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Recognition of prior learning

What is recognition of prior learning?

This is where we accept a previous qualification as meeting the learning outcomes (or covering the syllabus) for a course or module, so you don't need to take it as part of your degree.

This reduces the number of courses (and the length of time) required to complete your degree.

For credit to be awarded for your prior learning, you must have completed a syllabus of similar level and depth as part of a previous qualification, normally within the previous five years.

Different courses have their own rules, which are outlined in the programme regulations. For other rules associated with recognition of prior learning, see General Regulations (Section 3).

How is your prior learning recognised?


We recognise qualifications automatically if we have already confirmed that they meet the learning outcomes of a particular course. If you hold any of these qualifications, subject to any limits imposed by your programme, we will award credit for your prior learning (a process known as accreditation of prior learning, or APL).

The qualifications we accept for automatic recognition and accreditation of prior learning are provided for some programmes below:


Recognition of prior learning on the basis of qualifications not known to us is called discretionary. If you believe a qualification you hold reflects similar learning outcomes to a course of your chosen programme, you can apply for it to be recognised and accredited as prior learning.

We consider these on a case-by-case basis, and there is normally a separate fee for this process.

How to apply

You need to apply for any prior learning to be recognised and accredited. You can do this on the relevant section of the online application form.

If you have already submitted your application but now wish to request recognition of your prior learning, please contact us.

We will not consider any application for recognition of prior learning if you have already entered the exam for the course concerned.

What happens next?

We write to you with a decision. We granted, recognition of prior learning is valid for a limited period, which will be stated in the letter.

If you do not attempt any examinations during this period (normally one academic year), this offer will expire and you will need to reapply.