What is the difference between level 7 and level 8 on the NFQ
The NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications) was set up in 2003 and separates the levels of education attained into 10 tiers. Level 3 for example is at Junior Cert level - Holders of the Leaving Certificate can apply for studies from Level 5 to Level 8. Levels 9 and 10 are Masters and PHD courses and these are open to students who have already completed a Level 8 degree.
Level 7 degrees are known as ordinary degrees. In the older (pre-2003) system they were known as diplomas. They are generally three years in duration and students mainly apply for these courses through the CAO with some private colleges also offering level 7 courses.
A Level 8 is known as an honours degree and are completed mostly at universities. They are generally four years in duration, with some exceptions. For example, medicine is five or six years and Arts degrees are often three years. Students mainly apply for these courses through the CAO with some private colleges also offering level 8 qualifications.