Articulation agreement between SQA and Open University confirmed

Wednesday 11 October 2023

Pictured are Steven McGeever, Senior Partnerships Manager at the Open University in Scotland, and Dr Gill Stewart, SQA Director of Qualifications Development.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has signed an agreement with the Open University (OU) which will allow learners from across the country who have completed its Higher National Certificates, and Diplomas – including SQA’s next generation of Higher National qualifications (NextGen:HN) – to progress onto OU degree programmes at advanced levels.

The Articulation Agreement between SQA and the Open University means learners who achieve a SQA Higher National Certificate or Diploma will be able to progress, or articulate, onto year two or year three of a related BA/BSc Open Degree with Honours at the Open University.

Learners holding a SQA HNC who have amassed 120 credits on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) will now be able to transfer those credits and gain exemption for modules at OU Level 1, granting them access to year two of an OU degree programme. Learners who hold a SQA HND and amassed 240 credits, will be able to gain exemption for modules at OU Level 1, and OU Level 2, gaining access to year three.

SQA’s existing portfolio of Higher National Certificates, and Diplomas have always provided learners with qualifications that meet the needs of employers, and this agreement enables those individuals to continue their learning journey with the OU.

SQA’s NextGen:HN are the next iteration of Higher National qualifications and have been designed to give learners the skills they need to thrive in the modern workplace.

The new certificates and diplomas support lifelong learning by promoting the acquisition of meta-skills – the skills necessary to learn and apply new knowledge quickly – while also developing critical industry, and subject specific skills. Currently there are 20 new NextGen:HN courses being piloted in colleges and training providers across Scotland, covering subjects such as Accounting, Networking and Cloud Infrastructure, Social Services, and Software Development.

Speaking about the agreement, Dr Gill Stewart, SQA Director of Qualifications Development, said: “The Open University is renowned for its flexible approach to learning, and through its acceptance of the SQA HNC/D as an entry qualification into years two and three of its aligned degree programmes, we will hope to see wider access to higher education in a manner that suits learners’ needs, improves attainment, and ultimately helps learners achieve their career goals.”

“This agreement demonstrates the value of our Higher National qualifications, including the NextGen:HN, and recognises the skills, knowledge, and experience that the learners who hold them have achieved over the course of their studies. We will work closely with our centres – schools, colleges, and training providers – to help them and their learners make the most of opportunities available to them through this partnership.”

Steven McGeever, Senior Partnerships Manager at the Open University in Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be entering into this agreement with SQA, which highlights a mutual commitment to widening access to degree level study and providing pathways for students who want to build on previous study at college. “

“At the Open University we recognise the value of SQA HNC and HND qualifications, which are designed to meet the needs of industry and prepare students for further study, and this agreement demonstrates how students who’ve completed an HNC or HND can use the credit they’ve achieved towards our BA/BSc (Honours) Open degree and study by flexible distance learning in a way that suits them.”