Skip to main content

HESA Student Record 2007/08 - Course identifier

Back to C07051

HESA Student Record 2007/08

Fields required from institutions in Northern Ireland

Course identifier

return to field list
Short nameCOURSEID

This field records the institution's own unique internal identifier for the course. The Course identifier is the primary key for the Course entity and exists as a foreign key on Instance.

Applicable toEngland Northern Ireland Scotland Wales

All instances

Base data typeCOURSEIDType
Field length30
Part of
Minimum occurrences1
Maximum occurrences1
Related fields
Reason required

To facilitate linkage with the Instance entity.


Course identifiers will be allocated by the institution and should be unique for each course.

The term 'course' in this context relates to the combination of subject and qualification that defines what a student is aiming for and which are described in fields Course.COURSEAIM and CourseSubject.SBJCA.

The Course identifier links the course entity and the instance entity for the reporting period . There must be an entry in the course entity with a matching identifier in the instance entity to provide this link, and so give details about the student's study in the current year. Where a student changes course within an instance by changing either course aim (at the same level) or subject, the Course.COURSEID should be updated to reflect the course that is applicable at the end of the reporting period.

Where the student continues on the same course, the same COURSEID should be kept for all years of the course. It is intended that in the future for some onward uses data from the student record should be aggregated to allow publication at a Course level. For the UNISTATS (TQI) site, for example, information about entrants, continuation, outcomes and destinations will be published together. If the COURSEID is not consistent throughout the course it will not be possible to compile a complete set of statistics as relating to a single course. Course.CTITLE will not allow for this aggregation: it is a text field and not suitable for the necessary validation. From 2008/09, HESA will introduce a HIN validation warning when there is a HIN link but COURSEID changes.

Year-on-year linking will continue by the HIN mechanism.

Valid characters

The valid characterset available for this field has been defined by a specific study undertaken as a part of the MIAP Common Data Definitions (CDD) project. The conclusions of this study were:

  • The general policy is to support all Latin-based characters for names, addresses and general text fields, but not non-Latin characters.
  • All Unicode code charts for Latin characters are supported. These are Basic Latin (excluding the C0 control characters), Latin-1 (excluding the C1 control characters), Latin Extended A, Latin Extended B and Latin Extended Additional. This set corresponds to Unicode code points U+0020 to U+007F and U+00A0 to U+024F.
  • Schemas are built in such a way that an individual project can further restrict the set if required.

The character set chosen will support Welsh and Gaelic languages as well as all European and most other languages using a Latin-based character set.

The Unicode charts that list each of the characters in this range can be found on the Unicode web site. The specific sets that are defined here are shown in the following PDF documents:

Institutions are advised to specify the encoding used in their XML files (i.e. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>) and to ensure that their files are actually saved with that encoding. If XML files are edited with some text editors and the encoding is not specified or does not match the actual file encoding, there may be problems when submitting these files for validation.

Date modified2008-06-30
Change management notesNote added to highlight change in data type requirement and the need to specify file encoding
Business rules

This entry must exist in Course.COURSEID

Schema components
Data type: COURSEIDType

Contact Liaison by email or on +44 (0)1242 388 531.