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Section 4: Types of Qualification

Published for 2022-23


4.1 Undergraduate Qualifications4.3. Taught Postgraduate Qualifications
4.2 Graduate Qualifications4.4 Postgraduate Research Qualifications

 This section describes the typical attributes of the main Qualifications offered by UCL and provide a reference point for the development of Programmes and Modules. The following descriptors outline the basic Qualification; UCL Programmes may be supplemented by further learning, which may or may not be credit-bearing.

4.1 Undergraduate Qualifications

 

Level 4

Certificate of Higher Education

  • A Cert HE may be a stand-alone Qualification or a named Interim Qualification from a Bachelors with Honours, Integrated Masters with Honours or Foundation Degree.
  • Programmes must include at least 120 credits of learning at Level 4 or above. The Qualification typically takes 1200 hours, or one FTE Academic Year, to complete.

Level 5

Diploma of Higher Education    

  • A Dip HE may be a stand-alone Qualification or a named Interim Qualification from a Bachelors or Integrated Masters.
  • Programmes must include at least 240 credits of learning. There must be no credits below Level 4, a maximum of 150 credits at Level 4, and a minimum of 90 credits at Level 5 or above. The Qualification typically takes 2400 hours, or two FTE Academic Years, to complete.

Foundation Degree

  • A Foundation Degree is an Undergraduate Qualification distinguished by a vocational orientation. The Qualification is equivalent to the first two years of a Bachelors Degree and may be supplemented by a further ‘Top-up’ year at Level 6, allowing students to complete a full Bachelors with Honours Degree.
  • Programmes must include at least 240 credits of learning. There must be no credits below Level 4, a maximum of 150 credits at Level 4 and a minimum of 90 credits at Level 5 or above. The Qualification typically takes 2400 hours, or two FTE Academic Years, to complete.
 

Level 6

Bachelors with Honours Degree

  • Bachelors with Honours Degrees form the largest group of HE Qualifications and are awarded to students who have developed an understanding of a complex body of knowledge, analytical techniques and problem-solving skills. 
  • Programmes must include at least 360 credits. There must be no credits below Level 4, a maximum of 150 credits at Level 4 and a minimum of 90 credits at Level 6 or above. A Bachelors with Honours typically takes 3600 hours, or three FTE Academic Years, to complete. Programmes may include an additional placement or study abroad year, in which case students complete 480 credits over four FTE Academic Years. The Qualification may also be completed via a ‘Top-up’ year comprising 120 Level 6 credits following successful completion of a Foundation Degree. A Bachelors with Honours includes an Honours Classification.

Ordinary Degree (Bachelors without Honours)

  • Students unable to meet the requirements for a Bachelors with Honours may be eligible for an Ordinary Degree (Bachelors without Honours). The minimum requirements for an Ordinary Degree are at least 300 credits with a maximum of 150 credits at Level 4 and a minimum of 60 credits at Level 6.
  • UCL only offers the Ordinary Degree as an Interim Qualification.
 

Level 7

Integrated Masters with Honours Degree

  • An Integrated Masters incorporates the attributes and outcomes of both a Bachelors with Honours Degree and a Taught Masters Degree. 
  • Programmes must include at least 480 credits. There must be no credits below Level 4, a maximum of 150 credits at Level 4 and a minimum of 120 credits at Level 7. The Qualification typically takes 4800 hours, or four FTE Academic Years, to complete. Programmes may also include a placement or study abroad year. 
  • Programmes fall under the Undergraduate regulations, and the Honours Classification system.

4.2 Graduate Qualifications

 

Level 6

Graduate Certificate

  • The Grad Cert is a short Programme or professional 'conversion' course based largely on Undergraduate material and taken usually by those who already hold a Bachelors Degree in another Field of Study. 
  • Programmes must include at least 60 credits. There must be no credits below Level 5, a maximum of 15 credits at Level 5 and a minimum of 45 credits at Level 6 or above. The Qualification typically takes 600 hours, or half an FTE Academic Year, to complete.

Graduate Diploma

  • The Grad Dip is a short Programme or professional 'conversion' course which is considered equivalent to the final year of a Bachelors Degree. It is based largely on Undergraduate material and taken usually by those who already hold a Bachelors Degree in another Field of Study. 
  • Programmes must include at least 120 credits. There must be no credits below Level 5, a maximum of 30 credits at Level 5 and a minimum of 90 credits at Level 6 or above. The Qualification typically takes 1200 hours, or one FTE Academic Year, to complete.

4.3 Taught Postgraduate Qualifications

 

Level 7

Postgraduate Certificate

  • The PG Cert is a Masters-Level short Programme which may be a stand-alone Qualification or a named Interim Qualification on a Masters or PG Dip Programme. 
  • Programmes must include at least 60 credits, with a maximum of 15 credits at Level 6 and a minimum of 45 credits at Level 7. The Qualification typically takes 600 hours, or half an FTE Academic Year, to complete.

Postgraduate Diploma

  • The PG Dip is a Masters-Level short Programme which may be a stand-alone Qualification or a named Interim Qualification on a Masters Programme. 
  • Programmes must include at least 120 credits, with a maximum of 30 credits at Level 6 and a minimum of 90 credits at Level 7. The Qualification typically takes 1200 hours, or one FTE Academic Year, to complete.

Taught Masters Degree

  • A Taught Masters is a Level 7 Qualification distinguished from the PG Cert and PG Dip by an increased intensity and complexity of study, a planned intellectual progression, and an in-depth research or scholarly activity of at least 30 credits in the form of a Dissertation or other Substantive Project. 
  • Programmes must include at least 180 credits, with a maximum of 30 credits at Level 6 and a minimum of 150 credits at Level 7 (although PSRB requirements may result in a longer Programme of Study). The Qualification typically takes 1800 hours, or one FTE Calendar Year, to complete.

4.4 Postgraduate Research Qualifications

 

Level 7

Master of Research Degree

  • The Master of Research (MRes) is a Level 7 Qualification distinguished from a Taught Masters by its high ratio of research to teaching, and by the focus of teaching on research methods. The curriculum and the student experience are governed by the research Programme regulations, whilst assessment processes are subject to the regulations for taught Programmes. 
  • Programmes are modular and must include at least 180 credits, with a maximum of 30 credits at Level 6 and a minimum of 150 credits at Level 7. Programmes should include at least 30 credits of identifiable, transferable skills Modules and a Dissertation/ Substantive Project of 105-150 credits (on 180-credit Programmes; pro-rata for extended Programmes). The Qualification typically takes a minimum of 1800 hours, or one FTE Calendar Year, to complete. 

Master of Philosophy

  • The MPhil is a Level 7 research Qualification which may be a stand-alone Qualification or the first step towards completion of a PhD. The Programme is non-modular, but may require attendance at lectures and seminars. Programmes typically require two Calendar Years of study at Level 7 or Level 8. A student may opt to complete the MPhil via submission of a thesis, or the student may be eligible to Upgrade to PhD status.

Master of Philosophical Studies

  • The MPhilStud is a Level 7 research Qualification, successful completion of which may qualify graduates to enter a relevant PhD programme with PhD (rather than MPhil) status. The curriculum and the student experience are governed by the research Programme regulations, assessment of research training and specialisation Modules are subject to the regulations for taught Programmes, whilst the assessment of the Dissertation is subject to research Programme regulations.  
  • The Programme is modular and must include at least 360 credits at Level 7. The Programme should include at least 90 credits of research training Modules, 150 credits of research specialisation Modules, and a Dissertation of 120 credits. The Qualification typically takes 3600 hours, or two FTE Calendar Years, to complete.
     

Level 8

Doctorate

  • Doctorates are awarded for the creation and interpretation, construction and/ or exposition of knowledge which extends the forefront of a discipline. 
  • Programmes typically require three Full-time or five Part-time Calendar Years of study at Level 8 and students must be registered for at least two Calendar Years. On PhD Programmes, students must initially register on the MPhil before Upgrading to the PhD.

Professional Doctorate

  • Professional Doctorates aim to develop an individual's professional practice and to support them in producing an original contribution to professional knowledge. 
  • Programmes include a substantial taught element in addition to the research component. Programmes typically require three FTE Calendar Years of study at Level 8 and students must be registered for at least two Calendar Years. 

Integrated Doctorate

  • An Integrated Doctorate incorporates the attributes and outcomes of both a Research Masters (MRes) and a Doctorate (MPhil/PhD, EngD), providing students with a sound grounding in research methods from which to develop an original contribution to knowledge. 
  • The Masters must include at least 180 credits, with a maximum of 30 credits at Level 6 and a minimum of 150 credits at Level 7, and typically takes 1800 hours, or one FTE Calendar Year, to complete. On successful completion of the Masters, the student may progress to the Level 8 doctoral Programme, studying for a further three FTE years. Students must be registered on the doctoral Programme for at least two Calendar Years and, on PhD Programmes, students must initially register on the MPhil before Upgrading to the PhD.