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The EQF and European Qualifications

posted by Matt on Monday, 22 January 2018

The European Qualifications Framework (EQF)

…and what that means for you as a learner with Oxbridge.

The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) is a way of mapping qualifications across EU member Countries. The EQF was officially adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in April 2008. The UK has completed the cross-referencing of its frameworks; the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).

The EQF is a common European reference framework which links countries’ qualifications systems together, acting as a translation device to make qualifications more readable and understandable across different countries and systems in Europe. It has two principal aims: to promote citizens’ mobility between countries and to facilitate their lifelong learning.

What are the benefits of using the EQF?

The EQF enables learners, learning providers and employers to compare qualifications between different Countries’ national qualifications systems.

This is thought to help increase mobility in the labour market within and between the countries because it makes it easy to determine a person’s level of qualification which in turn will improve the balance between demand and supply of knowledge and skills.

What levels and qualifications do the EQF cover?

The EQF is a lifelong learning framework and covers all types of qualifications ranging from those acquired at the end of compulsory education (Level 1) to the highest qualifications such as Doctorate (Level 8 in the QCF and Level 12 in the SCQF).

The framework also includes vocational qualifications. Just like the RQF, the EQF consists of 8 levels which indicate the difficulty level and the EQF (as are both the RQF and SCQF) is focused on the outcome of learning and the person’s actual knowledge and skills rather than the amount of study needed to complete the qualification programme.

EQF Comparison Table

EQF Level 8 RQF Level 8 SCQF Level 12
Vocational Qualifications Level 8 Doctoral Degrees
Professional Development Awards
EQF Level 7 RQF Level 7 SCQF Level 11
Masters Degrees
Post Graduate Diploma
Post Graduate Certificate
Professional Development Awards
EQF Level 6 RQF Level 6 SCQF Level 10
Vocational Qualifications Level 6 Honours Degree
Graduate Certificate / Diploma
Professional Development Awards
SCQF Level 9
Bachelors/Ordinary Degree
Graduate Certificate / Diploma
Professional Development Awards
EQF Level 5 RQF Level 5 SCQF Level 8
Level 5 Vocational Qualifications Higher National Diplomas
Higher National Diplomas (HND) Diploma of Higher Education
Professional Development Awards
RQF Level 4 SCQF Level 7
Level 4 Vocational Qualifications Advanced Higher
Higher National Certificate (HNC) Higher National Certificates
Certificate of Higher Education
Professional Development Awards
EQF Level 4 RQF Level 3 SCQF Level 6
GCE AS and A Level Higher
National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) Level 3 National Certificates
Functional Skills Level 3 (England only) National Progression Awards
Professional Development Awards
EQF Level 3 RQF Level 2 SCQF Level 5
GCSEs Grades A*-C Intermediate 2
Higher Diploma (England only) Standard Grade � Credit
National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) Level 2 National Certificates
Functional Skills at Level 2 (England only) National Progression Awards
Essential Skills at Level 2 (Northern Ireland only) SVQ 2
EQF Level 2 RQF Level 1 SCQF Level 4
GCSEs Grades G – D Intermediate 1
Foundation Diploma (England only) Standard Grade – General
National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) Level 1 National Certificates
Functional Skills Level 1 (England only) National Progression Awards
EQF Level 1 Entry Level 3 SCQF Level 3
Access 3
Standard Grade – Foundation
National Certificates
National Progression Awards