Recognition of Prior Learning


What is the recognition of prior learning (RPL)?

The recognition of prior learning (RPL) is a process that recognises previous learning undertaken outside the course of study. This can be through either:

  • Advanced Standing - the use of a prior certificated award to gain entry to a course at a level or stage of study later than the normal entry point;
  • Recognition of prior certificated learning (RPCL) - the use of prior certificated credits to gain exemption from specific module(s) within a University course;
  • Recognition of prior experiential learning (RPEL) - the use of recent previous professional or non-certificated experience to gain exemption from part of a University course.

Decisions regarding RPL are a matter of academic judgement normally made by academic staff. Decisions regarding RPL should be transparent, and demonstrably rigorous and fair.

Achievement used for all types of RPL must have occurred during the last five years, except where it is being used for an Apprenticeship, when there is no time limit. 

Where for academic reasons, a course does not allow RPL to be used, or where opportunities for RPL are limited, this should be stated clearly in the course approval documentation.

Advanced Standing

A student that wishes to apply for a place with Advanced Standing must make an application to Admissions.


RPCL and RPEL Guidance, Forms and Templates

The handling of RPL applications and decisions rests with the Faculties. Staff queries about RPL should be directed to your Faculty Director of Quality in the first instance.

Arts, Humanities and Education

Medicine, Health and Social Care

Science, Engineering and Social Sciences

University regulations for RPL are published in the Regulations for Taught Awards (section 12). This includes important information about our limitations on the number of credits that can be considered for RPL, time limits involved and the evidence and mapping required.

RPL Fees

There is a fee for processing RPL claims. Current fees are as follows:

  • RPCL - £175 (2021/22 academic year)
  • RPEL - £500 (2021/22 academic year)

There is no fee for an Advanced Standing RPL application.

Sometimes a student's employer will pay the fee, in which case they will need to include the signature of the authorised fund-holder. 

No claim will be processed until the fee, or other funding arrangement is confirmed. 


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Last edited: 12/05/2022 10:59:00