HE Awards Standards

​​Setting Standards

At QQI, we determine awards standards for HE (Higher Education).

Award standards are required before we or a delegated award-making authority (DA awarding body) can validate a programme of education and training leading to the award. 

QQI award standards are NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications) standards and they may be used by bodies other than QQI and DA awarding bodies.

For further details please see our Policy for Determining Awards Standards and our Policy and Criteria for Making Awards.

Active NFQ Standards for HE

The NFQ’s major award-type descriptors are default standards for HE awards. These ‘generic standards’ apply in the absence of more specific NFQ awards standards.

The current list of standards, both generic and specific, can be found here.

Some of the professional standards in this list are used by other bodies eg the architecture standards are used by the RIAI (Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland) accreditation process across the whole HE system.

Active NFQ Guidelines for HE

Guidelines are developed as needed to help awarding bodies on the interpretation of the NFQ.

The HE Subject Guidelines as envisaged by the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 is an example of a guideline. It recommends that:

"Subject guidelines should be developed to support the National Framework of Qualifications. This work should be progressed by subject experts from the academic community and coordinated by the new Qualifications and Quality Assurance Ireland agency."

Development and Review 

Organisations wishing to propose the development of new NFQ standards or guidelines, or the review of existing ones, can contact us here.