Accreditation of Prior Learning

APL - Claiming credit towards qualifications

Many students enter university already having undertaken study in Higher Education. The University also recognises that many students, and particular mature students, also possess an extensive range of skills and knowledge derived from a variety of professional, vocational, community, leisure and personal contexts. APL provides students with the opportunity to have this prior learning counted as part of their course. APL has two components:

The Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) is where credit is awarded for learning that has already been assessed and certificated as part of a completed or partly completed course or qualification at higher education level. Typical examples could include a Certificate of Higher Education or a number of Open University modules. An APCL application involves the completion and submission of a form along with necessary certificates and course details (view details on applying). If you are unsure about the level of your previous study, for example because it was taken overseas, don’t let this stop you from applying. Each academic department has it’s own APL Co-ordinator who can advise you further. The comprehensive Open University’s credit website may provide you with an initial indication of the credit value of your qualification although the volume of credit transfered will not necessarily be the same in relation to a London Metropolitan Course.

APEL - Claiming credit for previous experience

The other way in which credit can be gained is through the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) in which credit is awarded for learning and capabilities gained through your experiences in a work, voluntary, home or leisure environment. A wide range of life experiences could provide appropriate learning opportunities, although it is the ability to state and demonstrate your learning, rather than simply having had the experience that is the basis for credit. Since this learning will not have been previously assessed, a claim for APEL credit involves the submission of a piece of a work (such as a report or portfolio) which is assessed by the University. Applying for APEL credit involves an initial agreement about the learning and how it is to be demonstrated followed by the submission of the work itself by an agreed deadline.

If awarded there is a fee payable for the Assessment of Experiential Learning (APEL). There is no fee however for the assessment of certificated learning (APCL).

Reasons for claiming credit through APL include:

  • You can save time by completing your course more quickly
  • You can avoid having to repeat learning already undertaken
  • You can have learning and capabilities gained through experience recognised at Higher Education level
  • You can save money if you are paying by the module.

To make a successful claim for APL the learning you have achieved must be at the same level as the learning you would have been expected to achieve as part of your programme of study. In the case of certificated learning 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 or equivalent level such as BTEC HNC or NVQ Level 4. It need not necessarily be in the same subject area as unrelated previous study can count against elective modules.

Who to Contact

Current students should contact their Undergraduate/Postgraduate Office for advice.

If you are considering applying for a course then please contact the Admissions Office.

Each Academic Department also has it's own Faculty APL Co-ordinator.


  Page last updated : : 17 Dec 2013