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.

Current Students

If you have already commenced your studies at UOW, find out about applying for CPL, including instructions on how to apply, on the AskUOW Article 'Can I apply for credit for previous study or learning?'

Future Students

If you are planning to study at UOW, you will be given the option to request credit for prior learning in your 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 information above).

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

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 provide:

  1. An official transcript from the institution, showing the successful completion of subject/s and;
  2. Subject outline/s (also known as unit outlines, course guides, outlines, and syllabus) for each completed subject that you wish to have assessed for credit. These normally include information on the content covered, learning outcomes, required readings and assessment methods, as well as other detailed information about the subject.

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 (eg. MOOCs, micro-credentials, employee training programs).

An assessment of informal and non-formal learning is a process which matches the things a person has learnt against the learning outcomes of a course or subject. This assessment is undertaken by academic staff with expertise in the subject area.

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 informal learning, you need to supply evidence of achievement (e.g., sample of work or a detailed employer reference).
  • For non-formal learning, you need to supply evidence of completion of the program (e.g., a training certificate).
  • 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. In highly prescribed courses it may not be possible to use credit.
  • Approved credit may impact on your eligibility to graduate with distinction. Marks and grades from non-UOW subjects or awarded as unspecified credit do not count towards final WAM calculation.
  • Credit will only be approved in line with maximum credit points permitted at each level of study for the type of degree, as outlined in the Course design procedures.

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.

Need help?

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

Current students can also refer to the AskUOW Article ‘Can I apply for credit for previous study or learning?’

We recommend you apply for credit at the time you apply for admission to the University where possible.