Accreditation of Prior Learning

We recognise that you’ve been learning all your life and have built up a wide range of abilities and transferable skills . As part of your undergraduate or postgraduate degree you can use that experience to get a headstart on your new degree, using our accreditation of prior learning (APL).

Whether you have qualifications from a previous degree, or experience working in a relevant industry, you can use that time to claim credit on your degree, in some cases replacing your elective module. APL can come in two forms:

  • Certificated (APCL)
    APCL recognises prior learning where you completed an assessment where you received a certificate, such as a higher education course you completed before coming to university.
  • Experiential (APEL)
    APEL is the knowledge you’ve learned through work, study or life experiences. More than just spending time in an industry, you’ll have to show a portfolio of work to prove what you’ve learnt from that experience.

Making a claim for recognition of prior learning is free for certificated study (APCL), although claims for experiential study (APEL) can depend on your student status.

The potential costs of claiming APEL

Claiming with a qualification more than five years old

If you’re trying to claim for APL using a qualification that is more than five years old, you will be asked to fill out a Statement of Currency form, so you can prove you have kept up your knowledge.

If your qualification isn’t completely relevant to the degree module you want to claim for, then we will ask how you have maintained your study and research since your qualification was awarded.


Accreditation of prior certificated learning guidance (APCL)

Accreditation of prior experiential leaning guidance (APEL)

Frequently asked questions

Accreditation FAQs

Your degree is measured in credits. Roughly, 10 hours of study time equates to one credit.

One standard module is equal to 20 credits, a double module to 40 credits and a half module to 10 credits. Your standard academic year adds up to 120 credits equal to 36-42 hours of study each week.

An honours degree requires 360 credits in total.

Just ask us! Our team will be able to help you decide if you could claim.

As a guide, your prior learning must be at a similar level to your degree, higher than A Level qualifications, and similar to the module you are trying to claim for.

For certificated (APCL) learning you must provide transcripts or certificates. If the qualification is over five years old you may also need to show how you have kept that skill up to date.

For experiential (APEL) learning you must be able to show what you have learnt, for example by submitting a portfolio of evidence for assessment.

Certificated learning could be:

  • study at another Higher Education Institution
  • distance learning
  • in-house company training
  • professional or vocational qualifications
  • any other formal training which has already been assessed in some way. Courses where you just have to turn up don’t count.

Your application will be considered by an academic member of staff and ratified by an assessment panel.

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

This involves showing, and providing evidence for, learning which is equal to the module you want to claim against.

The maximum credit you can be awarded is two thirds of the total for 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 us, in these cases the maximum credit you can be awarded is reduced to one third.

Qualifications equal to degree level

  • NVQ Level 4 = Degree Level 4/5
  • CACHE Advanced Diploma in Childcare = Degree Level 4/5
  • Open University Support Teacher’s Assistant = Degree Level 4
  • Certificate in Education = Degree Levels 4/5
  • Edexcel (BTEC) Higher National Certificate = Degree Level 4/5
  • Edexcel (BTEC) Higher National Diploma = Degree Levels 4/5

Qualifications not equal to degree level

  • NVQ Level 2
  • NVQ Level 3
  • Edexcel BTEC National Certificate