What is RPL

We understand that life, interests, opportunities and a myriad of other factors can influence the study you undertake. When those factors change, you may need to refocus your study program. This is where Recognition of Prior Learning (also referred to as ‘credit transfer’ or ‘advanced standing’) comes in.  

Recognition of Prior Learning is the transfer of credit towards your program from another institution. Where the courses passed at another institution are deemed as equivalent to those studied at UNSW and are required for your program. You can be granted credit from more than one institution, provided that the courses studied are recognised by UNSW as being equivalent. 

Recognition of Prior Learning is available in the form of Credit Transfer/Advanced Standing (6 UOC). For more information, please see the Glossary below.

Eligibility requirements

You may receive Recognition of Prior Learning with the approval of the Program Authority if you satisfy the UNSW Credit Transfer Rules and Faculty Enrolment Rules.
Please note that:

  • Recognition of Prior Learning assessments are based on the completion date of the course used for credit. 
  • Courses with a successful completion date of up to 10 years can be used for credit transfer. Credit won’t be granted where the completion date exceeds 10 years
  • Approved RPL units of credit must not exceed 50% of the minimum unit of credit required for the enrolled degree
  • It’s not possible to apply for credit if a student has previously attempted or remained enrolled beyond the census date in the course while studying at UNSW

Students enrolled in a program that consists of 24 UOC or less are not eligible for transfer credit. The Faculty does not give recognition of prior learning on the basis of work experience.

How do I submit an application?

To apply, submit an application for Recognition of Prior Learning by completing the ‘Recognition of Prior Learning’ webform, you will need to submit a copy of your official transcript and (English) course outlines of the studies you have undertaken at another university.

  • If your Transcript or Course Outline is not in English, it must be officially translated. Applications won’t be accepted where the course outline was translated from an unofficial source or appears to be self-written. If your Transcript or Course Outline is not in English, it must be officially translated. Please refer to the UNSW document certification page for more information. 

    Students will be disqualified from credit if found to have plagiarised any content in their submission and reported to the relevant authority for further action. 

    The UNSW Student Code provides a framework for the standard of conduct expected of UNSW students with respect to their academic integrity and behaviour. Where a student breaches the Student Code with respect to academic integrity the University may take disciplinary action under the Student Misconduct Procedure.  

  • If you request the removal of Recognition of Prior Learning and it’s approved, you won’t be eligible to have them reinstated under any circumstances.  

How is my application assessed?

Recognition of Prior Learning (Credit Transfer) is assessed based on transcripts and course outlines. Applications can be assessed at two stages; during Admissions (when applying for a degree) or by submitting an application for recognition of prior learning (after accepting an offer from UNSW).

During the Admissions stage, recognition of prior learning is assessed by the UNSW Engineering Admissions Team (in consultation with the Program Authority). This assessment is based on your academic transcript(s), and you will be notified of your credit in your official letter of offer. If further information is required you will be asked to provide full course outlines (course outline requirements may be found below).

Students who have accepted an offer submit an application for Recognition of Prior Learning by completing the ‘Recognition of prior learning’ webform, you will need to submit a copy of your official transcript and (English) course outlines of the studies you have undertaken at another university. Recognition of Prior Learning will be assessed by the Nucleus: Student Hub (in consultation with the Program Director).

Please contact the Nucleus: Student Hub if you have any further questions.

Students in the Master of Engineering Science (single and dual award) may be eligible for up to 48 Units of Credit recognition of prior learning (credit transfer) depending on your background. You may be awarded:

  • If you have a four-year engineering degree in a cognate area that includes a final year capstone design or research project and a project management course, you will be given 24 Units of Credit
  • If you have a four-year engineering degree in a cognate area that includes a final year capstone design or research project and a project management course, AND at least 3 years of professional engineering work experience you will be given 48 Units of Credit
  • If you have an Australian four-year Engineering Degree or an equivalent degree accredited under the Washington Accord in a cognate area you will be given 48 Units of Credit
  • RPL may be obtained for other courses upon application.

You will be notified of the credits in your official letter of offer. The amount of credit awarded can reduce your overall degree duration up to a year.

Students in the Master of Information Technology (single and dual award) may be eligible for up to 48 Units of Credit recognition of prior learning (credit transfer) depending on your background. You may be awarded:

  • If you have a Bachelor of Computer Science, Bachelor of Data Science and Decisions, or Bachelor of Engineering (Bioinformatics, Software Engineering, Computer Engineering) at UNSW, you will be given 48 Units of Credit.
  • If you have a four-year Seoul or Washington accord accredited bachelor’s degree in a cognate area that includes a final year capstone design or research project and a project management course, you will be given 48 Units of Credit
  • If you have a four-year bachelor’s degree in a cognate area that includes a final year capstone design or research project and a project management course, you will be given 24 Units of Credit
  • If you have a three- year Seoul or Washington accord accredited bachelor’s in a cognate area that includes a final year capstone design or research project and a project management course, AND at least 3 years of professional engineering work experience you will be given 48 Units of Credit
  • RPL may be obtained for other courses upon application.

You will be notified of the credits in your official letter of offer. The amount of credit awarded can reduce your overall degree duration up to a year.

Program specific requirements

Each program offered at UNSW is unique and subject to specific requirements. Explore the list below to find the information most relevant to you and click on the link under each specialisation for further details.

Frequently asked questions

  • In most cases, applications for recognition of prior learning will be assessed upon admission and will be noted in your offer letter.  
     
    Students who have accepted an offer submit an application for Recognition of Prior Learning by completing the ‘Recognition of Prior Learning’ webform, you will need to submit a copy of your official transcript and (English) course outlines of the studies you have undertaken at another university. Recognition of Prior Learning will be assessed by the Nucleus: Student Hub (in consultation with the Program Director).  
    Note: Students are encouraged to submit applications up to 4-weeks prior to the start of term they wish to receive credit. Any applications received after this time may not be processed in time for credit to be awarded for that term. Applications cannot be assessed if you have completed the course at UNSW or have remained enrolled in the course past census date. 

  • If you’ve been approved for recognition of prior learning, you should take care to ensure that your skills are up to date, and your background and/or experience matches the assumed knowledge expected of you.  While we have made every effort to ensure that our assessment is accurate, you’re ultimately responsible for your own enrolment and you should seek advice immediately if you have any concerns about your ability to study higher level material.

  • If your transfer credit has not been approved, you can submit an appeal in writing by responding to the email with your outcome.  You must outline the reason(s) why you think the decision should be overturned and you may provide additional documentation if appropriate.  

    If the decision to deny your credit request is upheld, you may submit a further appeal to the UNSW Student Integrity Unit.  You can find details on the procedure on the UNSW Student website. 

  • The Academic Statement screen displays an unofficial record of your academic history. The statement includes details of your program, enrolled courses and results and awards obtained at UNSW. 
     

    Please refer to the steps here to access your academic statement.

  • Students who articulate will receive recognition of prior learning for all eligible courses completed in earlier programs in the articulated suite (e.g. Graduate Certificate and/or Graduate Diploma).

  • The following components are required when submitting course outlines:  

    • Course code and title  

    • Course description  

    • Total hours for the whole course (e.g. How many lecture/tutorial hours per week and how many weeks per term)  

    • Assessment weighting schedules (e.g. 30% mid-term exam, 70% final exam etc.)  

    • Weekly topic schedule (i.e. Which topics were taught in each week)  

    Optional components that may be required:  

    • Textbook materials used  

    • Credit units for the course and total credit units for a full-time student per term   

    Please note: You may be required to submit further proof/ evidence of studies. 

  • The Australian Government wants overseas students in Australia to have a safe, enjoyable and rewarding place to study. Australia's laws promote quality education and consumer protection for overseas students. These laws include the Education Services for Overseas (ESOS) Act 2000 and the National Code. Please refer to our Student Visa Information for International Students webpage for more information.   

Glossary

  • Accreditation is the process for approval by an accrediting authority of a program of learning using quality assurance standards. Accreditation may be for recognition of a program of learning as an AQF qualification or by professional bodies for the purpose of professional registration leading to practice in a particular field. 

  • A defined sequence of programs in which the courses and requirements for completion of earlier programs in the sequence are a subset of subsequent programs in the sequence, and full credit is granted for courses completed in earlier programs in the sequence.

  • A cognate discipline is a closely allied or related discipline, or defined branch of study or learning. The disciplines, branches of study or learning that are considered ‘cognate’ are commonly defined at the program level for the purposes of assessing applicants for entry or for recognition of prior learning.

  • A type of exemption from a core course or other requirement. Students are still required to complete an equivalent, or near equivalent, course to the same unit of credit value.

    Please refer to the Faculty Enrolment Rules for more information regarding course substitution.

  • A process whereby a student who transfers from a program at another higher education provider, or from another program at UNSW, is granted credit for courses completed at that higher education provider or program.

    Please refer to the Faculty Enrolment Rules for more information regarding credit transfer.

  • The process of assessing an individual’s relevant prior learning (including formal, non-formal learning and informal / workplace learning) for equivalence to:

    • the learning outcomes of the qualification specified as a requirement for admission to the program, or

    • courses in the program to which a student has been admitted to determine the credit value to be granted as advanced standing or exemptions.

    Please refer to the Faculty Enrolment Rules for more information regarding recognition of prior learning. 

  • Washington and Seoul Accord are separate multi-lateral agreements between bodies responsible for accreditation or recognition of tertiary-level engineering (Washington) or computing and IT-related (Seoul) qualifications.

Contact us

Please contact the Nucleus: Student Hub for all enquiries regarding recognition of prior learning.