Qualification category (QUALCAT)
|Part of||Qualification (Qualification)|
|Description||This field records the qualification category.|
|Applicable to||England Northern Ireland Scotland Wales|
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:
There is a summary of qualification levels in the UK and Ireland available from the QAA publication Qualifications can cross boundaries- a rough guide to comparing qualifications in the UK and Ireland.
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
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 research masters level and then a 3-year PhD. However the student is often intending to study the PhD from the outset, so it forms one coherent engagement of study.
In this example providers should return the following:
Access and Pathway codes
Codes C0009, J0012, H0019, M0023 and E0004 can only be used by Tier 4/Pathway providers.
|Quality Rules||Quality rules to follow|
|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.|
Contact Liaison by email or on +44 (0)1242 388 531.