School of Health Sciences

RP(E)L Recognition of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Applicants holding an offer of study for our MSc Adult, Children’s, Mental Health and Learning Disability Nursing programmes have an additional step to their application.

What is RP(E)L?

This page outlines the preparation and submission process of RP(E)L Recognition of Prior (Experiential) Learning required to pass following an offer.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

This is the process by which the faculty recognises an individual’s previous certified learning, arising from an assessed programme of study (e.g. a degree).

Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RP(E)L)

This is the process by which the faculty recognises an individual’s previous, relevant informal learning, arising from personal experience outside a formal assessed programme of study.

RP(E)L for entry to MSc Pre-Registration Nursing


Pre-registration nursing programmes should normally be no less than three years in duration. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) permit us to offer a programme over two years to those applicants who can show evidence of prior learning that is relevant to the programme. The NMC guidance makes it clear, however, that this is not a simple shortening of the programme.

Applicants who wish to be considered for the two year MSc programme must demonstrate that they have gained the same knowledge and skills as those students who undertake the full course. Credit is given for evidence of learning and not for experience alone.

Making a claim for RPEL requires effort and commitment on your part as you will have to compile a portfolio of evidence to show how you have met the programme’s outcomes and the NMC Standards. We will assist you in this process but you must be ready to put in that effort.

All offers of places for the programmes are conditional on you submitting this portfolio by the agreed date and the portfolio passing the RP(E)L process.

Principles of RP(E)L

RPEL claims must demonstrate achievement in the following criteria:

  • Currency: you must write about your recent experience and show contemporary knowledge and skills. The claim should therefore focus on activities within the last 5 years. This does not mean you cannot make reference to any significant learning acquired before that time, but you must be able to show that you have continued to use and update this learning.
  • Validity and Relevance: you must be able to show that your prior learning is valid (i.e. that it genuine) and related to the field of nursing you are applying for.
  • Authenticity: you must present work that is entirely your own.
  • Focus and Clarity: the work that you present must be comprehensive and you must make clear links to evidence (i.e. referencing).
  • Sufficiency: the portfolio must demonstrate enough learning from your previous experiences to be valid.

Submission date

You must be holding an offer of study first before you can submit your RP(E)L.

The final deadline for its submission is Wednesday 31 July 2024.

However you are strongly advised to submit earlier than this

Producing the portfolio

The portfolio is made of three sections that require evidence.

Section one

Relevant Practice Experience (minimum 700 hours) – this section is where you evidence your relevant experience through providing the following:

  1. A reference from a manager or equivalent that verifies the number of hours worked and the activities carried out during that work. The reference must be on headed paper and signed by line manager/equivalent, or an email from your line manager’s (or equivalent) work email address.
  2. Further information that outlines how you achieved these hours including the types of activities undertaken in your role in preparation for studying nursing.
  3. A job description/role specification.

Section two

Prior learning and experience (which will be equivalent to 968 hours of theory) that demonstrate underpinning knowledge that will provide a good grounding to address the following topics whilst you are on the MSc programme:

  1. Becoming an accountable professional
  2. Promoting health & preventing ill health
  3. Assessing needs and planning care
  4. Providing and evaluating care
  5. Communication

Throughout this part of the portfolio you should draw on relevant, published material and reference your work using the Harvard referencing system.
Please take care not to breach patient / client confidentiality in your work. You may write in the first person.

Section three

Once you have received an offer of study, you will receive an email with instructions on how to complete the RP(E)L. This will include guidance, a link to the submission form as well as some signposting to our Moodle where you can find help and support.

When do I submit my RP(E)L?

Offer holders will receive instructions via email on how to complete and submit their portfolio via Moodle Direct. You will also be able to access additional resources, guidance and a forum where you can submit questions regarding completion of the RP(E)L. The deadline for portfolio submissions is Wednesday 31 July 2024, however we strongly encourage you to submit as early as possible to avoid any delays to your application or the decision making process.

If you have any issues accessing or submitting via our Moodle direct site for RP(E)L submissions, you can use our RP(E)L Submission form and email to :

What happens next?

Your portfolio will be assessed by faculty staff and a decision will be communicated with you at the earliest opportunity. If you have any queries regarding completion of the RP(E)L, you can send an enquiry to and we’ll get back to you as swiftly as possible. We aim to inform all applicants on the outcome of their RP(E)L as soon as possible, and no later than four weeks after submission.