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Pakistan Qualifications Framework

Years Levels Award type Award Examples
Higher Education Levels 21 8 Doctoral Ph.d


Masters M.Phil/MS/MBA,M.Sc


Bachelor BE,B.E,B.Arch,BSc(Eng.),BSc(Agri),





Associate Ordinary Bachelor BA/BSc(Pass),ADE,Associate Degrees
Intermediate Level 12


Higher Secondary SchoolCertificate(HSSC) F.A,F.Sc,ICS,I.COM,DBA,D.Com etc
Matriculation Level 10


Secondary School Certificate(SSC) Matric

Middle (3 years)


Primary (1-5 Years)


1.      Pre-primary level:

                                                A child may begin his/her education at the age of three and attend the pre-primary lessons known as Kachi Class within the public schools. Private Schools use the nomenclature for the pre-primary level is Play Group, Nursery, Pre-Junior, Montessori etc. It consists of two (2) years .Pre-Primary education is a functional and managed in schools by provinces in their respective territory.

2.     Primary Level:

                                    Formal education in Pakistan begins from around the age of five. It consists of 5 classes and children usually enroll at the age of 5-9 years. Private schools use the nomenclature as Prep School, British and Scottish Curricula for primary education. In this level the progress from class to class is automatic after passing the required examination.

3.     Middle Level:

                                    Middle school constitutes the period between primary and secondary education and comprises Grades 6 to 8. Private schools use the nomenclature i.e. junior school, British and Scottish Curriculum. The age group is 10-12 years.  The progress from class to class is automatic after passing the required examination. Students proceed to secondary education or to technical training colleges for vocational training.

4.     Secondary School Certificate level:

                                                            Secondary School Certificate is generally referred as High School (10th grade) in the country. A child enters into this level after successful completion of middle. The secondary school child stays for two years in class 1X and X in public/private schools. The curriculum in Matriculation (10th grade) is divided into three streams; Sciences, Arts, Humanities and Vocational/Technical. On the successful completion of the matriculation examination the child is awarded Secondary School Certificate/Matriculation by the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, an examination conducting body.

                                                            Many Private Schools in the country follow the O’level Cambridge Education System. It is divided into three groups; Science group, Commerce group, Humanities group.

5.     Higher Secondary School Certificate level :

Higher Secondary Certificate is generally known as Intermediate (12th

Grade)  in the country. A child enters in this level on successful completion of SSC/O’level.

It is a two years University preparation course and teaching is conducted at college and equivalent institutions. The Curriculum is divided into four course streams; Pre-Medical, Pre-Engineering, Arts & Humanities, Commerce. Successful candidates are awarded Higher Secondary School Certificate by the Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education, an examination conducted body.

                                    Many Private schools in the country follow the A’ level Cambridge Education System. It is divided as; Pre-Medical group, Pre-Engineering group, Business group, Business/Computing, Business/Art etc.

6.     Ordinary Bachelor Level:

            A 2 years Bachelor Degree under Annual System is equivalent to 50 credit hours under the semester system. Students after 2 years Bachelor Degree (Annual system) should be enrolled in Bachelor (Honors) Program to complete remaining 74-86 credit hours. Entry requires HSSC/F.Sc/FA/A’ level.  For the award of 4- years Bachelor Degree between 124-136 credit hours are required

  • 2 year Bachelor Degree (Pass) is offered with three subjects in Arts & Humanities, Commerce, and Natural Sciences. The student after 2 year Bachelor Program (annual system) should be enrolled in Bachelor (Hons) to complete the remaining 74-86 credit hours.
  • 3 years Bachelor Degree (BA (H), BSc (H), LLB) is offered in one subject within Arts & Humanities, Commerce and Natural Sciences.

7.      Bachelor Degree Level :

  • Professional Degrees (MBBS, BDS, BE, PharmD, DVM) consists of 4-5 years duration. The professional Degrees are mostly offered in the disciplines i.e. Medical Sciences, Agriculture and veterinary sciences, Engineering and Technology, Pharmacy. The entry requires HSC/A’ level in a relevant subject and the test conducted by the testing services in a country or by the respective University requires at the time of admission.
  • 4-years Bachelor Degree (BS, BBA, BA, LLB, Med, Madarsah (Shadat-ul-Alama), etc) consists of 4 years duration. The degrees are mostly offered in a Agriculture & Veterinary Sciences, Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Earth Sciences, Applied Sciences, Engineering, Social Sciences, Business & Management Sciences, Arts and Humanities.
  • 1- 2 years Master Degrees are offered in Arts & Humanities, Commerce and Natural Sciences depending on the duration of the earlier Bachelor Degree

Credit Hours:

  • Credit hours means teaching a theory course for 50 minutes each week throughout the semester
  • One credit hour in laboratory or practical work/project would require lab contact of two hours per week throughout the semester.

8.      Master Degree Level:

                            Post-Graduation level consists of Mater of Philosophy (MPhil)/Master of Science (MS)/r. It is generally known as 18 Years Master Degree.

                                    MPhil/MS program is 1 ½ -2 years program. The entry requires Sixteen years of schooling or 4 year education (130 credit hours) after HSSC/F.A. /F.Sc/Grade 12 equivalents for admission in the M.Phil/MS.  The GAT-General conducted by the National Testing Service with a minimum 50% cumulative score will be required at the time of admission to M.Phil/M.S. For award of M.Phil/M.S/Equivalent degree, candidates will need to complete 30 credit hours, out of which at least 24 credit hours will be for course work and minimum 6 credit hours for research work/thesis.

                        The courses like FCPS, MCPS, and FRCS are formally not equivalent to MS/MPhil, however, these are entitled to get admission in PhD

9.     Doctoral Degree Level :

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD):

PhD program consists of 3-5 years. The entry requires

MPhil/MS degree with minimum CGPA 3.0 (out of 4.0 in the Semester System) or First Division (in the Annual System) and a GAT Subject Test conducted by the National Testing Service. In disciplines where this test is not available, the test will be conducted by the National Testing Service (NTS). Qualifying score for NTS subject test will be minimum 60% cumulative score.  If the Test is not available in NTS subject list, then a University Committee consisting of at least 3 PhD faculty members in the subject area and approved by the HEC will conduct the Test at par with GRE Subject Test and qualifying score for this will be 70% score.

Additional Ph.D. level course work of at least 18 credit hours followed by Comprehensive Examination and an open defense of Dissertation is essential for the award of Ph.D. degree. Acceptance/publication of at least one research paper in an HEC approved “X” category journal is essential for the award of Ph.D. degree (“Y” in case of Social Sciences only).  The Plagiarism Test must be conducted on the Dissertation before its submission to the two foreign experts, as described below.

            The Ph.D. Dissertation must be evaluated by at least two Ph.D. experts from technologically/academically advanced foreign countries in addition to local Committee members.

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`A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "There is no day on which Allah frees servants of His from Fire more than [those freed on] the Day of `Arafat. And, verily, He draws near and then proudly speaks about them [i.e. the pilgrims] before the angels, saying, 'What do these seek?'" (Muslim)

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