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About SQA Advanced Diplomas

What is an SQA Advanced Diploma?

An SQA Advanced Diploma is a Higher Education qualification. They are vocational qualifications that use practical approaches to learning – including project and assignment work, team and group work, and research.

SQA Advanced Diplomas are designed to meet the needs of employers. They are developed by SQA in partnership with colleges, universities and industry.

Because employers and universities recognise SQA Advanced Diploma as evidence of your ability, having an SQA Advanced Diploma will help you progress into an overseas university or get a job.

Entry to university

The most popular choice for students is to go to on to a degree in a university. If you complete an SQA Advanced Diploma you can apply to university. The university also requires evidence of English language ability. 

Universities that accept SQA Advanced Diplomas

SQA Advanced Diploma structure

The Diploma consists of a total of 30 Unit credits. Each Unit comprises of approximately 40 timetabled learning and 40 hours self-guided learning and study. They usually take two academic years to complete but this is flexible.

Your results in the first and second year show whether you have the ability to move on to a degree course.


Units are assessed on a pass or fail basis. You have to pass all units. There are different ways of assessing units – projects, research or practical work.

There will be one Graded Unit assessment credit in Year 1 of the course and one or two in Year 2 worth two credits. The Graded Unit assessment can be an examination, a case study, an investigation or a practical assignment. Your result will be an A, B, C or Fail.