Recognition of prior learning

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) (formerly known as Accreditation of Prior Learning) is the process by which applicants of all ages and backgrounds offset their experiences and achievements against elements of a programme. It is a mechanism to enable the successful completion of university qualifications and follows the principle that students should not duplicate previous learning.

The term RPL encompasses both Recognition of Prior Certificated Learning (RPCL) and Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL), definitions are offered in the 'Scope and definitions' section of the Policy (see link below).

Both types of prior learning are equally valid and can be used in the following situations:

  • Admission with advanced standing - applicants may request admission to a programme at a stage later than the normal entry point.
  • Module exemption - applicants may request exemption from one or more modules on the basis of credits or experience gained previously. This would normally be applied for prior to the commencement of their studies but applications will also be considered whilst on the programme.
  • The University also recognises credit transfer as a mechanism for allowing students to change programme and/or institution by transferring the credits they have already achieved. The process for changing programme within the University is supported by Student Services whereas transfer from another institution is managed by the Admissions team.

Key documents

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (updated in 2023) 
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Application Form - to be used for requests for module exemption


For queries about submitting an RPL claim, please contact the Admissions Tutor of the relevant School. The following contacts may be used for queries (please ensure your email is clearly marked "RPL claim"):

  • The University’s Admissions team may assist with queries relating to admission with advanced standing:
  • The University’s Student Records and Examinations team processes claims for module exemption on the basis of RPL, following consideration by the School. Contact:

Appeals against RPL decisions

For queries regarding an appeal in relation to an RPL claim, please refer to the Admissions Complaints and Appeals Policy: