Accreditation of prior learning

This policy sets out the University’s requirements for the management and assessment of Accredited Prior Learning (APL). The regulatory requirements relating to APL are stated in Senate Regulation 2: Regulations governing admission and registration for taught programmes.

This policy applies to prospective students who wish to apply for the recognition of credits gained previously at the University or another institution towards a University award. It does not apply to the assessment of an applicant’s eligibility for entry to a programme based on non-standard entry qualifications/experience.

Appendix 1

The table below provides a summary of the maximum number of credits for which APL may be granted for University awards. The actual number of APL credits allowed for a particular programme is detailed in the relevant programme specification.

University award   Level  Credits for award  Maximum APL credits 
Certificate of Higher Education  120  60 
Diploma of Higher Education  240  120
Foundation degree  240 120
3 year full-time (or equivalent part-time/distance learning) Honours degree  360  120 
4 year full-time Integrated Masters degree  480  240
Postgraduate Certificate  60  30
Postgraduate Diploma  120 60
Masters degree  180 60*

*taught credits only.

Appendix 2

General requirements

  1. Identifying whether a claim for APL might be appropriate and contacting the relevant department/distance learning hub to seek advice and guidance.
  2. Ensuring that they apply for the programme of study for which APL might be claimed.
  3. Familiarising themselves with the programme and modules including the intended learning outcomes to establish where prior learning might be claimed.
  4. Submitting a claim for APL at the earliest opportunity, by deadlines specified by the relevant department and prior to registration.
  5. Providing all the required information for an APL application to be assessed and complying with departmental guidance in this respect.

Applying for APCL

  1. Providing detailed evidence of the structure, level and content of previous studies to enable the University to make a decision on their application.
  2. Considering whether previous studies are likely to match modules for which exemption is sought in terms of content, learning outcomes and level before an application is submitted.
  3. Ensuring that applications submitted relate to demonstrated learning achieved within the previous five years.

Applying for APEL

  1. Applicants applying for APEL should recognise that it is the outcomes of any learning gained from experience that may be accredited and not just the experience itself. There will therefore be a requirement to reflect on this learning during the application process.
  2. Applicants should be aware that submitting an application for APEL will require the production of a written submission which may, for example, include a commentary on their experience or a portfolio of work and they will be required to work on this independently.
  3. Applicants wishing to submit an application for APEL are advised to contact the relevant admissions tutor/programme director to discuss whether a claim can be pursued, the nature of the submission required and timescale for its consideration.
  4. Applicants should only start work on such a submission if they hold an offer for the programme for which they wish to claim APEL.
  5. Applicants who decide to submit a claim for APEL should be aware that submission of a claim does not guarantee it will be successful.


  1. Publishing clear written APL policies and procedures for programmes for which APL is available.
  2. Advising students seeking APL for campus-based programmes on departmental requirements including documentation to be submitted or referring applicants to the appropriate distance learning hub.
  3. Assessing applications for APL, ensuring that they demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes for the modules for which exemption is being claimed.

Admissions Office/Distance Learning hub

  1. Providing initial advice to applicants on the documentation to be completed and sending out the AP(E)L application form.
  2. Advising applicants on deadlines for submitting applications for APL and the timescale for the consideration of applications.
  3. Sending the completed application to the admissions tutor/programme director for consideration.
  4. Notifying the applicant of the decision with respect to their application for APL.
  5. Where an application for APL is granted ensuring that students are provided with the information specified in section 6.3 above.
  6. Updating the applicant’s pre-registration record to include:
    • modules from which exemption has been granted
    • normal and maximum periods of registration, taking account of exemptions granted
    • any adjustment to the fee
  7. Assessing the impact the reduction in the number of credits being studies may have on their status as full-time students and/or any visa and entry requirements.

Registry/Distance Learning hub

  1. Ensuring that the student’s transcript reflects the amount and level of credit for which exemptions have been granted.
  2. Ensuring that the student’s post registration record includes:
    • the appropriate normal and extended registration periods
    • modules from which exemption has been granted
    • normal and maximum periods of registration
  3. Advising the student on any revisions to their timetable that arise from the exemptions that have been granted.

Appendix 3

Download the accreditation of prior learning application form (Word .docx, 37.7kb)

Back to top