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Code of Practice

UK NARIC Band Framework

The structure, purpose and outcomes of international qualifications vary widely. No direct equivalence between awards is possible; UK NARIC instead focuses on comparisons.

Once UK NARIC reaches a recognition decision about the comparable UK level of an international qualification, we then identify the closest UK counterpart qualification(s).

Both comparable levels and comparable qualifications are referenced in our Statements of Comparability.

The UK NARIC Band Framework © is a hierarchical set of outcomes, with 16 Bands, designed to provide maximum differentiation and detail in comparing qualifications.

The Bands reference existing qualifications in the UK and also the established qualification frameworks. This is shown in the table below.

The Band Framework therefore acts as a translation mechanism for international qualifications – illustrating comparable level, and the types of UK qualification to which the international award best compares.

Band 0

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Entry Levels 1-2 / SCQF Levels 1-2 / CQFW Entry Levels 1-2
Comparable UK Qualification(s) RQF/CQFW Entry level 1-2 Certificates / Functional Skills Awards / SQA National 1-2 Courses / SQA Awards at SCQF level 1-2

Vocational

UK Framework Levels RQF Entry Levels 1-2 / SCQF Levels 1-2 / CQFW Entry Levels 1-2
Comparable UK Qualification(s) RQF/CQFW Entry Level 1-2 Award/Certificate/Diploma / SQA National Certificate at SCQF level 2 / SQA National Progression Award at SCQF level 2

Occupational

UK Framework Levels RQF Entry Levels 1-3 / SCQF Levels 1-3 / CQFW Entry Levels 1-3
Comparable UK Qualification(s) RQF/CQFW Entry Level 1-3 Award/Certificate/Diploma / SQA National Certificate at SCQF level 1-3 / SQA National Progression Award at SCQF level 1-3

Framework

UK Framework Levels RQF Entry Levels 1-3 / SCQF Levels 1-3 / CQFW Entry Levels 1-3
Comparable UK Qualification(s) No direct comparison

[For qualifications lower in standard, ‘No Comparability’ statement applies.]


Band 1

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Entry Level 3 / SCQF Level 3 / CQFW Entry Level 3
Comparable UK Qualification(s) RQF/CQFW Entry level 3 Certificates / Functional Skills Awards / SQA National 3 Courses / SQA Awards at SCQF level 3

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Entry Levels 1-3 / SCQF Levels 1-3 / CQFW Entry Levels 1-3
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Below GCSE

Vocational

UK Framework Levels RQF Entry Level 3 / SCQF Level 3 / CQFW Entry Level 3
Comparable UK Qualification(s) RQF/CQFW Entry Level 3 Award/Certificate/Diploma / SQA National Certificate at SCQF level 3 / SQA National Progression Award at SCQF level 3

Band 2

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 1 / SCQF Level 4 / CQFW Level 1
Comparable UK Qualification(s) GCSE (grades D-G / 3-1) / Scottish National 4 / Foundation Welsh Baccalaureate
Further Consideration(s) English and Maths are graded on a 9 (highest) to 1 scale, with 3-1 representing an equivalent level of performance to the grades D-G.

Vocational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 1 / SCQF Level 4 / CQFW Level 1
Comparable UK Qualification(s) BTEC Level 1 Certificate / Diploma / Scottish National 4

Occupational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 1 / SCQF Level 4 / CQFW Level 1
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Level 1 NVQ / SVQ Level 1

Framework

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 1 / SCQF Level 4 / CQFW Level 1
Comparable UK Qualification(s) No direct comparison

Band 3

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 2 / SCQF Level 5 / CQFW Level 2
Comparable UK Qualification(s) GCSE (grades A*-C / 9-4) / Scottish National 5 (grades A-C) [1] / Intermediate Welsh Baccalaureate
Further Consideration(s) Depending upon the pass mark and whether English is studied as a first language, individual subjects may be considered directly comparable to their UK counterparts. English and Maths are graded on a 9 (highest) to 1 scale, with 9-4 representing an equivalent level of performance to the grades A*-C.

Vocational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 2 / SCQF Level 5 / CQFW Level 2
Comparable UK Qualification(s) BTEC Firsts / SQA National Certificate at SCQF Level 5 / SQA National Progression Award at SCQF Level 5

Occupational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 2 / SCQF Level 5 / CQFW Level 2
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Level 2 NVQ / SVQ Level 2

Framework

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 2 / SCQF Level 5 / CQFW Level 2
Comparable UK Qualification(s) No direct comparison

Band 4

Academic

UK Framework Levels Between RQF Level 2 / SCQF Level 5 / CQFW Level 2 and RQF Level 3 / SCQF Level 6 / CQFW Level 3
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Between GCSE and GCE AS level

Vocational

UK Framework Levels Between RQF Level 2 / SCQF Level 5 / CQFW Level 2 and RQF Level 3 / SCQF Level 6 / CQFW Level 3
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Between BTEC First and BTEC National qualifications / SQA National Certificate at SCQF Levels 5 and 6 / SQA National Progression Award at SCQF Levels 5 and 6

Occupational

UK Framework Levels Between RQF Level 2 / SCQF Level 5 / CQFW Level 2 and RQF Level 3 / SCQF Level 6 / CQFW Level 3
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Between Levels 2 and 3 NVQ / Between SVQ Levels 2 and 3

Band 5

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 3 / SCQF Level 6 / CQFW Level 3
Comparable UK Qualification(s) GCE Advanced Subsidiary (AS) level / Scottish Higher

Vocational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 3 / SCQF Level 6 / CQFW Level 3
Comparable UK Qualification(s) BTEC National Certificate / Extended Certificate / Foundation Diploma / Scottish Higher / SQA National Certificate at SCQF Level 6 / SQA National Progression Award at SCQF Level 6

Occupational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 3 / SCQF Level 6 / CQFW Level 3
Comparable UK Qualification(s) RQF/CQFW Level 3 Awards/Certificates / SQA Professional Development Award at SCQF Level 6 / SQA Awards at SCQF Level 6

Band 6

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 3 / SCQF Level 6-7 / CQFW Level 3
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Overall standard of GCE Advanced (A) level / Scottish Advanced Higher / Scottish Baccalaureate / Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate
Further Consideration(s) Due to the scope of subject coverage, it may not be possible to compare individual subjects to their UK counterparts. In this scenario, passed subjects can be considered at least comparable to GCSE (grades A*-C) / Scottish National 5 (grades A-C).

Vocational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 3 / SCQF Level 6-7 / CQFW Level 3
Comparable UK Qualification(s) BTEC National Diploma / Extended Diploma

Occupational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 3 / SCQF Level 6-7 / CQFW Level 3
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Level 3 NVQ / SVQ Level 3 / SQA Professional Development Award at SCQF Levels 6 and 7

Framework

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 3 / SCQF Level 6-7 / CQFW Level 3
Comparable UK Qualification(s) No direct comparison

Band 7

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 4 / SCQF Level 7 / CQFW Level 4
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE)

Vocational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 4 / SCQF Level 7 / CQFW Level 4
Comparable UK Qualification(s) BTEC Level 4 / SQA Higher National Certificate (HNC) (SCQF Level 7)

Occupational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 4 / SCQF Level 7 / CQFW Level 4
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Level 4 NVQ / SQA Professional Development Award at SCQF Level 7

Framework

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 4 / SCQF Level 7 / CQFW Level 4
Comparable UK Qualification(s) No direct comparison

Band 8

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 5 / SCQF Level 8 / CQFW Level 5
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)

Vocational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 5 / SCQF Level 8 / CQFW Level 5
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Foundation degree / BTEC Level 5 / SQA Higher National Diploma (HND) (SCQF level 8)

Occupational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 5 / SCQF Level 8 / CQFW Level 5
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Level 5 NVQ / SVQ Level 4 / SQA Professional Development Award at SCQF level 8

Framework

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 5 / SCQF Level 8 / CQFW Level 5
Comparable UK Qualification(s) No direct comparison

Band 9

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 6 / SCQF Level 9 / CQFW Level 6
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Bachelor (Ordinary) degree [2]

Vocational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 6 / SCQF Level 9 / CQFW Level 6
Comparable UK Qualification(s) RQF/CQFW Level 6 Diploma / SQA Professional Development Award at SCQF Level 9

Occupational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 6 / SCQF Level 9 / CQFW Level 6
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Level 6 NVQ / SVQ Level 4 / SQA Professional Development Award at SCQF Level 9

Framework

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 6 / SCQF Level 9 / CQFW Level 6
Comparable UK Qualification(s) No direct comparison

Band 10

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 6 / SCQF Level 10 / CQFW Level 6
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Bachelor (Honours) degree [3]

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 6 / SCQF Level 10 / CQFW Level 6
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Bachelor degree

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 6 / SCQF Level 10 / CQFW Level 6
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Graduate Certificate / Graduate Diploma

Vocational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 6 / SCQF Level 10 / CQFW Level 6
Comparable UK Qualification(s) RQF/CQFW Level 6 Diploma / SQA Professional Development Award at SCQF Level 10

Occupational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 6 / SCQF Level 10 / CQFW Level 6
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Level 6 NVQ / SQA Professional Development Awards at SCQF Level 10

Framework

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 6 / SCQF Level 10 / CQFW Level 6
Comparable UK Qualification(s) No direct comparison

Band 11

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 7 / SCQF Level 11 / CQFW Level 7
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Postgraduate Certificate

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 7 / SCQF Level 11 / CQFW Level 7
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Postgraduate Diploma

Vocational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 7 / SCQF Level 11 / CQFW Level 7
Comparable UK Qualification(s) RQF/CQFW Level 7 Diploma / SQA Professional Development Award at SCQF Level 11

Occupational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 7 / SCQF Level 11 / CQFW Level 7
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Level 7 NVQ / SVQ Level 5

Band 12

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 7 / SCQF Level 11 / CQFW Level 7
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Master's degree

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 7 / SCQF Level 11 / CQFW Level 7
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Integrated Master's degree (e.g. MEng, MChem, MPhys, MPharm, MArch)

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 7 / SCQF Level 11 / CQFW Level 7
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Primary (or first) qualifications in medicine, (e.g. BM BS), dentistry (e.g. BDS) and veterinary science (e.g. BVSc)

Vocational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 7 / SCQF Level 11 / CQFW Level 7
Comparable UK Qualification(s)

Occupational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 7 / SCQF Level 11 / CQFW Level 7
Comparable UK Qualification(s)

Framework

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 7 / SCQF Level 11 / CQFW Level 7
Comparable UK Qualification(s) No direct comparison

Band 13

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 7 / SCQF Level 11 / CQFW Level 7
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Master of Philosophy degree (MPhil) / Master of Research (MRes)

Vocational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 7 / SCQF Level 11 / CQFW Level 7
Comparable UK Qualification(s)

Occupational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 7 / SCQF Level 11 / CQFW Level 7
Comparable UK Qualification(s)

Band 14

Academic

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 8 / SCQF Level 12 / CQFW Level 8
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD)

Vocational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 8 / SCQF Level 12 / CQFW Level 8
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Professional Doctorate (e.g. EdD, DClinPsy, DBA)

Occupational

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 8 / SCQF Level 12 / CQFW Level 8
Comparable UK Qualification(s) RQF/CQFW Level 8 Diploma / SQA Professional Development Award at SCQF level 12

Framework

UK Framework Levels RQF Level 8 / SCQF Level 12 / CQFW Level 8
Comparable UK Qualification(s) No direct comparison

Band 15

Academic

UK Framework Levels N/A
Comparable UK Qualification(s) Post Doctoral award (e.g. DD, LLD, LittD, MedScD, SD)

No Comparability

UK Framework Levels N/A
Comparable UK Qualification(s) No Comparability

Footnotes

[1] A Scottish National 5 grade D is also considered a SCQF Level 5 qualification.

[2] This level also encompasses the Scottish Master's (Ordinary) degrees as awarded at Scottish Ancient Universities.

[3] This level also encompasses the Scottish Master's (Honours) degree standard as awarded at Scottish Ancient universities and the Master of Arts (Honours) awarded by Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

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