Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) 

RPL Information

RPL overiew

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) allows applicants who are enrolling on award bearing taught programmes of study at the University of York to claim 'credit' for previous learning. The previous learning must be relevant to the programme for which they are applying, and if their application is successful, the credit will count towards their chosen programme of study.

Applicants may request exemption from modules on most taught programmes – both undergraduate and postgraduate – based on evidence of prior learning. A module is the smallest unit for which exemption can be claimed. Each candidate's application for RPL will be carefully mapped against the requirements of the chosen programme of study and assessed against the University RPL criteria; a decision will be made by the departmental RPL Committee.

Previous learning can have occurred in two ways, from personal and professional experience, or from undertaking formal courses of study.

  • Where learning is gained from personal and professional experience, this is known as Recognition of Prior and Experiential Learning (RPEL).
  • Where learning has occurred through formal study. This is referred to as Recognition of Prior Certificated Learning (RPCL).

Please note that there is a charge for processing and supporting an RPEL application. There is no charge for RPCL claims.

Part-time undergraduate programmes

When applying for a part-time degree (BA/BSc) level pathway you will be required to submit an RPL claim to claim 'credit' for your previous learning.  

It is important that you discuss your RPL claim before commencing your pathway with the Department. All applications for RPL should be submitted and approved before you commence your programme. Failure to do so will delay programme enrolment.

Transferring freestanding modules taken at the University of York

If you studied a freestanding module at the University of York and wish to accredit this towards an award bearing programme, you will need to submit an RPCL application to request the credit is officially transferred. Your RPCL application should be submitted and approved before you commence your programme. The prior learning must be current (ie within the last five years) and must be relevant and valid for the proposed programme of study you wish to accredit the module towards. For full guidance on accrediting freestanding modules, please refer to our guidance notes.

RPCL Claims

RPCL definition

RPCL (Recognition of Prior Certified Learning) is a term which refers specifically to the recognition of certified learning through the assignment of credit. This is learning which has been formally assessed by a recognised institution and for which an academic transcript or equivalent formal documentation is available.  

RPCL guidance 

For full guidance on submitting an RPCL claim, please refer to our RPCL Applicant Guidance sheet:

If the previous undergraduate learning was gained more than five years prior to the proposed undergraduate study, additional evidence of continued experience at a relevant level will be required to satisfy the Department of its validity. If your previous award was completed over five years ago you will also be required to supply a recent essay. Further advice is provided in the following guidelines:

How your claim is considered

Submitting your RPCL application

  • The RPCL application and supporting evidence can be mailed to:
RPL Administrator
Student Assessment Office
Area 2, Seebohm Rowntree Building
University of York
York, YO10 5DD
  • or your RPCL application can be emailed to the RPL administrator at dohs-rpl@york.ac.uk 
  • alternatively you can submit your RPCL application and supporting evidence to our Student Information, Guidance and Help team in the Seebohm Rowntree Building in a sealed envelope marked 'RPL Claim'.

RPEL Claims

RPEL definition

RPEL (Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning) is the assignment of credit for learning which has been acquired outside formally certified education or training systems.

RPEL application guidance

In the first instance, applicants must complete the RPEL Initial Assessment Form and receive approval to progress to a full RPEL application. All initial RPEL requests should normally be received by the Department at least six months prior to the beginning of the relevant programme of study. For full guidance for submitting an RPEL claim, please refer to our RPEL Applicant Guidance sheet:

As with RPCL, the prior experiential learning for which accreditation is sought must have taken place not more than five years before the date of the candidate's proposed enrolment on the University programme. All requests for exemption on the basis of prior learning gained more than five years before must also be supported by satisfactory evidence of updating and ongoing development in order to demonstrate that learning is current.

There is a fee for RPEL applications, to meet the costs for the assistance of tutorial support. 

Submitting your RPEL application

  • The Initial RPEL Assessment Claim Form can be mailed to:

RPL Administrator

Student Assessment Office

Area 2, Seebohm Rowntree Building

University of York

York, YO10 5DD

  • or your RPEL application can be emailed to the RPL administrator at dohs-rpl@york.ac.uk 
  • alternatively you can submit your RPEL application and supporting evidence at our Student & Academic Support Services counter in the Seebohm Rowntree Building in a sealed envelope marked 'RPL Claim'.

Contact us

All enquiries should be sent to dohs-rpl@york.ac.uk