Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework and European Credit and Transfer System

Information for Undergraduate Students

Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework

Heriot-Watt University is part of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). The SCQF brings together all Scottish higher education qualifications, as well as further education, vocational and secondary school qualifications, into a single, national framework. One of its main purposes is to help learners move more easily from one qualification to another.

Qualifications in the framework are described in terms of levels and credits. There are 12 levels in the framework, and the credits are called SCQF points. SCQF levels 7 to 10 correspond to the normal four years of full-time undergraduate study. All of Heriot-Watt University’s undergraduate qualifications comply with SCQF requirements.

Levels and Credit Points

The SCQF uses two measures to describe qualifications within the framework:

• The level of the outcomes of learning

• The volume of outcomes, described in terms of the number of credits


Credit points quantify student learning. At Heriot-Watt University a standard undergraduate module is rated at 15 credits and a student will typically take 150 hours of study time (including class time and self-study) to complete each module. In one academic year full-time students will study eight modules and so can achieve 120 credits. Levels reflect the demand and complexity of learning in a module; this increases as students progress through their course. The actual credit and level requirements of each course are detailed in individual course handbooks.

Through the SCQF students may use credits acquired from prior qualifications and learning to gain entry to a course or exemption from specific modules. Further information is available from Admissions tutors.

For further details of the SCQF, go to the SCQF website: www.scqf.org.uk

European Credit and Transfer System

The European Credit and Transfer System (ECTS) is the European framework designed to facilitate the transfer of credit between courses for students who choose to study at more than one European university, including exchange students. The ECTS defines credit slightly differently to the SCQF system as one year of study equates to 60 ECTS credit points. Each standard Heriot-Watt undergraduate module rated at 15 credits is equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credit points. Heriot-Watt University will consider ECTS credits for students entering our courses with prior qualifications from European universities.

For further details of ECTS, go to: For further details of ECTS, go to:


SCQF and ECTS credits

In a full-time year of study at Heriot-Watt University a student will normally complete 120 SCQF credits which is equivalent to 60 ECTS credits. Results Letters and Academic Transcripts issued by the University to students will show both SCQF and ECTS credit totals.

July 2011

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