Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is a process which allows you to gain academic credits from prior learning or experience outside of education.

With APL, we can assess and formally recognise learning which has taken place in the past. It may have been:

The prior learning must be relevant to your course of study at the University of Cumbria and at the same academic level. If you are unsure about this, contact our APL team for advice.

Contact the APL Team

APL and Assessment Administrators
Admissions, Awards and Compliance
University of Cumbria
Bowerham Road
Lancaster. LA1 3JD

Phone: 01228 279320

Frequently asked questions

Is APL quicker than taking taught module(s)?

In some circumstances, yes. An APCL claim is usually a straightforward process however claims are assessed on an individual basis, so it does depend on the nature of your claim.

An APEL claim is a more complex process, requiring commitment, motivation and hard work on your part. You will have to reflect on your experience and think about it in an ‘academic’ context, for example, relating it to academic theory.

If successful, both types of claim will cut down on the time it takes to complete your course.

How will any APL credit approved affect my award classification?

If you are undertaking a full honours degree and seek APL for 120 level 4 and 120 level 5 credits (i.e. entry into the final year), then your classification only will be calculated on the level 6 modules that you complete at UoC.

If you are seeking APL for individual modules the marks from your prior learning may, in certain circumstances, be used to calculate your award classification. Please email the APL team for specific advice.

If I have registered on a module, can I then apply to claim APL for it?

No, once you have registered, you are obliged to complete the full taught module.

Is there a maximum amount of APL I can claim?

Yes, it depends on the course that you are registering for. The maximum APL allowances are listed in Appendix 6 of the University’s Academic Procedures and Processes.

What is the cost of claiming APL?


There is no charge for APCL claims.


You will be charged a fee for the support you gain and the assessment of your APEL claim, whether or not your claim is successful.

The 2023/24 fee is a £80 administration charge and £375 per 30 credits for which you are seeking APL (e.g. the charge for applying for 40 credits is the same as that for 30), regardless of academic level. Annual increments apply.

What information do I have to provide?

Prior certificated learning (APCL)

You will need to provide evidence of the qualification you have gained previously, in the form of a ‘transcript of results’ and module learning outcomes. We need to ascertain the academic level, number of credits, date of award and syllabus information to make a judgement on your claim.

If you are applying for APL on a course which leads to professional registration and includes placements, you will be required to provide details of your previous practice placements – the number of hours/days and details of the setting.

For prior experiential learning, please refer to the APEL-specific page, here.

I’m part way through a course at a different institution; can I transfer?

Yes, you should email the APL team with details of which course you wish to transfer onto. We also need to know what you have already studied, in particular:

  • Course title
  • Institution
  • Module learning outcomes
  • Number of academic credits achieved
  • Official transcript of results (when available)

On receipt of this information, the APL team will liaise with the course tutor to see if a transfer is possible and you will be contacted in due course.

Transfers on full time courses are usually only permitted at the end of an academic level, i.e. into the start of year 2 or 3, and will depend on place availability as well as your prior learning content.

I previously studied part of a course with UoC/SMC, can I return to complete it?

Possibly. It depends on when you studied and which course, since many programmes have undergone revalidation in recent years. You should email the APL Office with details of what you studied and when. The APL team will then advise.

How will the credit appear?

If your APL claim is successful the credits will be attached to your student record. You will be able to view this through the ‘My Course’ part of ICON. You will see a column for ‘APL Credits’ which will show the total credits awarded. You will not see individual module codes (if applicable) via ICON, but these will be shown on the Statement of Results issued after each progression assessment board and on your academic transcript of results at the end of your course.

I’m a postgraduate student; will claiming APL affect my student finance?

Yes, claiming APL may have an impact on your eligibility for a postgraduate loan. You should contact your funding council for further advice. 

International students

If you are applying to join the second or third year of a University of Cumbria course as an international student, you will need to send details of your university-level study to

You will need to provide translated copies of your prior learning transcripts, showing details of the academic credits and award you have attained, and the syllabus content (module learning outcomes) of your previous study. We will also need full details of the institution where you have studied.

Any certificated evidence from another language medium must be provided in the original format and with a translated copy. Both the original language and translated copies must be authenticated by the issuing institution and signed by its senior academic officer.

The APL team will liaise with the International Admissions team to confirm the UK equivalency of your prior study, and with the appropriate programme team in considering your application.

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