universities and colleges are now using SCQF levels and credit points to describe their courses, if these are included on the Framework. SCQF levels and credit points are also listed on the Scottish Qualifications Certificate issued by SQA every August.

A wide range of other learning, such as Youth Achievement Awards, is also being recognised using the SCQF.

Some employers are using SCQF levels instead of, or as well as, types of qualification when they advertise jobs.

Understanding the level of the learning you’ve achieved

You might be studying or about to study an HNC, an HND, a degree or an SVQ. Have a look at our Interactive Framework to see where these sit on the SCQF.

Recognising all of the learning you’ve achieved

There are lots of learning programmes recognised on the SCQF that you might undertake in the workplace or in your spare time and it’s important that you include these in your CV.

Search our database for details of these programmes. It’s easy to use!

Equality of qualifications

The SCQF promotes equality of qualifications. For instance, a Certificate in Youth Counselling owned by the Institute of Counselling sits at level 8 on the SCQF which is the same level as an HND, a Diploma of Higher Education or a Higher Apprenticeship.

They might be very different types of learning but you still have to use the same level of skills to achieve them. This is why it’s really important to include all the learning you’ve achieved on your CV and remember to include the SCQF level.

Useful Resources

Framework diagram

Shows the mainstream Scottish qualifications that SQA, colleges and universities have given an SCQF level and credit points to.

Realising Your Potential – info for post-school learners

A guide to the SCQF for lifelong learners.

Old V New

Useful resource to help you compare qualifications from the 1960s through to today. This handy little table shows how current and old qualifications relate to one another in terms of their SCQF level. 

Qualifications Can Cross Boundaries

Useful resource to help you compare qualifications across the UK & Republic of Ireland.


List of frequently asked questions for a range of audiences.

Video – Jon’s story

Find out how Jon changed careers after an injury inspired him to become a nurse.

Video – Steven’s story

Steven left a full-time job to go back into education to follow his dream.

Video – Amanda’s story

Amanda received conditional offers for University but failed her exams because of nerves. Watch to see the alternate path she has taken using the SCQF to achieve her ambitions.