SQA Advanced Diploma Computer Science

SQA Advanced Diplomas provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers.

The SQA Advanced Diploma in Computer Science (SCQF level 8) builds on the knowledge and skills of the SQA Advanced Certificate in Computing and covers a wide variety of related skills including: designing and maintaining a website, carrying out technical support, developing small-scale, stand-alone and mobile applications, and demonstrating the recognised 'soft skills' required to work in small groups.

This qualification is available through colleges and some universities. Typically, an SQA Advanced Diploma takes two years to complete.

Why deliver this qualification

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.

This SQA Advanced Diploma provides progression routes to further study (see Progression).

Who does this qualification suit

The SQA Advanced Diploma in Computer Science is suitable for a wide range of candidates 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


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

  • passes in two relevant National Courses at SCQF level 6 (Higher) together with three relevant subjects at National 5
  • a related National Certificate at SCQF level 6
  • a relevant combination of vocational awards at appropriate levels
  • a mix of the above

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


The SQA Advanced Diploma can provide advanced entry to degree-level study.

For example, the SQA Advanced Certificate in Computing allows direct entry into the second year of most degree programmes, and the SQA Advanced Diploma in Computer Science allows direct entry to many third year programmes.

For further information please refer to the SQA university agreements.

SQA Advanced Certificates and Diplomas also provide the knowledge and understanding required for related Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs). For example, IT and Telecoms Professional National Occupational Standards (NOS) have been developed in parallel with, and as part of, the IT Professional Competency Model — e-skills Procom.

E-skills Procom is the industry-recognised, internationally-relevant training framework for organising courses and qualifications. It defines knowledge, understanding, and competences for seven broad disciplines. The SQA Advanced Diploma in Computer Science covers all these disciplines (see group award specification for further information).

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.

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

How to assess

Each unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for the unit.

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

Qualification structure

SQA Advanced Diploma in Computer Science

Group award code: GM91 48 (240 SCQF credit points)

Group award specification

For further information on the structure and units for this course please refer to the Group Award Specification - GM91 48 (783 KB).

Unit Specifications