SQA Advanced Certificate in Retail / SQA Advanced Diploma in Retail Management

SQA Advanced Certificate in Retail / SQA Advanced Diploma in Retail Management

The SQA Advanced Certificate in Retail (SCQF level 7) and SQA Advanced Diploma in Retail Management (SCQF level 8) provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers in the retail industry.

The SQA Advanced Certificate in Retail develops the necessary knowledge and skills in areas such as retail operations, understanding the retail customer experience and the retail environment, stock presentation, finance, and digital/IT skills. It also includes specialist areas such as visual merchandising and fashion merchandising.

The SQA Advanced Diploma in Retail Management builds on the knowledge and skills of the SQA Advanced Certificate and enhances knowledge and skills relating to: retail corporate image and store design, marketing, current trends in the sector, consumer buying behaviour, and management.

These qualifications are available through a growing number of colleges, training providers and universities around the world. Typically, an SQA Advanced Certificate takes one year to complete and an SQA Advanced Diploma takes two years to complete.

Why deliver this qualification

SQA Advanced Certificates and SQA Advanced Diplomas have been developed by SQA in partnership with colleges, universities and industry — so employers recognise that they provide sound evidence of ability.

The unit-based structure supports flexible delivery. A unit is typically 40 hours of timetabled learning.

Who does this qualification suit

The SQA Advanced Certificate in Retail and the SQA Advanced Diploma in Retail Management are suitable for a wide range of learners including:

  • school leavers
  • adult returners to education
  • individuals in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • people who wish to start their own business


Learners can progress from the SQA Advanced Certificate in Retail to the SQA Advanced Diploma in Retail Management. The Advanced Certificate can also provide direct access to the retail industry in job roles such as:

  • trainee manager
  • team leader/supervisor
  • trainee team leader

The SQA Advanced Diploma in Retail Management can provide advanced entry to degree-level study. For further information please refer to the SQA university agreements.

Offer this qualification

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

Centres without devolved authority require to come forward for approval and should contact SQA's Business Development Team for guidance. 

How to assess

As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre. Examples of formal entry qualifications include:

  • a National Certificate in a related discipline
  • a minimum of one SQA Higher pass (SCQF level 6) together with three National Qualifications at SCQF level 5 or above
  • relevant work experience
  • equivalent overseas qualifications which are relevant to the award

For learners whose English is not their first language, it is recommended that they possess English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) level 5 or a score of 5.5 in IELTS.

Different combinations of relevant National Qualifications, vocational qualifications and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies may also be acceptable.

Qualification structure

SQA Advanced Certificate in Retail
Group award code: GN0F 47 (96 SCQF credit points) - Award finished 31/07/2020

SQA Advanced Diploma in Retail Management
Group award code: GM8H 48 (240 SCQF credit points)

Group award specification

Unit Specifications