Since 1 April 1997 the National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) for the United Kingdom has been managed by ECCTIS Ltd under contract to the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). Click here for details of how to contact the Centre.
The UK NARIC has been a member of the network of NARICs throughout the European Union since the early 1980s. The operation of the network is co-ordinated by Directorate General IV (Education, Culture, Youth and Sport) of the European Commission in Brussels. The information on qualification comparability produced also falls within the work of UNESCO. We are also the ENIC representative for a wider network of ENICs (European Network of Information Centres) throughout other European countries.
The purposes of the UK NARIC are:
- to give information and advice on the comparability of international and UK qualifications
- to promote British qualifications overseas
It informs and advises:
- UK higher and further education institutions
- individuals seeking comparability information on international and UK qualifications
- professional bodies, businesses, recruitment agencies, embassies, British Council offices, refugee councils, the Department for Trade and Industry and other organisations receiving or advising international students other NARICs and ENICs
In this way it promotes individual progress towards:
- further study in the UK
- registration with professional bodies
- employment in the UK
- The UK NARIC also undertakes individual research projects for specific purposes.
The UK NARIC evaluates overseas qualifications by paying regard, as appropriate, to such factors as:
- entrance requirements
- duration of study
- number of class hours
- accumulation of credits
- course content and structure
- thesis or dissertation.
In reaching a comparability judgement, NARIC information officers need to have sight of:
- original qualification documents, or authorised copies of them
- certified translations (where appropriate)
- other academic records, or transcripts of them
- a covering letter giving any additional relevant information, and indicating the purpose for which the comparability judgement is needed.
Comparability judgements are arrived at by use of:
- searchable databases
- published and unpublished sources
- case histories documented by the UK NARIC
- official contacts and networks such as other NARICs
- the UK NARIC's own structured process of continuous updating of information.
All members of the NARIC team receive full training on a range of qualification structures, evaluation and assessment criteria before becoming NARIC information officers.
Universities and professional bodies in the United Kingdom are independent organisations. As such, they make their own decisions about admissions, having regard to qualifications and other relevant criteria. Establishing the comparability of an overseas qualification with a UK one does not constitute an automatic right to admission.
International Comparisons covers some 190 countries from which students come to the UK in search of further study, training, or professional registration and employment. Each country file usually consists of the following sections:
- a brief description of the country and its education system
- school education
- technical and vocational education
- higher education
- teacher education
- grading systems
- a list of recognised higher education institutions
- a glossary
- charts of the education system and qualification structure.
Because it is the benchmark for comparison with overseas qualifications, the country file for the United Kingdom is given in a separate section.
In reading the comparability statements the following points should be noted:
- Reference to GCSE means GCSE grades A, B and C.
- The expression "may satisfy the general requirements of British higher education institutions" means that a student with the overseas qualification concerned may satisfy the minimum criteria for eligibility and be considered for admission. It does not guarantee a place or confer the right of admission. In addition to satisfying the general entry requirements of an institution, a student must also satisfy the specific course requirements of individual departments or faculties. Other considerations may also influence a decision whether or not to admit.
- General entrance requirements may be expressed in terms of passing grades in GCSE and GCE Advanced (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or in Scottish Highers. The Scottish education system and its qualifications are described in the UK country file. Vocational qualifications, including the GNVQ (General National Vocational Qualification) and GSVQ (General Scottish Vocational Qualification) are also considered by institutions for appropriate courses.
- Admissions officers should exercise caution when considering levels of attainment in English language from countries where English is not the medium of instruction, and satisfy themselves that students have reached an acceptable level. The UK country file lists some of the internationally recognised examinations in English as a foreign language, and indicates some minimum acceptable levels of attainment.
- The expression "may be given advanced standing by British higher education institutions" means that a student with the overseas qualification concerned may, at an institution's discretion, be admitted to a course at a point other than the normal starting point as recognition of possession of a previous complete qualification obtained elsewhere. This procedure can take different forms, such as:
- a student is allowed to complete a course in a shorter time than usual but is not exempted from any examinations;
- as above, but with exemption from some examinations;
- a student is admitted directly to the second year of a three-year degree course, or the third year of a four-year degree course;
- a student is admitted directly to the final year of a degree course.
- comparison with Master's degrees in the UK excludes consideration of Master's degrees from the older Scottish universities and from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge - see Higher Degrees in the UK country file.
The information on this edition of International Comparisons has been comprehensively reviewed in terms of its accuracy and currency.
telephone: +44 (0) 870 990 4088
fax: +44 (0) 870 990 1560