Academic standards are benchmarks for the award of academic credit and qualifications. Providers with degree awarding powers (known as degree awarding bodies) set and maintain these standards. Part A covers what is expected of providers when they do this. It also identifies the relevant UK and European frameworks, statements and reference points. It explains how they relate to each other and how they provide a context for checking the quality of the standards. 


Quality Code: Part A

Publication Date: 31 Oct 2013

Part A of the Quality Code explains how academic standards are set and maintained for higher education qualifications in the UK.

Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 375 KB

Key Resources


Qualifications Framework


The Qualification Frameworks set out the different levels of higher education qualifications and the requirements for each of these. There is one framework for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and a separate one for Scotland. Both are combined in one publication. 


The Frameworks for HE Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies

Publication Date: 03 Nov 2014

The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies provide important reference points for higher education providers, assisting them in setting and maintaining academic standards. The frameworks are central to the Expectation in Chapter A1: The National Level of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education that degree-awarding bodies use external UK and European reference points to secure threshold academic standards across the higher education sector. The framework document will become a reference point for the purpose of reviews carried out by QAA from August 2015.

Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 246 KB

Credit

Framework


The Credit Framework provides guidance on how to use credit when designing programmes that lead to higher education qualifications.


Higher education credit framework for England

Publication Date: 15 Aug 2008

​The higher education credit framework provides guidance on the use of credit in the design of programmes leading to the main higher education qualifications awarded in England.

Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 245 KB

Characteristics Statements


Characteristics Statements describe the distinctive features of qualifications at particular levels within the Qualifications Frameworks. They describe the qualifications in terms of their purpose, general characteristics and generic outcomes, but do not include subject level detail.


Doctoral Degree Characteristics Statement

Publication Date: 10 Sep 2015

This document is a Qualifications Characteristics Statement for doctoral degrees. It describes the distinctive features of doctoral degrees in the UK. Characteristics Statements are closely linked to The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies (the Qualifications Frameworks). They complement and contextualise the information provided within the Qualifications Frameworks, providing more detail about the distinctive features of qualifications at particular levels of the frameworks and/or of qualifications at any level, which are awarded in a particular way. This latest version becomes a reference point for the purposes of QAA reviews conducted from 1 August 2016. The previous edition of the Statement continues to apply to reviews conducted before 1 August 2016.

Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 413 KB

Master's Degree Characteristics Statement

Publication Date: 10 Sep 2015

This document is a Qualifications Characteristics Statement for master's degrees. It describes the distinctive features of master's degrees in the UK. Characteristics Statements are closely linked to The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies (the Qualifications Frameworks). They complement and contextualise the information provided within the Qualifications Frameworks, providing more detail about the distinctive features of qualifications at particular levels of the frameworks and/or of qualifications at any level, which are awarded in a particular way. This latest version becomes a reference point for the purposes of QAA reviews conducted from 1 August 2016. The previous edition of the Statement continues to apply to reviews conducted before 1 August 2016.​​​

Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 260 KB

Foundation Degree Characteristics Statement

Publication Date: 10 Sep 2015

This document is a Qualifications Characteristics Statement for foundation degrees. It describes the distinctive features of foundation degrees in the UK.

Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 193 KB

Qualifications Involving More Than One Degree-Awarding Body

Publication Date: 03 Oct 2015

This document is a Qualifications Characteristics Statement for qualifications involving more than one degree-awarding body. It describes the distinctive features of these types of awards.

Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 304 KB

Quality Assuring Higher Education in Apprenticeships: Current Approaches

Publication Date: 12 Jul 2018

This document describes how expectations relating to the quality assurance of higher education, as set out in the UK Quality Code for Higher Education, accommodate and apply to existing and emerging UK models of apprenticeships involving higher education at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 556 KB

Quality Assuring Higher Education in Apprenticeships is also available in Welsh and will be published here on Monday 16 July.


Subject Benchmark Statements 


Subject Benchmark Statements define what can be expected of graduates in particular subject areas. They describe what graduates might know, do and understand at the end of their studies.



Additional Resources


A number of additional resources are available that provide supporting information and guidance for this Part of the Quality Code.