Thursday, 25th April 2019


*Scotland has their own wide range of qualifications, that cover the same areas as the equivalents in England and Wales.

Accreditation of certificates, awards and qualifications in Scotland is regulated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).*

How Scottish qualifications work

Standard Grades are the qualifications taken by 14 to 16 year olds in three stages – Foundation, General and Credit. Pupils will typically study between seven and nine subjects, including the core, compulsory subjects. These include:

  • Maths
  • English
  • A minimum of one Science (Chemistry, Biology or Physics)
  • Physical Education
  • Religious Education / Philosophy
  • A minimum of one Social Science (History, Geography or Modern Studies)
  • Personal Social Education (PSE)

Other non-compulsory subjects can be taken and the choice of subjects depends on the individual institution. Generally, these subjects fall under the following categories:

  • Modern Languages
  • The Arts
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
  • Classics

Standard Grades are typically viewed as the Scottish equivalent of GCSEs taken elsewhere across the UK.

Highers are the Scottish qualifications needed for entry onto most courses at universities and higher education institutions. Students can study up to 5 subjects from a broad selection. There are the equivalent to A-levels in the UK.

Advanced Highers come next. They are the optional qualifications available to students who have passed Highers. Students with Advanced Highers can sometimes go straight into the second year of university. They can also be used for standard entry in to universities across the UK.

Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) are the equivalent to NVQs, giving more practical teaching and training on a job-specific course.

Scottish qualifications are by and large, still given the same accreditation as the qualifications available in the rest of the UK.

Scottish qualifications are included in the UCAS tariff, and can be used as entry into higher education throughout the UK depencing on your chosen career path.

For more information on the different qualifications available in Scotland, please follow the below link:

Scottish Qualifications Authority