Recognising Prior Learning (RPL)

 

​​Previous study, training and experience gained through work or volunteering are examples of activities that may count towards your programme of study. We encourage students of all ages and from all backgrounds to study with us and know that significant achievements can be obtained by engagement in a range of activities.  If you think this might apply to you, please read the information in this section as it provides details of the process to help you determine if it may be suitable for you and then get in touch to discuss it with us.

If you have achieved qualifications such as a Foundation Degree, Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE​), Higher National Diploma (HND) or modules of an undergraduate (UG) or postgraduate (PG) degree at another university, we can consider an application for module exemption. Direct entry into the second or third year of an undergraduate programme is also possible, dependent on what has been achieved and its relevance to the programme applied for. This process is called Credit Transfer and is granted where we can directly map the modules you already have, and their content to those delivered on the programme you are applying for.

Credit may also be recognised from International countries (non EU) where qualifications are recognised by the National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC). 

Credit may also be given for previously certificated learning such as Open University modules, or learning for which a certificate has been awarded through an educational institution, professional body, or other recognised education/training provider.  This is known as Recognition of Prior Certified Learning (RPCL).  It is also possible to gain credit in recognition of uncertified learning such as knowledge or skills acquired through work and informal training, and this is known as Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL).

There is a time limit on the currency of prior learning and applicants will need to demonstrate that their qualifications and/or experience has been achieved within the last 5 years and is current.

For more information on Credit Transfer, RPCL and RPEL, please see the information below.

​​If you are an Organisation or Training Agency wishing to acquire credit for your employees based on training and experience gained in the workplace, please contact the Centre for Work Based Learning (CWBL): cwbl@cardiffmet.ac.uk.  For more information on CWBL click here.

Recognising Prior Learning (RPL)

RPL is the process which allows education providers to recognise formal and informal learning and award or transfer of credit for use towards existing programmes.

RPL supports lifelong learning and allows individuals to integrate education with work by putting a value on their knowledge, skills and experience gained.  These competencies may have been gained through formal education, informal or non-formal training, or through life or work experience.  The key aspect of all forms of RPL is that they can be evidenced.

There are limits on the amount of credit that can be awarded through RPL, and these are related to the award you wish to undertake.  The recommended minimum credit values of Postgraduate, Graduate and Undergraduate Qualifications are shown in the Credit Table below:​

Qualification​ Maximum Credit through RPL​ ​Credit through Cardiff Metropolitan University Modules
​POSTGRADUATE​ ​​​ ​
​Master's Degree​120 credits*60 credits at Level 7​
​PG Diploma​60 credits​60 credits at Level 7
​PG Certificate​30 credits30 credits at Level 7​
​​​UNDERGRADUATE ​ ​
​Honours Degree​240 credits​120 credits at Level 6
​Ordinary Degree​200 credits​​100 credits, of these a minimum of 60 at Level 6
​Foundation Degree​120 credits​120 credits at Level 5
​Diploma HE​120 credits​120 credits at Level 5
​Certificate HE​60 credits​60 credits at Level 4
​Foundation Certificate​60 credits​60 credits at Level 3

*at least 90 credits with Cardiff Metropolitan University to gain a Merit or Distinction

All applications for RPL should be made when you apply for admission to a programme,
except when claiming Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL).  An RPEL claim needs to be awarded three weeks prior to the start of the programme to be considered for entry and therefore it is important to contact us well in advance of the start date of the programme.

For all full time Undergraduate programmes the 31st August deadline needs to be adhered to in relation to meeting all academic conditions of offer.

Credit Transfer

Most of our programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate level consider credit transfer for module exemption, with undergraduate programmes also accepting entrants into the second and third year dependent on numbers.  Top up programmes are also available for those applicants wishing to progress from HND or Foundation Degrees.

Cardiff Metropolitan's programmes are rated in a framework of credit that is recognised nationally called the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS), which allows UK Education Institutions to recognise achievement at another institution, as long as it is relevant and not out of date.  The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) also enables the comparing of study and attainment across the European Union, and other collaborating European countries.

This means that if you have studied at an institution on a HE programme you can use this to study on another programme at the same or different institution.

​​Numerous factors are considered when assessing suitability for credit transfer but generally 120 CATS / 60 ECTS are needed for year 2 entry and 240 CATS / 120 ECTS for year 3.  Please see the table below for full information:

​Undergraduate (UG) Module​10-20 CATS / 5-10 ECTS
​One Year Full Time of Undergraduate Degree​120 CATS / 60 ECTS
​Postgraduate Certificates30 M level credits / 15 ECTS
​Postgraduate Diplomas60 M level credits / 30 ECTS
​Masters Degrees​120 M level credits / 60 ECTS

 

Factors taken into consideration are the compatibility (relevance) of the learning outcomes of previous study, academic achievement e.g. grades/marks obtained, quality of application including personal statement and satisfactory academic reference, meeting other entry requirements e.g. GCSEs and if any progression agreements are in place.

Making An Application

All applications for undergraduate programmes must be made through UCAS at www.ucas.com, unless you are currently already studying at Cardiff Metropolitan University, in which case you will need to apply as an internal transfer.  Please refer to the Internal Transfer information.

Applications for postgraduate and part time programmes are made through the University's online application system Self Service.

Applications need to include a breakdown of the credit transfer applied for e.g. the qualifications that are achieved, or will be achieved by the start of the programme applied for, including module breakdown descriptions.  This can be included as part of the application, or sent into Admissions directly, either electronically to RPLAdmissions@cardiffmet.ac.uk; or by post to:

Admissions Unit
Communications, Marketing & Student Recruitment
Cardiff Metropolitan University
Llandaff Campus
Western Avenue
Cardiff
CF5 2YB

Where further or additional information is required, applicants may be invited to the University to provide this to the programme tutor, so a decision can be made.  For late applicants or when more time is needed, credit may not be awarded until after the start of the programme.  It is not advisable to make assumptions about the volume of credit that may be recognised.

What Happens Next

Once you have submitted your application, it will be sent to the relevant programme tutor to assess.

You will be formally communicated of the outcome through the application process you applied to i.e. UCAS, internal transfer or self service.  You maybe requested to provide additional information/evidence to support your application.

If sufficient credit is awarded for entry onto a programme an offer will be processed and you will be sent further information concerning your entry.

Applications to undertake the Credit Transfer process may be deemed unsuccessful at any stage of the process and the applicant will have the right to appeal if they feel that their application has been misjudged.

To highlight the key processes within the Credit Transfer procedure, please click here​ to view the flow chart.

 

Recognition of Prior Certified Learning (RPCL)

Prior certified learning is prior learning (such as professional development awards or employment-based awards) which is at Higher Education (HE) level, but has not led to the award or credits, or qualifications positioned on the relevant HE qualification framework.  A process of assessment enables a decision to be made about whether the learning is suitable for recognition.

What Evidence can be used for RPCL?

Any evidence that you believe demonstrates a programme/module learning outcome can be included such as scanned copies of your education certificates e.g. NVQs, A levels, accredited modules, HNCs and HNDs and documents describing the programme studied.

How to apply for RPCL

All applications for undergraduate programmes must be made through UCAS at www.ucas.com, unless you are currently already studying at Cardiff Metropolitan University, in which case you will need to apply as an internal transfer. Please refer to the Internal Transfer information.

Applications for postgraduate and part time programmes are made through the University's online application system Self Service.

Applications need to include a breakdown of the overall qualification including a list of modules or units of study and their credit values, the syllabus and guided learning hours (GLHs).  This should be included as part of the application.  Full information is key, and if there is sufficient space on the form, additional information can be sent to Admissions directly, either electronically to RPLAdmissions@cardiffmet.ac.uk; or by post to:

Admissions Unit
Communications, Marketing & Student Recruitment
Cardiff Metropolitan University
Llandaff Campus
Western Avenue
Cardiff
CF5 2YB

For more information on National Credits, please refer to the Credit and Qualification Framework Information​.  To access the Credit and Qualification Framework for Wales (CQFW), please click here.

Where further or additional information is required, applicants may be invited to the University to provide this to the programme tutor, so a decision can be made. For late applicants or when more time is needed, credit may not be awarded until after the start of the programme.


What Happens Next

Once you have submitted your application, it will be sent to the relevant programme tutor to assess.

You will be formally communicated of the outcome through the application process you applied to i.e. UCAS, internal transfer or self service. You maybe requested to provide additional information/evidence to support your application.

If sufficient credit is awarded for entry onto a programme an offer will be processed and you will be sent further information concerning your entry.

Applications to undertake the RPCL may be deemed unsuccessful at any stage and the applicant will have the right to appeal.

To highlight the key processes within the RPCL procedure, please click here​ to view the flow chart.

 

Recognition of Experiential Learning (RPEL)

Prior experiential learning is prior learning gained through work, voluntary activities or other life experiences acquired outside of formal Higher Education (HE) or training systems.  RPEL involves an assessment process on the part of academic staff within the HE provider that leads to recognition, normally through the award of credit, or learning gained outside a defined (or formal) HE programme.

What Evidence can be used for RPEL?

Any evidence that you believe demonstrates a programme/module learning outcome can be included:

  • Work products (reports, minutes, emails etc.), testimonies, projects, professional publications, learning logs/reflective accounts, videos, audio.
  • Evidence of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and non-accredited training courses.  In addition, you could be interviewed or observed by the assessor.


The Application Process for Current Cardiff Met Students

For applicants already on a programme of study wishing to apply for credit exemption, they would normally be expected to apply during the preceding academic year.

Applications should consist of a written request, stating their current programme along with documentary evidence of the prior learning achieved.

 
How to apply for RPEL

Applicants will first need to express their interest via the Online RPEL Expression of Interest Form, which will need to be returned to RPLAdmissions@cardiffmet.ac.uk.  You will then be contacted by an Adviser from the Centre for Work Based Learning (CWBL), and if there is enough information to support the claim you will be advised to complete the RPEL Application Form, which should include your supporting documentation if relevant.

The completed RPEL Application Form needs to be sent back to RPLAdmissions@cardiffmet.ac.uk to assess,  and an RPL Adviser will be in touch progress your claim.


Guidance on Submitting a Claim for RPEL

RPEL portfolio may include:

  • Relevant job descriptions / voluntary duties.
  • Reflection on experiences relevant to the learning outcomes of the module(s).
  • Dates of relevant employment.
  • Employment / character references.
  • Evidence of project and/or samples of work you have produced.
  • Certificates of non-credited courses of study completed (together with a course syllabus or other explanatory information).

When considering evidence, factors such as content, level/weighting, validity and authenticity are taken into account.  The aim is to consider the learning you have achieved in the past to contribute to the learning requirements of the programme of study.

What Happens Next

Once you have gathered the information to submit your application, you need to send it into Admissions directly, either electronically to RPLAdmissions@cardiffmet.ac.uk; or by post to:

Admissions Unit
Communications, Marketing & Student Recruitment
Cardiff Metropolitan University
Llandaff Campus
Western Avenue
Cardiff
CF5 2YB

On receipt, your application will be logged and sent to an RPL Adviser for consideration.  The RPL Adviser will then provide feedback concerning the application in relation to whether or not a claim can be made.

At this point, further information/evidence will need to be submitted in the form of a portfolio.  Please refer to the RPL Guidance and RPEL Portfolio template​ for information/evidence that needs to be provided.  Dependant on the claim being made and the availability of the evidence needed, this pr​ocess can take a considerable amount of time.  Where more time is needed to fully meet the criteria, your application may need to be considered for the next available intake.  Full information will be provided on portfolio structure by the RPL Adviser.

When or if the criteria is fully met, the application will be presented to the relevant examination board for the awarding of credit. You will be formally communicated of the outcome from the examination board concerning the credit by the Admissions Office.  If sufficient credit is awarded for entry onto a programme an offer will be processed and you will be sent further inform​ation concerning your entry. If you are not immediately applying for entry onto a full programme i.e. full-time degree, a transcript can be issued for successful credit claims, which can be used for future entry as Credit Transfer. Applications to undertake the RPEL process may be deemed unsuccessful at any stage and the applicant will have the right to appeal.  Guidance is provided throughout the process and additional support given, or if applicable an alternative programme may be suggested. Although support and advice is provided it is the applicants responsibility to prepare an application and to submit adequate documentary evidence in line with required deadlines.  The Adviser's view upon a draft claim does not normally guarantee the outcome of the assessment decision.

Undertaking a claim for your RPEL is not necessarily a 'fast track' to gaining a qualification, as it is sometimes easier to study the whole programme rather than make a claim.

RPL Fees and Fee Exemptions

RPL Fees

No fee is charged to applicants for undertaking either the Credit Transfer or RPCL process.  However, due to the formal assessment requirement for RPEL, fees are charged based on the amount of credit applied for and the level of support that is required.

Applicants will be advised of the cost during their initial contact with an RPL Adviser.  Please see the Fee Table below:


​Number of Credits/Timescales​​Support​Assessment​Total Fee
​10 - 20 credits​First session (initial) - £50
Second session (prior to submission) - £50
£200 for assessment of application​​£300
​40 credits​First session (initial) - £50
Second session (prior to submission) - £50
Additional sessions x2 - £100
​£400 for assessment of application​£600
​60 credits​First session (initial) - £50
Second session (prior to submission) - £50
Additional sessions x4 - £200
​£600 for assessment of application​£900
​60+ credits​Variable​​Fee quoted on basis of £300 per 20 credits and £50 per hour of support​Variable

 

Applicants will have the right to request additional support sessions, but this will be charged at £50 per session.   RPL Advisers may also suggest where further support sessions are deemed necessary to complete the process, but this will be agreed with the applicant before any sessions commence.

Fee Exemptions

Any credit exemptions awarded through the RPL process for Credit Transfer and RPCL will result in a reduction on the standard fee charged for a full programme.  For example, if one 10 credit module on a full time Undergraduate programme is exempt due to an RPL claim, a reduction of the fee for that module e.g. £750, is taken off the full programme fees.  Any queries concerning fee exemptions should be directed to Admissions in the first instance. ​

International (non EU) Recognition

Any applicant who has studied international qualifications comparable to Foundation Degree, Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), Higher National Diploma (HND) or modules of an undergraduate (UG) or postgraduate (PG) degree is required to obtain a statement of comparability from UK NARIC. For further information please refer to www.naric.org.uk/naric/individuals/.

Once a statement of comparability is received, this can be sent with your application to the University's International Office. Please refer to www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/international for guidance concerning applying. Any queries concerning your qualifications can also be referred to the International Office at intadmissions@cardiffmet.ac.uk.

School Contacts

Please refer to school contact list below where advice is needed concerning what subject your learning/experience is relevant to:

School of Art & DesignDr ​Stephen Thompson (sthompson@cardiffmet.ac.uk)
​School of EducationDr Gill Jones​ (gljones@cardiffmet.ac.uk)
​School of Health SciencesDr ​Ian Mathieson (imathieson@cardiffmet.ac.uk)
​School of Management​Dr Kelvin Hughes (kmhughes@cardiffmet.ac.uk)
​School of Sport​Dr Kathryn Thirlaway (kthirlaway@cardiffmet.ac.uk)

 

Frequently Asked Questions

To access a list of frequently asked questions, please click here.