College of Contract Management United Kingdom
College of Contract Management
United Kingdom

What is a Level 7 qualification in the UK? CMI Level 7 Diploma course

What is a Level 7 qualification?

Level 7 qualification is all too easy to get bogged down in strings of numbers and letters when it comes to trying to work out what a qualification actually means. Exactly what you call a qualification seems to change regularly and you’re left unsure as to what exactly you’re applying for.

Let’s take an example with one of the courses offered by us here at the College of Contract Management – the CMI Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership. In this post, we’ll look through and see what that actually means and why.

Firstly, it’s important to note that we work under the UK awards framework, so it’s possible that if you’re elsewhere in the world, a “level 7” qualification may mean something different. We’ll come back to Europe later, as there’s been some effort to integrate the various European awards systems.

In the UK Education System

The UK has nine bandings of awards – entry level, and then levels 1-8. These run right the way through from grades 1-3 at GCSE (or D-G for older GCSEs), which count as a level 1 qualification, through to PhDs, which count as level 8. For a full list of what’s contained in each level, you can take a look at the UK government website.

Level 7 Qualification

The fact that our course in strategic management and leadership is labelled as a “Level 7 Diploma” tells you that it fits under level 7. Diplomas are just one of the forms that a level 7 qualification can take, along with awards, certificates and other similar terms. As a general rule, a diploma is an academically focused qualification, awarded by an educational institute such as the College of Contract Management. Not every level 7 qualification is labelled as such, but many are, especially if they can be of several different levels, like an NVQ.

What is a Level 7 qualification?

RQF Qualification

Many qualifications in the UK are put together using the Regulated Qualifications Framework (or RQF). This helps keep them consistent with one another and provides guidance on what any given qualification should be classified as.

Other qualifications that also count as level 7 include master’s degrees (MBA, MSc, MEng etc) and post graduate diploma (PGD/PGCE). That should give you some idea of the level at which the course operates and what it is equivalent to. It also gives an idea of what sort of level you should be at before thinking about starting the course – as it’s operating at a postgraduate level, it will be expected that you’ll either be a graduate (or have another award at a similar level), or have sufficient work experience to be operating at that level.

In European Education System

If you’re in Europe, then a UK level 7 qualification such as ours will also count as level 7 on the European Qualifications Framework (or EQF), which is a scheme designed to try and compare the various European qualifications. For example, under the EQF, a UK level 7 qualification is roughly equivalent to master’s degree from a German vocational university (or Fachhochschule) or an Italian laurea magistrale.

CMI Level 7 Diploma

The “CMI” at the start of our course name tells you that the diploma is awarded by the Chartered Management Institute, who are usually known as the CMI. CMI courses are delivered at a variety of levels and CMI qualifications can be offered in a variety of formats. In this particular case, this is an online CMI course, delivered by distance learning methods, but that isn’t referenced in the name of the award. In order to find out those sorts of details, you will usually need to look at the details of the qualification in more depth.

Note that this is slightly different to a course which is simply accredited by an institution – in our course, the CMI actually award the diploma, rather than just accrediting the course content. However, both provide some quality assurance, as the body in question (the CMI in this case) will have examined the course content and been satisfied that it meets their standards.

Level 7 live online course

Level 7 live online learning courses are relatively uncommon – most such courses are undertaken in a classroom environment, although there is a recent trend towards making advanced learning as accessible as possible. The live online learning courses have a number of advantages that have driven this trend, the most obvious being that you can access them from anywhere in the world. However, as well as that, the live online courses are often significantly cheaper to study, due to the lack of overhead costs compared to a face-to-face course.

Hopefully, that gives you an example of a level 7 qualification and goes through what it means in practice. If you have any questions about the course, or want to find out more about other qualifications of all levels that we offer, please just email me on