Resources for Universities - New National Qualifications

University Students

The new National 1 to Advanced Higher qualifications are replacing the previous and existing National Qualifications you may already be familiar with.

What is changing?

The table shows how the new National Qualifications replace the previous or existing National Qualifications.

SCQF level Previous or existing National Qualifications Grades Replaced by New National Qualifications Grades
7 Advanced Higher A to D Advanced Higher A to D
6 Higher A to D Higher A to D
5 Intermediate 2 A to D National 5 A to D
Standard Grade (Credit level) 1 or 2
4 Intermediate 1 A to D National 4 Not graded
Standard Grade (General level) 3 or 4
3 Standard Grade (Foundation level) 5 or 6 National 3 Not graded
Access 3 Not graded
2 Access 2 Not graded National 2 Not graded
1 Access 1 Not graded National 1 Not graded

When are the new qualifications being introduced?

National 1 to Higher are now being delivered in schools and colleges across Scotland, and the new Advanced Higher will be introduced in August 2015.

When will young people start to leave school or college with the new Highers and Advanced Highers?

Young people will start to leave school with new Highers from June 2015, and new Advanced Highers from June 2016. 

When does final certification of the existing qualifications take place?

Final certification of Standard Grades took place in August 2013. Final certification of the existing Access, Intermediate, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications will take place in August 2015.

How is SQA working with the higher education sector?

We are continuing to engage with universities on the new National Qualifications and are meeting with admissions tutors and other staff on an ongoing basis. We also attend regular meetings with UCAS officers and we engage with Universities Scotland, Universities UK and other higher education institution mission groups.

University policies on the new National Qualifications


Universities across Scotland have published policies which outline their position regarding CfE and the new National Qualifications.

Rest of the UK

Universities Scotland has also published a paper aimed at universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland regarding CfE reforms in Scottish school education. This paper will be useful for universities across the rest of the UK who receive applications from young people in Scotland. It will help them to understand these changes and what the implications may be for their admissions policies.

University Leaflet cover imageFurther information

Download this handy guide for universities (437 KB) to the new National Qualifications.

You can also view our guides for schools, parents, learners, universities and employers.


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