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APL – Accreditation of Prior Learning

At UCLan, within the Credit Accumulation and Transfer scheme (CATS), it is possible for students to claim for modules to be awarded towards their course on the basis of previous academic, professional, vocational or experiential learning. In some circumstances, students may claim credit for their elective module, even though their previous learning is not directly related to their main area of study. This process is known as Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL), and can be claimed in a number of ways.

APL can be:

  • Certificated (APCL), which recognises the learning that has been achieved through formal assessment, for which you have received an award/certificate. For example, this could be any previous higher education courses you’ve completed
  • Experiential (APEL), which is learning that has been achieved throughout work, study and life. It’s important to note that this isn’t about experience, but the learning and knowledge that has been gained from it. This will be evidenced via a portfolio

Whilst APL is available for all students, full-time students are limited in the amount of accreditation they can seek without jeopardising their full-time status, but even so, accreditation of one or two modules may be possible. Students should claim within six weeks of the start of their course. For more information, follow the link below for the APCL and APEL Handbooks.

 

Making an APCL claim is free, but there are a few caveats to making an APEL claim:

  • For full time students there is no charge for assessing APEL claims over and above the standard course tuition fees
  • There is a service charge for APEL claims made by part-time students, payable on submission of the portfolio. This is 50% of the taught module fee, and this is non-refundable
  • Students who are awarded advanced entry on to a full time Undergraduate programme will also be charged at 50% of the taught module fee for any full year (6 modules) awards of APEL
  • Awards of APEL towards Postgraduate programmes will be charged at 50% of the module fee whether it’s a single, double or triple module

Finally, if you are trying to claim for APL using a qualification that is more than 5 years old, you will be asked to fill out a Statement of Currency form. This purpose of this is so that “the student can confirm that they have kept up to date with advances in both theory and practice in the field.” If the qualification isn’t directly relevant to the new programme of study, then it is used to “confirm how you have maintained your learning at HE Level and higher level study and research skills since your qualification was awarded.”

The University is committed to the recognition of learning and if you feel that accreditation could benefit you and you would like more information, please contact the APL Team on 01772 895008 or email aplunit@uclan.ac.uk, or consult the documents and links below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Credit is the currency which measures learning achieved at a given level. Notionally, 10 hours of student effort equates to one credit. UCLan has adopted a Modular Structure and Credit Accumulation and Transfer Framework (known as MODCATS) for its courses.

A module is a component of a course with its own approved aims & objectives and assessment methods. A standard module equates to 20 credits, a double module to 40 credits and a half module to 10 credits. The normal workload for a full-time undergraduate programme of study in a standard academic year would be 120 credits, which amounts to 36 - 42 hours of study a week, including guided and self-study. Part-time students can complete their programme on a module by module basis.

An honours degree requires 360 credits in total. Students normally complete 120 credits at each level (i.e. 120 credits at level 4, 120 credits at level 5 and 120 credits at level 6).

If in doubt, ask! Bear in mind that prior learning must be at an appropriate level - learning must be at a higher education level ( i.e. higher than A Level) and it must be of an equivalent level to the learning achieved by students on taught modules; and learning must be able to be evidenced in some way.

For certificated learning you must provide transcripts/certificates and if the qualification is over 5 years old you may also need to complete a Statement of Currency to evidence how you have kept the learning and skills up to date.

For experiential learning you must be able to demonstrate that you do actually have the learning for which you are claiming credit. This will be achieved by the submission of a portfolio of evidence for assessment.

It is important to emphasise that it is the learning and not the experience itself which results in the award of credit. Different people may learn different things from the same experience: it is the ability to identify learning which will be assessed for the award of credit.

If you believe that you have certificated learning equivalent to that required for relevant modules on your course, you can complete and submit an application form with copies of transcripts and certificates attached as proof of the awards obtained.

Certificated learning could be: study at another Higher Education Institution; distance learning; in-house company training; professional or vocational qualifications or any other formal training which has already been assessed in some way. Therefore, you cannot claim for training where only attendance was required.

Your application will be considered by an academic member of staff and credit awarded for your learning, if appropriate, subject to ratification by an Assessment Board.

You can match the learning to a specific module(s) on your programme, or an elective module(s) which are in the electives catalogue, providing your course allows for the registration of free choice electives. You cannot, however, claim for part of a module.

You can claim credit by submitting a portfolio of evidence as negotiated with the Course Leader for your UCLan programme.

This involves working independently (but with some support from the academic) towards identifying, and providing evidence for, learning which matches the learning outcomes for the module(s) you wish to claim against.

Once the learning has been identified, you compile evidence of that learning in the form of a portfolio which will include a reflective account of learning. A reflective account of learning directs attention to the academic nature of your experiential learning.

This is assessed in relation to the learning outcomes required for each module claimed and credit awarded if appropriate.

Whether you are claiming credit for certificated learning or experiential learning or a combination of both, the maximum credit you can be awarded is two thirds of the total credit requirement of your course. However, if you are using a prior qualification which is at the same or at a higher level than the one you are studying with UCLan, in these cases the maximum credit you can be awarded is reduced to one third.

Both full-time and part-time students can apply for APL but full-time students should bear in mind that they must be actually studying for at least 5 modules during an academic year to retain their full-time status. These limits apply to both undergraduate and postgraduate courses, ensuring that you cannot gain a University qualification through APL alone.

Contact us:

APL Co-ordinator
Foster Building 113
University of Central Lancashire
Preston PR1 2HE
Fax: 01772 895008
Email: APLUnit@uclan.ac.uk