Recognition of prior learning (RPL)

Recognition for prior learning (RPL), put simply, means getting credit for any previous study or work experience related to the subjects covered in your chosen course.

You may be eligible for credit towards your new degree if you have:

  • previously studied similar subjects at university, or
  • already have work experience in the same industry or area related to your new course

RPL is an acknowledgment of the skills and knowledge you have already acquired over the years. Even better, it helps reduce the amount of time it takes to finish your degree. A shorter degree means fewer costs too.

The sooner you graduate, the sooner you can get back into working full-time and making money.

Explore Charles Sturt University credit and pathways.

  • What is credit?

    Credit is the value assigned for the recognition of equivalence in content and learning outcomes between different types of learning and/or qualifications. When you are assigned credit, it reduces the amount of learning required to achieve a qualification and may be through credit transfer, articulation, recognition of prior learning or advanced standing. In other words, you don’t need to complete every component of the course.

    These types of credit can be granted

    • Block credit – credit granted for whole stages or components of a course, often granted as a number of subject points. Block credit may be specified or unspecified credit.
    • Specified credit – credit granted for a specific subject or subjects.
    • Ungraded credit – credit granted as a transfer credit (TCR) or proficiency credit (PCR) to show that credit has been given, rather than an achievement grade.
    • Unspecified credit – credit that is not for specific subjects, but rather for a number of subject points, to fulfil course requirements.

    Credit is measured in points, generally 8 points are equal to one subject.

    Refer to Charles Sturt University's credit policy for further details on credit.

  • How will credit be determined?

    To determine the level of credit you'll receive towards your course, an assessment will be made on an individual basis. The assessment takes into account prior learning and any hands-on experience in related fields where it is current and relevant to the learning outcomes of a subject. When assessing credit eligibility, there are three types of learning considered.

    Formal learning

    Learning that involves credit-bearing subjects at an accredited tertiary education institution completed within the 10 years prior to your application for credit.

    Non-formal learning

    Learning through education or training that does not involve completing credit-bearing subjects at an accredited tertiary education institution, such as professional development or workplace training.

    Informal learning

    Learning gained outside of formal or non-formal learning, for example through work or leisure activities (e.g. charity or community group participation).

  • How is credit awarded?

    Credit may be awarded for study or relevant work experience you have completed. Previous study may be from Charles Sturt University or another institute.

    Credit may be awarded for specific subjects, a number of electives or a level of subjects, meaning you could be exempt from completing one or more subjects listed in the course structure of your degree. Credit is generally assessed on an individual basis with each application, although some courses do have established credit arrangements.

    There are limits to how much credit you are able to be awarded. Check the Charles Sturt University credit policy for details.

  • What are admission pathways?

    Admission pathways allow you to move through qualification levels with full or partial recognition for the qualifications and/or learning outcomes you already have.

    An admission pathway can be established via

    • Recognition of prior learning for individual students
    • Formalised agreements between Charles Sturt University and other providers
    • Common precedence arrangements
  • How to apply for credit?

    If applying for credit on admission to Charles Sturt University, your application should include full documentation of all previous study which you have completed and/or evidence of relevant work experience.

    Students applying for credit once enrolled at Charles Sturt University should follow the instructions in the Credit and Pathways Planner.

    Supporting document requirements vary for each type of credit. For a list of acceptable supporting documents please refer to the Charles Sturt University credit policy.

  • How to verify/certify documents?

    If you have included your previous study in your application for admission to the university when you receive an offer of admission into a course, you'll be notified about what credit has been awarded. If further steps are required to finalise your credit assessment we will contact you to help you through the process.

    Verified or certified documents may be required to support your application for recognition of prior learning.

    Who can certify

    The below is a list of people who may certify a document; An accountant (member of a recognised professional accounting body or a Registered Tax Agent).

    • A person listed on the roll of the Supreme Court of a State or Territory or the High Court of Australia as a legal practitioner
    • A barrister, solicitor or patent attorney
    • A police officer
    • A postal manager
    • A principal of an Australian secondary college, high school or primary school
    • A medical practitioner
    • A Justice of the Peace (with a registration number in the State in which they are registered)
    • A minister of religion (registered under Subdivision A of Division 1 of Part IV of the Marriage Act 1961)

    The certified copy must include the statement "I certify that this is a true copy of the original document".

    The certifier must also include

    • their full name
    • signature
    • date
    • registration number (if any)
    • and qualification or occupation which makes them eligible to certify documents, on each of the photocopied identification documents.

    For details on supporting document requirements, please refer to the Charles Sturt credit policy.

  • What to do if your credit assessment isn’t included in your admission offer?

    If you're applying to Charles Sturt University through UAC or VTAC, your application will not include documentation to support recognition for prior learning. That’s okay. You can apply using our Credit and Pathway Planner after you have received and accepted your offer.

    If you receive your offer of admission and your credit outcome was not provided, and you would like your request to be reconsidered,  you can request to have your credit decision reviewed. For details on the review and appeal process, please refer to the Charles Sturt University credit policy and procedure.

    If you receive your offer of admission and your credit outcome was provided, but you want to be considered for additional credit, you can apply using the Credit and Pathway Planner at any time after you have accepted your offer. Please note if this affects your first session of enrolment, credit needs to be applied for as early as possible and before census date.

  • How do you convert the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) into ours?

    A standard subject at Charles Sturt University has 8 credit points and this equates to roughly 140–160 hours of work for a student. A standard study load for a student is 32 points, or four 8-point subjects, per session. A standard year of full-time study at Charles Sturt University is 64 points, equivalent to 60 ECTS credit points.

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