The Norwegian qualifications framework for lifelong learning
The Norwegian qualifications framework for lifelong learning (NQF) gives a view of the Norwegian educational system and its levels of qualifications. NQF is a contribution to facilitate the work on lifelong learning.
On a later stage the Norwegian qualifications framework is to be used as a transparency tool for comparison of Norwegian qualifications with qualifications from other countries, via the European qualifications framework (EQF) and/or the European qualifications framework for higher education (QF-EHEA). NQF intends to promote cross-border mobility.
Implementation of the NQF
The NQF gives a description of the formal Norwegian education and training system. The NQF levels are formulated on the basis of what a person know, can do, and is capable of doing as a result of a learning process. The outcomes of the completed learning process are described in the categories “knowledge”, “skills” and “general competences”. The NQF also gives an overview of included degrees, diplomas, certificates, craft or journeyman’s certificates and documents of skill.
The NQF is a national overarching qualifications framework. Study programs and subject related learning outcomes descriptions are written in syllabics and curricula’s.
The NQF is a tool for easier understanding of the:
– correlation between the levels of qualifications in the educational system
– difference between the learning outcomes at the various levels in the NQF
– different paths to achieve a qualification through education
How to use the Norwegian qualifications framework
The Norwegian Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (NQF) can be used as a support to:
– improve communication between the educational sector and the labour market
– offer a superior description of what a pupil/-apprentice/-candidate is expected to know, understand and be able to do after successful completion of learning
– describe the workings of the Norwegian system in a new manner, which will pave the way for improved education and career guidance
– facilitate the comparison of qualifications from other countries, via the EQF and the QF-EHEA
– open the way for the development of new instruments for validation of competencies achieved outside the formal educational system
The levels of qualifications in the NQF
The Norwegian qualifications framework (NQF) has seven levels. All levels are defined as a qualification written as learning outcomes in the categories of knowledge, skills and general competences.
Its core is the seven reference levels of qualifications, from those obtained at the end of lower secondary education, (level 2) to the highest (level 8, ph.d. or equivalent). The three highest levels correspond to higher education levels as also defined within the European Higher Education Area. Norway has non qualifications at level 1.
The Norwegian table of qualifications
The Ministry of education and research has prescribed on what level the enrollment of diplomas, degrees and certificates in the Norwegian qualifications framework (NQF). Only the main levels in the formally recognized education system are enrolled in the NQF.
Levels | Diplomas and degrees
Certificate for primary and lower secondary education
Document of competence in basic competence, partially completed upper secondary education
Certificate for upper secondary education and training
Diploma for tertiary vocational education (Enrolled in tertiary vocational education 1 and 2)
University College Graduate (Partial level qualifications/ intermediate qualifications)
General teacher training programme
Master of Arts
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Master of International Business (MIB)
Master of Technology Management
Master i rettsvitenskap (laws)
Candidata/candidatus medicinae (cand.med.)
Candidata/candidatus medicinae veterinariae (cand.med.vet.)
Candidata/candidatus psychologiae (cand.psychol.)
Candidata/candidatus theologiae (cand.theol.)
Philosophiae doctor (ph.d.)
Doctor philosophiae (dr.philos.)
Diploma, artistic development programme
Inclusion of reference to the EQF and QF-EHEA in certificates and Diploma Supplements
In the coming years the NQF, EQF and/or QF-EHEA level will be noted in diplomas, certificates, documents of skills and Europass-documents issued by national authorities and education institutions issuing diplomas and degrees.
The purpose is comparison of level between Norwegian qualifications and qualifications from other countries, via the European qualifications framework (EQF) and/or the European qualifications framework for higher education (QF-EHEA). This could make a comparison easier and improve the possibility of cross-border working opportunities.
Terms and concepts
In the document you can find an overview of the key terms and concepts used in the national qualifications framework, and explanations of the most important of them. The sorting is based on related concepts.
The Norwegian Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (NKR) was adopted in December 2011. The learning outcomes approach is an integral part of the work on quality in primary, secondary and tertiary education in Norway.
Regulation of NQF and EQF
The Ministry of Education and Research provided the Regulation of NQF and EQF on the 8. November 2017.
Read The Regulation of NQF and EQF (in Norwegian)
The referencing process
The Ministry of Education and Research presented the report referencing the levels of the Norwegian Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (NQF) to the levels of the European Qualifications Framework of Lifelong learning (EQF) at a meeting in the EQF Advisory Group on Friday, 6. June 2014. The report was approved and met all 10 referencing criteria..
The referencing of levels is based on a report from 2012. This report was prepared by a working group consisting of a group of stakeholders, which provided suggestions on the referencing of the levels in the NQF to the EQF. In addition, the report presents the self-certification (assessment of compatibility) of the qualifications framework against the Bologna framework (QF-EHEA).
The presentation of the referencing report is the first step in the process of establishing links between the levels in the NQF and the levels in the EQF. This will make it easier to compare Norwegian qualifications with qualifications from other European countries. The Ministry of Education and Research plans to begin the process of adopting the NQF into Norwegian law as a regulation in the course of autumn 2014–spring 2015.
Read the documents that were presented to the EQF Advisory Group
Placing qualifications from non-formal learning into the National Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (NQF)
In October 2013, the Ministry of Education and Research appointed a committee with the mandate of exploring the possibility of placing qualifications acquired outside the formal education system (non-formal qualifications) into the NQF. The committee presented its report to the Minister of Education and Research on 30 April 2015.
The committee was divided on several issues, such as the assessment of the need for placing non-formal qualifications into the NQF, and how placement should be done. The committee’s report therefore includes two different models, describing alternative approaches and solutions.
The report is in Norwegian only. Download the report here
NOKUT is the national contact point for the Norwegian Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (NQF) and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).
PO Box 578,
Phone: + 47 21 02 18 00 (Switchboard)
Telefax: + 47 21 02 18 01