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Postgraduate study

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Knowledge and skills can come from many types of formal and informal learning. At Teesside University, we recognise that many students acquire learning and skills, in employment or other working/voluntary contexts, which may be directly relevant to their planned higher education course. RPL is a process for recognising that learning for academic purposes. This recognition may give the learning a credit value in a credit-based structure and allow it to be counted towards the completion of a higher education award. This may also reduce the length of time required for formal study towards that award.

Academic credit may be awarded, where appropriate, for:

  • certificated learning: learning which has previously been assessed, and for which an award has been made by another education provider. This is called Recognition of Prior Certificated Learning (RPCL)


  • experiential learning: the identification, assessment and formal acknowledgement of learning and achievement outside of formal education or training systems. This may include work experience, voluntary activity or other occupational learning which is not usually certificated but is considered and recognised for academic purposes. This is called Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL).

RPEL may be used:

  • as the basis for admission to a course
  • for exemption against specific modules within a course
  • for advanced standing, such as being granted entry to a later stage of a course.

Successful applications for RPL result in the award of academic credit. However marks/grades will not be awarded.

Fees and loans

Whilst there is no charge for consideration of applications for RPCL, there is a charge for RPEL applications. This consists of a £50 administration fee plus 30% of the standard price for the total credits awarded.

If you are applying for RPEL against a Masters degree then you will not be entitled to the Postgraduate Loan as this is awarded to students who are studying a full 180 credit stand-alone Masters degree only.

RPL case study

Daniel David
BSc (Hons) Integrated Care Studies

Some of my colleagues had studied a similar course so I decided to come to Teesside University to motivate myself by doing some academic work. Teesside University has a contract with my place of work and the University is close to home so getting to it was easy.

The University considers RPEL on this degree course. The tutor was really helpful in accrediting my prior learning as my professional courses were from abroad. The guidance given by my tutor enabled me to successfully complete the portfolio and continue with my degree course. I’m still studying for this course and really enjoyed the Human Factors module.

School contacts and supporting information

There is a contact point in each School to assist applicants with the RPL process:

Further information is available in the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (pdf - 315kb) document which is supplemented by the following documents:

International students

If you are an international student, please refer to the International section for entry requirements. There are specific country pages to assist you with this.

Please note – acceptance of Recognition of Prior Learning may affect the duration of your course and therefore affect your Tier 4 visa.

University Staff

Staff guidance is available from the Academic Registry staff development and guidance section on SharePoint.