National Qualification Framework for Saudi Arabia (NQF-KSA)

An organizational structure used to place, design, develop and recognize qualifications in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Cross-Disciplinary Programs

Programs in which more than one discipline is involved, with specific learning outcomes that cannot be achieved through a single specialized knowledge, providing that the total body of knowledge gained from existing modules does not exceed 10%.

Early Graduation

A certificate of qualifications accredited by the awarding body for a specific degree, halfway completed towards an extended academic or applied program such as a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and/or Doctoral degree program. The degree or certificate is granted to a learner if a certain level of knowledge, skills, and values in a specific discipline is achieved. This certificate is not equivalent to a full degree; rather, it is a recognition that a learner has fulfilled the required level of knowledge, skills and values that qualify such a learner for an academic level of early graduation.

Major Specialization

A subject-area of specialty studied in college or any other recognized educational institution, with their basic area of specialization. The number of credit hours for a major specialization should be a minimum of 30% and a maximum of 60% of the primary requirements for the major specialization. University requirements are not included thereof. These requirements should be included in the learner's transcript.

Minor Specialization

A support specialization outside the primary area of specialization studied in college or any recognized educational institution. The number of credit hours for a minor specialization should be a minimum of 25% and a maximum of 30% of the primary requirements for the specialization. This should be included in the learner's transcript along with the specialization field.

Qualification Placement

The linkage of qualifications issued by recognized national and/or international academic educational and training institutions with the associated levels of the NQF-KSA.

Distance Education

The use of information and communication technology (ICT) or other alternative tools to pursue and manage educational processes synchronously and/or asynchronously, where the teacher/faculty member and the learner are not physically together, according to what is approved by governing laws and regulations. Distance education includes correspondence and integrated education. Educational and/or training entities awarding qualifications can deliver their respective programs, as a whole or in part, through distance education.

Awarding Body

An educational institution, founded for the purpose of delivering educational and training programs, licensed by competent authorities, and operating in light of national or international laws and regulations.

Credit Hours

Amount of time required for acquiring a qualification, which is calculated by the number of instructional hours required to achieve the learning outcomes of a qualification.

Learning Domains

The knowledge and understanding, skills, and values, autonomy and responsibility learners are expected to acquire at a specific qualification level resulting in specific learning outcomes.

Learning Outcomes

Statements of what a learner is expected to know, understand and/or be able to demonstrate at the end of a period of learning, which are defined in terms of knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes. Learning outcomes can be measured using evaluation tools consistent with the associated level.

Framework Levels

Eight levels encompassing the qualifications of public education, technical and vocational training, and higher education sectors: academic, applied, research, civil and military.

Qualification Alignment

Placement of qualifications issued by educational or training institutions (mostly foreign) that are approved by relevant Saudi authorities on comparable NQF-KSA levels.


A set of learning outcomes and credit hours issued in the form of a document (certificate, diploma, or degree) by an educational and/or training institution as a recognized awarding body.


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