Recognition of Prior Learning - frequently asked questions Study here

RPL credits can be awarded for formal study or for learning gained through your experiences in a work, voluntary, home or leisure environment.

Recognition of Prior Certificated Learning (RPCL) is where credit is awarded for learning which has already been assessed and formally recognised with a certificate as part of a completed or partly-completed programme of study or qualification (involving academic, professional or vocational courses).

Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) is used to award credit for learning gained through other life experiences. Since this learning will not have been previously assessed, a claim for RPEL credit involves the submission of work for assessment (such as a report, portfolio, project, performance, written assignment, oral presentation, interview or presentation of artefacts, such as items you have designed, for example). This work will be assessed by University of Greenwich tutors.

Occasionally, an RPL application may contain a combination of RPCL and RPEL.

The credit framework requires all university certificate, diploma, foundation degree, undergraduate degree or postgraduate qualifications to be defined at levels 4, 5, 6, or 7:

  • A Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE)/Higher National Certificate (HNC) involves the accumulation of 120 credits at level 4
  • A Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)/Higher National Diploma (HND)/foundation degree (FdSc, FdA, FdEng) involves the accumulation of 240 credits at levels 4 and 5
  • An undergraduate honours degree (BA, BSc) involves the accumulation of 360 credits across levels 4, 5 and 6
  • Master's degrees normally comprise 180 credit points at level 7 (postgraduate).

To make a successful claim for credit which is used for exemption or direct entry, the learning you have achieved must be at the same level as the learning you would be expected to achieve as part of your programme of study. For example, to count towards the first year of an undergraduate degree your previous learning must have been from the first year of another degree course or equivalent level of qualification such as a foundation degree, HND/C, professional/vocational qualification or evidence of learning from experience of equivalent level.

The grade for any credits gained via RPL will not be transferred for the purpose of making the University of Greenwich award, unless it has been recognised as a result of external credit-rating by the university, or where there is an agreement with another higher education institution (HEI) – like a university of college of higher education – to recognise such a transfer of grades.

Your final award will therefore normally be calculated using only the grades attained from study at the University of Greenwich. For example, where a student has been given direct entry to a later stage in a programme and undertaken only the final stage of an undergraduate degree at the University of Greenwich, the honours classification will be based on the grades attained in that final stage.

For the majority of its awards, the university will recognise RPL up to a maximum limit of 50% of the credit requirements for that particular named qualification.

An application for RPL must be made as early as possible, as part your application process, and normally before you are formally registered on to a programme. This allows your claim to be considered in a timely fashion and for you to be given clear information about the courses you will need to take at the university, before you embark on the programme.

You should not assume that you are exempt from any stage/course until your claim has been formally accepted and you have been notified in writing.

There is normally no fee to pay for the assessment and award of credit for RPL. Please check with your RPL co-ordinator.  

For most programmes of study, being granted RPL does not mean that you will receive a reduction in the tuition fees payable for your programme of study.  If you are going to be studying on an apprenticeship programme or you will be sponsored by the NHS/Health sector, please check with your RPL co-ordinator.

An application for RPL may have implications for your student funding and financial support arrangements. If you are thinking of applying for RPL please contact the Student Finance and Financial Support Team for advice on how it may affect you financially, at the campus where your programme will be based:

Greenwich Campus

Tel: 020 8331 8526/8553

Avery Hill Campus

Tel: 020 8331 9585

Medway Campus

Tel: 020 8331 9324/9735

There may be fee or visa implications for international students who obtain credit and are therefore no longer registered for a sufficient number of courses to be equivalent to full-time study. Advice should be sought from the International Student Advisers based in the campus Student Centres.

  • You can save time by completing your studies more quickly
  • You can avoid having to repeat learning you have already undertaken
  • You can have learning gained through experience recognised at higher education level.