Frameworks for higher education qualifications in England, Wales, and in Scotland have been published. These contain the following common descriptor for masters degrees awarded within UK.

Masters degrees are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

  1. a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of academic discipline, field of study, or area of professional practice;
  2. a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship;
  3. originality in their application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline;
  4. conceptual understanding that enables the student:
  • to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline


  • to evaluate methodologies and develop difficult critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.

Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

  1. deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgments in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
  2. demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level;
  3. continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level;
  4. and will have
  5. the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:
  • the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility;
  • decision making in complex and unpredictable situations


  • the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.