Credit for prior learning

Credit for Prior Learning (CPL)

If you have completed previous studies or have relevant professional experience, you can request to receive course credit or subject exemptions to help reduce the duration and overall cost of your course.

Credit for prior learning is an assessment process and put simply, means getting credit for any previous completed study or relevant work experience related to the subjects covered in your chosen course.

UOW supports lifelong learning and offers students the opportunity to have their different types of prior learning recognised regardless of where and how that learning was achieved.

Prior learning types

We consider two main forms of prior learning for potential credit.

Formal learning

Formal learning is part of a structured program that leads to the full or partial achievement of an officially accredited qualification undertaken at a tertiary institution (e.g. university, TAFE or private college)

Examples of officially accredited qualifications include:

  • diplomas and advanced diplomas
  • associate degrees, bachelor and postgraduate qualifications.

Evidence of formal learning

For formal learning completed outside UOW, you need to supply an official transcript from the institution as well as the subject outline (also known as unit outlines, course guides, outlines, and syllabus) or handbook entries for each completed course/subject that you wish to have assessed for credit. These normally include information on the content covered, learning outcomes, required readings and assessment methods.

Subject outlines are not required if you are applying as part of a formal articulation or credit transfer agreement (see section below).  

No documentation is required for formal learning completed at UOW.

Supporting documents in a language other than English must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

Informal and non-formal learning

Informal learning is gained through work, social or volunteer experiences. It is not organised formally in terms of objectives, time or learning support.

Non-formal learning takes place through a structured program of learning but does not lead to an officially accredited qualification.

An assessment of informal and non-formal learning is often referred to as the recognition of prior learning (RPL). RPL is a process which matches the things a person has learnt against the learning outcomes of a course or subject. RPL assessment is undertaken by academic staff with expertise in the subject area, as well as knowledge of and expertise in RPL assessment.

Evidence of informal or non-formal learning

To obtain credit at UOW based on informal/non-formal learning you will need to demonstrate how the prior learning experiences align to the learning outcomes of the course or subject(s) and provide sufficient documentary evidence to support your claim.

For non-formal learning, you need to supply evidence of completion of the program (e.g., a training certificate). For informal learning, you need to supply evidence of achievement (e.g., sample of work or a detailed employer reference). A learning statement outlining how learning outcomes for the UOW course, major, minor or subject have been met is required for both.

Some examples of evidence that can be submitted:

  • certificates and statements of attainment from courses sponsored by employers or professional bodies, including information about the course of study
  • results from other non-accredited courses from various education and training providers (eg MOOCs, Microcredentials), including outlines of any units studied detailing course content, course contact hours and information on the course presenter/s and their qualifications
  • CV detailing employment history and position descriptions
  • letters of reference from employers (including direct supervisors) verifying your knowledge, skills and experience
  • letters or documents from clients, verifying work activities
  • copies of documents you have completed as part of your work (e.g., budgets, reports, memos, spread sheets, estimates etc)
  • details of community activities involving significant responsibilities
  • samples, photographs, or videos of your work that are related to the credit sought.

In some cases, students may be required to participate in an interview or undertake some form of assessment to further demonstrate they have achieved the required learning outcomes.

Assessment criteria

In our assessment, consideration is given to prior learning that is:

Current: Prior learning attained within ten years of the date of application, will generally be considered current.

Relevant: Learning will be considered relevant where there is evidence to demonstrate that:

  • you have achieved a quality and standard of learning equivalent to tertiary studies at an appropriate level
  • you have attained the learning outcomes of specific subjects of the course. Learning outcomes and other information for UOW Subjects are available through the UOW Handbook
  • your prior learning was equivalent in discipline content, depth and breadth (the volume of learning is sufficient in the context of the discipline for the AQF level and qualification type)

Please note: Credit limits apply. You can find more information in UOW’s Credit for Prior Learning Policy (PDF). In highly prescribed courses it may not be possible to use credit granted.

Articulation and formal credit transfer arrangements

UOW has a number of formal credit transfer agreements with institutions both within Australia and overseas.

Browse current agreements with institutions by region:

TAFE students can visit TAFE NSW Credit for Prior Learning guidelines.

If you can't see your previous institution or course, you may still be eligible for credit, and you can submit an application for assessment.

If you are applying for credit under an articulation arrangement (approved pathways for progression between qualifications) listed on the register, you do not need to provide subject outlines. Only your transcripts and in some cases evidence of course completion will be needed as your qualification has already been pre-assessed for credit. If required, contact us for further information.

UOW assesses overseas qualifications using Australian Government guidelines to determine their comparability to the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). Students should refer to the Articulation and Formal credit transfer arrangements links above. UOW also has arrangements for students studying at specific Australian institutions.

Applying for credit for prior learning

Learn more about the process for applying for credit for both future and current students.

Students who are yet to commence their study with the University may apply for course credit as part of their admissions application. When you are ready to apply for admission simply Apply Online and indicate that you would like to be assessed for Credit for Prior Learning in Step 5 of the application portal.

(UAC applicants should refer to the Current student applications for credit section below.)

If students are seeking credit on the basis of informal or non-formal learning, a Learning Statement may need to be submitted to support the application.

Please note: Credit for prior learning does not guarantee a place into a degree at the University of Wollongong. Applicants who achieve an appropriate score in a relevant qualification may be considered for admission. Admission is dependent on the completion of an appropriate qualification, the level of academic performance achieved and the number of places available.

Students who have already commenced their study with the University may seek an assessment of credit by completing a Credit for Prior Learning – Application (PDF).

Credit for Prior Learning requests are normally completed within seven to 10 business days but can take up to 20 business days during peak periods. Complex requests may take longer to process. Please contact AskUOW if you are concerned about your application and how it impacts your enrolment.

More information about credit for prior learning - AskUOW Knowledge Base article

Need help?

You can find more information in UOW’s Credit for Prior Learning Policy (PDF) or contact us if you need assistance.

We recommend you apply for credit at the time you apply for admission to the University. If you do apply for credit after commencing your study, you need to lodge your application prior to the commencement of your first session or by no later than the end of the first week of session.