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02 March 2021

What is a SCQF Level?

All courses at Edinburgh College have a Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) level. Here’s a quick guide on SCQF levels, what they stand for and how you know what level is best for you.

What does SCQF stand for?

SCQF stands for Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework. It provides a way of comparing qualifications to help you understand them and make a better choice in your learning. SCQF levels are used for college courses, Highers and National 5s at school and apprenticeships.

Learn more about the framework on the SCQF website.

What are credit points?

The first element of SCQF is credit points. These indicate how much learning has been achieved and how demanding the learning will be. It is also an indicator of how much time it takes to complete a qualification. Put simply, one credit = 10 hours of learning. Therefore, the number of credits a course has refers to the amount of learning that is involved.

Each qualification will give you credits, and the number of credits you have will determine what course you can do next. To find out how many credits you have, visit the SCQF database.

What do SCQF levels mean?

The second element of SCQF is the level, which helps to indicate the difficulty and complexity of a course. There are 12 levels, ranging from Access courses at level 1 to Doctorate at level 12.

National 5 courses start at level 3 and go up to level 5, depending on the difficulty of the course. Highers are at level 6, with HNC at level 7 and HND at level 8. The SQA have created a handy table to show which qualification is at which level.

To put into a real life example, if you didn’t study Highers at school, it may be best for you to start below level 6. If you have studied Highers, then you might be ready to start an HNC at level 7. However, this can depend on other factors such as credit points gained and additional work or life experience.

Advice on SCQF levels

If you’re still not sure what SCQF level is right for you, you can talk to our Course Information team who will be able to guide you in the right direction. You can email the team at