Recognition of Prior Learning Policy

Document Number000282
Date Approved29 November 2006


1.      Introduction

This policy supports the University’s commitment to Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) as a means of providing wider access to university study and to improving access and equity for students.

2.      Policy Intent  

The provision of principles which will guide the University’s assessment of prior learning.

3.      Definitions

In this policy:

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) means “an assessment process that assesses the individual's non-formal and informal learning to determine the extent to which that individual has achieved the required learning outcomes, competency outcomes, or standards for entry to, and/or partial or total completion of, a qualification” [1];

exemption means being excused from undertaking preparatory subjects, units, modules or competencies in a course or qualification, while still being required to undertake the same number of subjects, units, modules or competencies as would be completed if an exemption had not been granted.

4.      Policy

4.1.     Prior Learning assessed by the University may be used to satisfy, or partially satisfy, course admission criteria, and/or to gain exemptions/s in some programs.

4.2.     In assessing Prior Learning the University will take account of:

•          courses provided by professional bodies, enterprises, private educational providers;

•         learning from work and/or other forms of practical experience; and

•         learning from life experience.

4.3.     Supporting documentation must be produced for an assessment based on RPL to occur.

4.4.     Admission to university is competitive. The assessment of an application for RPL does not imply a guaranteed enrolment in a program at the University of Newcastle.

4.5.     The submission of an application for RPL does not guarantee that an exemption will be granted.      

4.6.     Applications for RPL received from applicants for admission to a program of study at the University of Newcastle, will normally be assessed using the appropriate UAC schedules for programs approved by the relevant Faculty.           

4.7.     The University may grant credit for RPL for a particular cohort of students only under specific circumstances described by an agreement such as a Memorandum of Understanding which has the approval of Academic Senate. No MOU or similar agreement will be signed until full program documentation has met the required committee process (Teaching and Learning Committee, and Academic Senate).

4.8.     In all other cases the activities covered by the RPL policy cannot be used to gain credit. Credit for formal studies previously undertaken may be granted in accordance with the University’s Rules Governing Undergraduate Academic Awards.

5.      Essential Supporting Document


[1] Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Advisory Board, RPL National  Principles, 2004, Rules Governing Undergraduate Academic Awards.

Approval AuthorityAcademic Senate
Date Approved29 November 2006
Date for Review29 November 2009
Policy SponsorDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Policy OwnerAcademic Registrar
Policy ContactManager, Admissions and Enrolments
Amendment History

Minor amendment - Change of Policy Sponsor to Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) to reflect structural changes from 1 January 2013, The Secretariat, 9 May 2013.

Removal of link to rescinded policy document Rules Governing Admissions and Enrolments 000390. 5 January 2012.

17 March 2000