NC in Social Sciences at SCQF Levels 5

Sports ScienceNational Certificates (NCs) are practical qualifications designed to equip learners with the knowledge and skills (including Core Skills) required for further study or to gain employment.

The NC in Social Sciences at SCQF level 5 provides an introduction to the social sciences. It is suitable for mature students, adult returners and school leavers, who may have a variety of informal and formal qualifications.

National Certificates (NCs) are designed for full-time delivery over one year (or part-time over two years) and are available through schools, colleges and training providers.

Why deliver this qualification

NCs bridge the progression gap from school attainment to HN and other study. They are suitable for school leavers and those seeking a route back into study at non-advanced level.

The National Certificate (NC) in Social Sciences at SCQF level 5 includes a comprehensive range of social subjects, enabling candidates to achieve a broad social sciences qualification. Credit can be built up over a period of time and if the candidate leaves without completing the course they will be credited for Unit achievement or their learning to date.

Successful completion of this NC would enable a candidate to progress to an NC at SCQF level 6, HNC/HND, or SVQ at Level 2. It could also lead to employment in the private or public sector, for example within social services, social care or the youth and community sector.

National Certificates include opportunities for learners to develop Core Skills.

Who does this qualification suit

This NC is for learners who wish to enhance their knowledge and skills in social sciences and to gain Core Skills and other transferable skills that will prepare them for further study or employment.

It is suitable for a wide range of candidates including school leavers and adult returners with a variety of formal and informal qualifications.


Entry is at the discretion of the centre and may include Core Skills profiling and an interview to determine suitability.

The NC in Social Sciences Award at SCQF level 5 is designed to give candidates an initial introduction to the social sciences and does not require prerequisite knowledge of social science subjects.

There are recommended entry requirements on individual Units, which can be used for guidance. However, other non-formal qualifications and experience may also be taken into account.

Given the importance of communication in the social sciences, it is recommended that candidates have a social subject or an English Unit or Communication Unit at the level below the level of the award.


This NC is intended to give candidates the relevant qualifications and experience to enable them to successfully develop the skills which they need to progress through education. Depending on the options chosen, candidates will have the opportunity to enhance their employability skills through the inclusion of personal development and employability Units.

The NC in Social Sciences at SCQF level 5 offers Units that contribute to the National Progression Award (NPA) Enterprise and Employability at SCQF level 4 (G976 44) and the Award in Volunteering Skills at SCQF level 4 (GD1P 44) .

There are no National Occupational Standards for this area; however, one of the strengths of this Group Award is that it looks at a wide range of social sciences and develops broad transferable skills that underpin various occupations.


Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority will have to come forward for approval and should contact SQA’s Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA’s general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Guide to Approval.

How to assess

Each Unit specification gives detailed information on the Evidence Requirements and approaches to assessment for the Unit. Assessment support packs (ASPs) or NABs are available for all of the Units in the NC Social Sciences at SCQF level 5 and can be found on SQA’s secure website. There will be opportunities for integration of Units or Unit Outcomes. Individual Unit specifications and ASPs identify specific opportunities for combined delivery and assessment.

There is a wide variety of methods of assessment that would allow candidates to meet the knowledge and skills/performance criteria for various Units. Likely evidence types could include: written essays or structured questions, individual oral presentation, or poster exhibition including oral explanation of poster. 

Candidates could also provide the Evidence Requirements in the form of an individual blog or by creating a website. Use of e-assessment should be considered if it meets the criteria laid down in the Unit specifications. Formative e-assessments have been developed for selected Units and can be downloaded from:

Evidence can be provided in one form, or from a combination of the suggested forms above, or any other method that meets the Evidence Requirements.

Remediation and re-assessment will also be carried out according to the criteria detailed in the individual Unit specifications.

The NC can be delivered by open learning but it will be up to the centre to ensure authentication of assessment according to the assessment procedures given within each Unit specification.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Qualification Structure

Group Award Code: GF8C 45

This National Certificate in Social Sciences at SCQF level 5 consists of 28 mandatory Units (of which the candidate must complete a minimum 7) at SCQF level 5 and 24 optional units at SCQF levels 4 and 5.

NC in Social Sciences at SCQF Levels 5 (1.09 MB)