3.7 Award of credit via the accreditation of prior learning

The accreditation, or recognition, of prior learning (APL) refers to the identification, assessment and formal acknowledgement of prior learning which has taken place outside the University. This may be certificated learning (APCL), for which a student has previously followed a prescribed programme of study and gained a specified academic award; or experiential learning (APEL), where learning which has taken place outside formal education or training systems (for example, in the workplace) is assessed and recognised for academic purposes.

Credit assigned to prior learning may be used for (see also section 5):

  • entry with advanced standing onto a Brookes programme
  • exemption from a module or modules within a programme
  • to enable transfer between programmes of study.

Credit may only be awarded for learning (and not simply for experience), therefore applicants/students wishing to apply for APL or APEL must provide evidence of their learning, i.e. the production of an award certificate, or a portfolio of evidence of learning which has taken place outside formal educational settings. Prior learning must be broadly equivalent to the learning outcomes of the programme or module against which credit is sought; and professional body requirements will also be taken into account when awarding credit for prior learning against the requirements of a programme with professional accreditation. Candidates applying for entry to a professional doctorate programme may request that consideration is given to prior learning, and the same rules will be applied as for taught programmes.

The University seeks to ensure that applicants are awarded the maximum amount of relevant credit to which they are entitled by virtue of their prior achievements - as a guideline, this maximum would usually be in the region of two-thirds of the total credit required for the Oxford Brookes award they have applied for (please note that in the case of Master's degree programmes, credit for prior learning will not normally be awarded to give exemption from a dissertation or project module). Applications to allow a higher proportion than this must be approved by the Chair of the Quality & Learning Infrastructure Committee. If a student using transferred credit does not study enough Oxford Brookes credit for the normal degree classification algorithm to be applied, their award classification will usually be determined by the average of the marks obtained on the qualifying Brookes modules studied (unless there is an arrangement in place to transfer the marks, as well as the credit, assigned by another awarding body).

The University also adheres to the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) guidance on the initial assessment and recognition of prior learning against the relevant apprenticeship standard prior to a student commencing an apprenticeship programme.