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 Officers for advice.

Contact the APL officers

APL Officers
University of Cumbria
Bowerham Road
Lancaster. LA1 3JD

Phone: 01524 590856

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 undertaking a top-up degree and seek APL for up to 60 level 6 credits, the credits and marks from your prior learning will be used to calculate your degree classification, as long as the pass-mark for your prior learning was 40%.

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.

What happens if I fail my APEL assessment?

As with any taught module at undergraduate level, you will be given two reassessment opportunities. You can choose to undertake the taught module’s assessment as your first reassessment opportunity or resubmit your portfolio.

At postgraduate level, you will be given one reassessment opportunity. You can choose to undertake the taught module’s assessment or resubmit your portfolio.

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 fee is a £55 administration charge and £310 per 30 credits – regardless of academic level.

What information do I have to provide?

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

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

Yes, you should email the APL Officers 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 Officers 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 Officers 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 your academic transcript of results at the end of your course.

Will my previous module marks be used?

If the module has been completed at a different institution and their pass mark is the same as UoC’s pass mark, then the mark previously achieved will be used when awarding APL. If the pass mark differs, ungraded credit will be awarded.