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Student 2021/22 - Course identifier

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Student 2021/22

Fields required from institutions in All fields

Course identifier

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Short nameCOURSEID

This field records the provider'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 courses


Course identifiers will be allocated by the provider 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. HESA uses a validation warning when there is a UKPRN-HUSID-NUMHUS (UHN) link but COURSEID changes.

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

Valid characters

The valid characterset available for this field follows the Data Standards in the HESA student record.

  • 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+007E, U+00A0 to U+024F and U+1E00 to U+1EFF.
  • 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:

Files must be encoded with UTF-8 and schema validation will be in place to ensure this. Providers must specify the encoding used in their XML files in the first line of the file (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.

Quality rules
Quality rules to follow
Reason required To facilitate linkage with the Instance entity.
Part of
Field length30
Minimum occurrences1
Maximum occurrences1
Schema components
Data type: COURSEIDType

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