What is the SCQF?

The SCQF is a way of comparing Scottish qualifications. It covers the qualifications you will achieve at school, college and university, and many qualifications you may go on to achieve at work. It does this by giving each qualification a level and credit points.

The level of a qualification shows how difficult the learning is. For example, one person may study a course at Intermediate 1 and another at Higher. Both qualifications have 24 SCQF credit points but have different levels of difficulty. The credit points show how much you need to learn to achieve that qualification.

What is it for?

The SCQF makes it easier to describe, compare and understand qualifications. Before the SCQF, there was no easy way to compare different qualifications. Now it is easy to see that, for example, an Intermediate 2 is at the same level as a Credit Standard Grade. Most Scottish universities and colleges now use SCQF levels and credit points to describe their courses.

The SCQF can:

• help you make the right learning choices and understand qualifications you are not familiar with;
• help employers understand different qualifications;
• help universities or colleges identify the level that you have studied in a particular subject; and
• recognise other areas of your learning that can help your personal development and goals for the future.

View our interactive framework diagram

The Framework diagram shows the main SQA qualifications studied at secondary schools in Scotland. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with some of the qualifications mentioned. You will learn more about them as you move through school.

You may be surprised to know that other types of learning that you might do in your school or youth club are included in the SCQF. See our database which hosts over 10.7K programmes of learning.

Other awards you may know:


Are SCQF credit points the same as UCAS tariff points?

SCQF credit points are not the same as UCAS tariff points. UCAS tariff points relate to the grades you have achieved. SCQF credits are a measure of how much you need to learn to achieve a qualification, no matter what grade you get.

Why does an ‘A’ at Higher get the same number of SCQF credit points as a ‘C’ at Higher?

Achievement Counts Guide
Download a copy of the Achievement Counts Guide

The number of SCQF credit points you’ve gained doesn’t change depending on your grade at any particular level. SCQF credits reflect how much learning you’ve done, not how well you’ve learned a subject.

Will my qualifications be recognised if I move abroad?

SCQF levels are now referenced against the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), so learning institutions and employers in Europe can easily compare your qualifications against their own country’s qualifications framework.

If I build up SCQF credit points, will I get into college or university?

Not directly, although SCQF credit points help admissions officers in colleges and universities know exactly how much learning you have done and at what level. The admissions officers still have other factors to consider, such as the subjects you studied and grades you achieved.

Will the SCQF help me to get a job?

Not directly, but it will help employers understand the level of difficulty of each qualification, as well as the number of credit points you have achieved as part of your personal development. As your career develops, any work-based qualifications you achieve may add to the number of credits you already have.

SCQF Credits and Levels are included in all SQA Exam Result Certificates. Watch this short video to find out what you can expect on results day.

Should you have any further questions relating to SCQF Credits or Levels please get in touch via email on info@scqf.org.uk Tel: 0845 270 7371 or connect with us on Twitter or Facebook