Award classes in the NFQ

What classes of qualification (award) are included in the NFQ?

There are four categories (classes) of awards in the NFQ.

    • Major awards are the main class of award made at a level. You may have heard of some of these, for example the Leaving Certificate, the Advanced Certificate or the Honours Bachelor Degree.  There are 16 major awards in the Framework which can be seen in the ‘fan’ diagram.
    • Minor awards provide recognition for learners who achieve a range of learning outcomes but not the specific combination of learning outcomes required for a major award. These awards allow learners to build up units of learning at their own pace to meet their own needs.
    • Special-purpose awards are made for very specific purposes. An example of a special-purpose award is Driving - Heavy Goods Rigid.
    • Supplemental awards are for learning which is additional to a previous award. They could, for example, relate to updating and refreshing knowledge or skills, or to continuing professional development.

For Awarding Bodies from other countries advice on the comparability of their award in the context of the Irish national framework of qualifications can be identified by reference to   A comparability statement can be downloaded from the website. 

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