Level 4 National Qualification Framework - Certificate of Higher Education
Level 5 National Qualification Framework - Higher National Diploma, Foundation Degree
Level 6 National Qualification Framework - Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Bachelor Degree (Pass/Ordinary, and Full Honours).
Level 7 National Qualification Framework - Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma
Certificates of Higher Education are for the completion of the first year of undergraduate coursework.
Higher National Diplomas are for those that complete their second year of undergraduate coursework. They are able to top up to full honours by transferring to a full university.
Foundation Degree are two-year program that are either equivalent to Higher National Diplomas, or are equivalent to Certificate of Higher Education depending upon major. For hard science and engineering, Foundation Degrees are equivalent to Certificate of Higher Education, and topping off would require two additional years.
Do not mistaken the Foundation Degree as Foundation Courses. Foundation Courses are an alternative to Advanced Levels for international students. It is at least one-year, but there could also be two-year Foundation Courses.
Graduate Certificates are equivalent to completing the first half year of the third year of Honours, so if the major is the same from the National Higher Diploma (NHD), then the student has topped up to be equivalent to a Pass, or Ordinary Bachelor's Degree.
Graduate Diplomas are equivalent to completing the third year of Honours, so if the major is the same from NHD, then the student has topped up to be equivalent to a full Honours. Typically, students would move on and complete their Honours unless it has been a few years since their NHD, or these students are changing majors.
Postgraduate Certificates are equivalent to completing half a year of coursework for masters.
Postgraduate Diplomas are equivalent to completing the full year of coursework for masters. That is, these students complete All But Master's Thesis.
Level 5 Australian Qualification Framework - Diploma
Level 6 Australian Qualification Framework - Associate Degree
Level 7 Australian Qualification Framework - Bachelor Degree (Mainstream)
Level 8 Australian Qualification Framework - Bachelor Honours Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma
Diplomas are either the first year of undergraduate studies, or the entirety of a major. Students adding an additional major would complete a Diploma to the specific major. The general Diplomas are equivalent to UK's Certificate of Higher Education, or American Associate Degree.
In the perspective of an American, the Australian Associate Degree is a different level than the American Associate Degree. The Australian Associate Degree are for those that complete two years of undergraduate studies; that is, the completion of junior year. For an American to be equivalent, they would need to complete three years of undergraduate studies, which is beyond an American Associate Degree. The Australian Associate Degree are equivalent to UK's Higher National Diplomas.
The Australian Graduate Certificate are equivalent to UK Postgraduate Certificates.
The Australian Graduate Diplomas are equivalent to UK Postgraduate Diplomas.
Bachelor Honours Degree is a fourth year add-on to undergraduate degrees. Most of these programmes are by invitation only. They could be either one-year research degrees, which is insufficient to compete with two-year research degrees (MPhil/PhM), or they could be a fourth year of course work, which makes them equivalent to UK's undergraduate Masters.
Second Bachelor's Degree
Intermediate Graduate Qualifications
Not many institutions allow completing a second bachelor's degree in United States. That is completing a Bachelor's Degree as a Post-Baccalaureate. To complete a Second Bachelor's, students must complete only the major requirement. Second Bachelors are equivalent to Australia's Diploma (focused on one major) or UK's Graduate Diploma (equivalent to third year of full honours).
The Intermediate Graduate Qualifications are degrees recognized as being intermediate to, as in in-between, Masters and Research Doctorates.
In Structures of US Education, the order of qualifications goes as follows
- Primary Qualification
- Secondary Qualification
- Associate Degree
- Bachelor's Degree
- First-Professional Degree
- Master's Degree
- Intermediate Graduate Qualifications
- Research Doctorate Degrees
- Postdoctoral Programs and Academic Tenure