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Postgraduate taught

Accreditation of prior learning for Masters courses in Healthcare and Medicine

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is a process whereby students, who have already gained relevant skills and knowledge prior to the start of their course, may be granted a partial credit exemption from their programme instead of unnecessarily repeating work.

There are two types of APL:

Your application to study the programme and your APL application are processed separately.

You should carefully read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) before proceeding with your APL application.

You should think about APL around the same time that you apply for your course.

Please note

If you use APL towards your Masters you will not be eligible for a postgraduate loan because you need to study the full 180 credits to be eligible for that funding.

To find out more about the postgraduate loan and other funding opportunities please see Masters funding.

Accredited Prior Certified Learning (APCL)

APCL grants a credit exemption in recognition of prior learning to which all of the following points apply:

  • it is relevant to your course
  • it has been formally assessed and certified
  • the credits achieved through this prior learning:
    • were at Masters level (or equivalent)
      and
    • are no more than five years old
  • it was the result of study on a recognised programme with a University 

An example of APCL

A student with a PG certificate qualification is granted 60 credits, in recognition of relevant learning achieved during that course, to use towards a MSc Healthcare Leadership & Management programme.

An exemption of up to a maximum of 90 credits may be available through APCL.

Accredited Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

APEL grants a credit exemption in recognition of any non-certified skill(s) and/or knowledge to which all of the following points apply:

  • it is relevant to your course
  • it was acquired through professional experience which is capable of being evaluated
  • it is no more than five years old

This prior learning may be have been acquired professional experiences in general or, more specifically, non-accredited in-service training and/or continuing professional development.

The APEL process is less commonly used than APCL due to the requirement to map and evidence experience to the module learning outcomes. It may be necessary to demonstrate learning has been achieved through submission of a portfolio of relevant work.

Applying for APL

You should think about APL around the same time that you apply for your course. However, there may be some flexibility on this depending on:

  • the timetabling of the modules you wish to be exempted from
    and/or
  • if you are studying part time

Whether you are applying for APEL or APCL (or both) you will be required to evidence the learning you have achieved.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

In some cases, evidencing your prior learning will be achieved by matching the Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) of the module(s) you wish to be exempted from with the previous experience or qualifications that you have obtained.

As long as you are able to match at least two thirds of the ILOs for a module then it can be worthwhile applying.

Decision on your APL application

The decision as to which, if any, modules you can APL will be taken by the Programme Director for the programme you wish to study. The process is overseen by the Associate Dean for Education and the Taught Faculty Dean.

Once the APL decision has been taken you will be informed of the outcome and the impact on the work that you will have to do. The decision of the Taught Faculty Dean is final.

Your application to study the programme and your APL application are processed separately.

You should carefully read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) before proceeding with your APL application.

Delaying APL while studying part-time

For part-time study, if you are intending to delay your APL application, please note that it must be completed and approved before you progress to your dissertation module.

You should apply for the course in the normal way, while being aware that until your APL application is approved there is no guarantee that you will be permitted to APL any modules on your programme.