Credits for prior learning

Have you already studied at another institution, completed a training course, or does your work experience appear equivalent to one or more modules on your chosen course? If so, you may be able to translate this prior learning into credits towards your course modules so that you don’t have to study them again. This is called Recognition of Prior Learning or RPL.

There are two types of RPL:

Applying for RPL exemptions

For undergraduate courses, you can apply for credits up to 50% of each stage. For postgraduate courses, you can apply for up to 60 credits of the total requirement for your course. We will need appropriate evidence that your prior learning matches the course content/module you wish to be exempt from.

Please note: If you are applying for RPL for a postgraduate course, you will not be eligible for a Postgraduate Student Loan. For more information, please read our Fees and Finance section.

Reduce your fees


This is a process whereby academic credit for learning that has been previously assessed and/or accredited at Higher Education (HE) level, through a formal course of study, could be used towards the credit requirements of a University of Derby Online Learning award. It is sometimes known as credit transfer.

Evidence to support a claim for prior certificated learning will involve the submission of a formal qualification or award or part of an award, with formal documentation such as a results transcript or formal certificate and/or evidence of assessment, as appropriate, from a university, college or professional and/or regulatory body. For RPCL claims there are no fees associated with the claim process or the award of RPCL credit.


Assessment of an RPEL claim is based on documented evidence of the learning achieved. For such claims, you are eligible for academic support in evidencing your knowledge and skills. The University is responsible for assessing if the learning is valid and matches the level of learning required, if the learning is current and if sufficient evidence has been provided to demonstrate the learning. If your application for RPEL is successful, you will pay just 30% of the fee for any module(s) for which you are claiming credits. We will usually ask you to pay these reduced fees when you enrol on your course or, if after enrolment, as soon as we have approved your RPEL application.

Please note: We cannot accept RPEL for our BPS accredited MSc Psychology or Postgraduate Diploma Psychology degrees.

The Award of Credit for Prior Learning

Where a request for an RPL exemption is approved, the award of credit will be reflected as 'N' grade, ie no grade will be awarded.


If a student achieves an overall 3rd class mark for the degree modules studied with the University of Derby Online Learning, but had previously gained an HND 2:1 which was used for RPL, the student will receive an overall grade of 3rd class degree.

Additional information

Applying for RPL can take up to 2 months. If you are a prospective student, we can only process an application for RPL once you have been accepted onto the course. It is advisable therefore to apply for a place on a course as soon as possible and to inform the admissions team of your intention to apply for an RPL. You will then be sent a copy of the application form and further guidance.

For students already studying with us, if you believe you might be eligible for RPL, please email as soon as possible for guidance.

Recognition of Prior Learning panel dates

The panel to consider applications for Recognition of Prior Learning will meet on the following dates:

Academic year 2019/2020

Submission deadlinePanel meeting
22 July 2019 2 September 2019
25 November 2019 6 January 2020

Late applications for Recognition of Prior Learning will be considered on an individual basis.