Qualification category(QUALCAT)


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Key

Value

Name
Qualification category
Short Name
QUALCAT
Parent Entity
TypeField
Applicable To
England Northern Ireland Scotland Wales
Coverage

All Qualification entities

Description
This field records the qualification category.
Notes

Please note the valid entry codes are in alphabetical order.

This field collects the level and type of the qualification being returned.

Where a Course potentially leads to two or more qualifications, return the qualification that is the highest level.

Please note the valid entry codes are in alphabetical order. 

This field collects the level and type of the qualification being returned. 

Where a Course potentially leads to two or more qualifications, return the qualification that is the highest level. 

Overall framework and alignment with existing frameworks 

The first character of the valid entries in the coding frame indicate the level of the qualification. The table below shows how these levels map to the following qualifications frameworks: 

 

HESA levelCQFWFHEQOfSSCQFResearch/Taught
D88812Research
E88812Taught
L77711Research
M77711Taught
H66610 
I5/65/65/69
J5558
C4447
P3  6

 

Guidance on specific valid entries

M0002 Integrated undergraduate/postgraduate masters degree on the enhanced/extended pattern

Such masters degrees comprise an integrated programme of study spanning several years. While the final outcomes of the qualifications meet the expectations for level M in full, these integrated qualifications have an additional period of study at lower levels (typically level H).

M0006 Post-experience taught Masters degree

Post-experience implies a period of at least two years relevant work experience as a pre-requisite for entry to the programme leading to the qualification. Do not use this code simply because a qualification is being taken post-experience.

M0007 Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Use this code rather than M0006 for post-experience MBA.

H0003 UK first degree with honours

This could be an MA in Scotland

P0002

Valid entries at HESA level P should only be returned for qualifications being awarded to students where they have been awarded an FE level qualification having aimed for an HE level qualification. Students aiming for FE qualifications only are not within the coverage for the HESA Student Return.

Research based higher degree

A research-based higher degree is a postgraduate programme comprising a research component (including a requirement to produce original work) that is larger than any accompanying taught component when measured by student effort. The arrangements for assuring and maintaining the academic standards and enhancing the quality of these programmes should be fully compliant with chapter B11 (Research degrees) of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education's 'UK Quality Code for Higher Education'.

Some specialist doctoral degrees, such as Doctor of Education (EdD) and Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsychol), may include a research component but also include significant taught components and supervised practice. These degrees do not generally require the student to produce the same amount of original research as a PhD. Students registered for a specialist doctoral degree should only be included as research students if they satisfy both criteria of having a larger research element than taught and compliance with chapter B11 in the above referenced document.

It is common for students to follow a 1+3 pattern to their study, where the first year is a masters level and then a 3-year PhD. However, if the student is intending to study the PhD from the outset so it forms one coherent engagement of study, the level D qualification should be returned for all years.

Where a student is studying a research based higher degree at level L (L0000) and the programme allows progression to a PhD but the qualification outcome is not yet known, this field should record the current level of study with the intended final level of study (D or L).

For example, for a programme described as "MPhil with possibility to transfer to PhD" where the normal pattern is that they will progress to a PhD, providers should return the following:

Year 1: QUALCAT = L0000, STUDYINTENTION = D0003

Year 2-4: QUALCAT = D0003

Access and Pathway codes

Codes C0009, J0012, H0019, M0023 and E0004 can only be used by Tier 4/Pathway providers.

Architecture courses

Specific codes should be used for courses leading to registration with the Architects Registration Board. Use code H0003 for Part 1 (even if your assessment of the course is that it is at another level, such as level I). For parts 2 and 3, use the appropriate code to indicate the level of course as assessed by the provider (H0016 or M0021). For integrated courses that span parts 1 and 2, use code M0002. 

For providers in England, where students on Part 2 are subject to different student support regimes, two separate courses must be returned. 

Reason Required
To record the qualification students are aiming for, to establish the level that students are studying at, to group Students and Leavers for analysis.
Field Length
5
Quality RulesQuality Rules to follow
Minimum Occurrence
1
Maximum Occurrence
1
Primary Key?
False
Valid Values
CodeCoding Frame Label
C0000Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE)
C0001Higher National Certificate (HNC)
C0002Diploma at level C
C0003Certificate at level C
C0004National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) at level C
C0005Level 4 Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector
C0006Level 4 Certificate in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector
C0007Other qualification at level C
C0008Credits at level C
C0009Access course or pathway programme at level 4
D0003Doctorate degree that meets the criteria for a research-based higher degree
D0004Credits at level D
D0005Studying at level D, with formal or informal credit
E0000Doctorate degree that does not meet the criteria for a research-based higher degree
E0001National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) at level E
E0002Highly specialist diploma from a professional body
E0003Credits at level E
E0004Access course or pathway programme at level 8
E0005Studying at level E, with formal or informal credit
H0003First degree with honours
H0004First degree with honours on the enhanced/extended pattern but at level H
H0005First degree with honours and diploma
H0006Diploma at level H
H0007Certificate at level H
H0008National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) at level H
H0009Postgraduate bachelors degree at level H
H0010Graduate diploma/certificate at level H
H0012Professional qualification at level H other than a first degree with honours
H0013Professional Graduate Certificate in Education
H0014Professional qualification at level H for serving schoolteachers other than a first degree with honours
H0015Level 6 Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector
H0016Other qualification at level H
H0018Credits at level H
H0019Access course or pathway programme at level 6
H0020Studying at level H with formal or informal credit
I0001Ordinary (non-honours) first degree
I0002Graduate diploma/certificate at level I
I0004Professional qualification at level I other than an ordinary (non-honours) first degree
I0005Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)/registration with a General Teaching Council (GTC) only
I0006Professional qualification at level I for serving schoolteachers
I0007Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) only
I0008Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (DET)
I0009Level 5 Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector
I0010Other qualification at level I
I0012Credits at level I
I0013Studying at level I, with formal or informal credit
J0000Foundation degree
J0001Foundation degree which on completion meets entry requirement for pre-registration health and social care qualification
J0002Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
J0003Higher National Diploma (HND)
J0004Diploma at level J
J0005Certificate at level J
J0006National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) at level J
J0007Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) 4
J0010Other qualification at level J
J0011Credits at level J
J0012Access course or pathway programme at level 5
L0000Masters degree that meets the criteria for a research-based higher degree
L0001Other postgraduate qualification at level L that meets the criteria for a research-based higher degree
L0002Credits at level L
L0003Studying at level L, with formal or informal credit
M0002Integrated undergraduate/postgraduate taught masters degree on the enhanced/extended pattern
M0003Masters degree that does not meet the criteria for a research-based higher degree
M0004Taught masters degree designed specifically as a training in research methods and intended as a preparation for a research-based higher degree
M0006Post-experience taught masters degree
M0007Master of Business Administration (MBA)
M0008Fellowship at level M
M0009Diploma at level M
M0010Advanced professional certificate at level M
M0011National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) at level M
M0012Certificate at level M
M0013Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) 5
M0015Professional taught qualification at level M other than a masters degree
M0016Postgraduate Certificate in Education or Professional Graduate Diploma in Education
M0017Post-registration education qualification at level M other than a masters degree for serving schoolteachers
M0018Postgraduate Diploma in Education
M0020Level 7 Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector
M0021Other taught qualification at level M
M0022Credits at level M
M0023Access course or pathway programme at level 7
M0024Studying at level M, with formal or informal credit
P0002Award at level 3
Revision History
Coding Manual VersionElement VersionNotes
1.2.01.1Notes updated to clarify Research based higher degree guidance.
1.3.01.2Guidance notes updated to clarify specific codes to be used for Architecture courses. Update to guidance notes to confirm that valid entries are in alphabetical order.
1.5.01.3Guidance notes updated to include RQF: Regulated Qualification Framework (in England).
1.5.11.4Table and guidance notes updated from RQF to the OfS sector-recognised standards. HESA level I updated to include level 6 due to ordinary degrees being treated as level 6 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.