Course Levels Explained

There are five levels of qualification that may be worked towards under the Framework for Higher Education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ). Bury College currently delivers higher education programmes up to level 6. 
Higher Education Qualification FHEQ level
Certificates of Higher Education
Foundation Degrees
Diplomas of Higher Education
Professional Graduate Certificates in Education
Graduate Diplomas
Graduate Certificates
Postgraduate Diplomas
Postgraduate Certificates in Education
PhDs  8

Each level has an expected outcome that must be achieved in order for you to gain the qualification. The following information describes what is expected of you at each level.

Level 4

This qualification is equivalent to the first year of a degree and on completion you may choose to progress to the second year of a degree course. To achieve a level 4 qualification you must be able to:

  • Evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to solving problems.

  • Communicate the results of your study/work accurately and reliably, and with structured and coherent arguments.

  • Undertake further training and develop new skills.

On completion you will have qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring some personal responsibility.

Level 5

Level 5 qualifications prepare you for careers in specific occupational areas. To achieve this qualification you should be able to:

  • Use a range of established techniques to initiate and undertake critical analysis of information, and propose solutions to problems arising from that analysis.

  • Effectively communicate information, arguments and analysis in a variety of forms to specialist and non-specialist audiences.

  • Undertake further training, develop existing skills and acquire new competences that will enable you to assume significant responsibility within organisations.

On completion you will have qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring personal responsibility and decision-making.

Level 6

To achieve a level 6 qualification you will be able to:

  • Apply the methods and techniques that you have learned to review, consolidate, extend and apply your knowledge and understanding.

  • Initiate and carry out projects.

  • Critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data to make judgements, and to frame appropriate questions to identify a range of solutions to a problem.

  • Communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.

  • Once you have gained a level 6 qualification you will have the skills required for employment requiring personal responsibility and decision making in complex and unpredictable contexts. You will also have the ability to progress to further appropriate training.


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