Postgraduate Recognition of Prior Learning

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 Recognition of Prior Learning (6 UOC) or Exemption (0 UOC). For more information, please see the Glossary below.  

Eligibility for Recognition of Prior Learning  

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.  
  • 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, however may apply for exemptions and convert this to transfer credit upon articulating to the next program in the sequence. 

Your 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.. 

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.   

If you’re currently studying Biomedical Engineering and wish to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning, there are a few requirements you should be aware of:  

  • If you’re undertaking a postgraduate Biomedical Engineering (8660) program, you’re NOT eligible for exemptions or Recognition of Prior Learning throughout the duration of your degree 
  • If you’re undertaking a Master of Engineering Science (8338) program you may be eligible for some course exemptions. If you have a four-year honours degree (for example in Electrical Engineering) you may obtain a maximum of 24 UOC of exemptions 

How to Apply   

If you wish to apply for a Transfer Credit or Exemption you should submit an Application for Recognition of Prior Learning.  

You must attach an official academic transcript and course descriptions of the studies you have undertaken at another university.  

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 Education Services for Overseas Students resources for more information.  

If you’ve asked for Recognition of Prior Learning and are commencing a Master of Engineering Science (8338) program you’ll see a record of this on your academic statement.  

You can access your academic statement by:   

  1. logging on to www.my.unsw.edu.au   
  2. view the ‘student profile tab’  
  3. view academic statement  

If you’re given 48UOC of exemptions, they will look like either of these:  

  1. GSOE8124 – 24UOC Disciplinary Knowledge  
    GSOE8524 – 24UOC Transfer credit  

OR  

  1. GSOE8124 – 24UOC Disciplinary Knowledge  
    GSOE8212 – 12UOC electives  
    GSOE8312 - 12 UOC Enquiry based  

If you fall under option 1, you’re expected to complete the following:  

If you fall under option 2, you’re expected to complete the following:  

If you have been given 42UOC or less you’re usually expected to also complete a prescribed course which is outlined in your offer letter. It’s expected you complete these prescribed courses as soon as possible.  

It’s important to note that if you have been given Recognition of Prior Learning that does not include:  

  • GSOE8312 - 12 UOC Enquiry based courses, and then you’re expected to complete Master’s Thesis A & B (to be completed in consecutive terms).  

If you’re unsure what your Recognition of Prior Learning means or would like to be considered for more, please contact Civil Engineering for assistance for assistance.  

How to apply  

In most cases, credit will applied upon admission and will be noted in your offer letter. Please proceed to the FAQs below. If that’s not the case, please submit a web form to apply for Transfer Credit after reading the below information.  

Students are expected to apply for Transfer Credit or Exemption PRIOR to commencing their studies at UNSW.  Applications received after the commencement of the current term may be rejected.  

It’s only possible to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning of the foundation-level courses listed below.  

Have a look at the 'Topics Covered' document to ensure the knowledge covered at the host institution is comparable to the topics covered here at UNSW.  

What to include in your application  

It’s important to have the right documentation as submissions without them will be denied. To ensure your application is processed smoothly, please ensure you submit supporting documentation as follows:  

Prior Studies (all courses)  

Applications based on prior studies must include:  

  1. Official Transcript  
  2. Official Course Outline - must be directly equivalent to the up-to-date contents of the UNSW course  

Professional Experience (GSOE9820 only)  

Note that Recognition of Prior Learning requests for Postgraduate Engineering Project Management (GSO9820) based on Professional Experience will only be assessed for Exemptions (0 UOC) and application must include:  

1. CV or Resume   
The following items must be included for consideration:  

  • Job Title 
  • Company of Employment 
  • Duration of Employment 
  • A description of the project 

2. Certified written statement  
The following items must be included for consideration:  

  • Details of the student's management of the project 
  • Duration of the project in hours 
  • Definition of the scope of the project within an Engineering context 
  • The statement must be verified by the supervisor* 

*The supervisor must be contactable to verify authenticity of the document, the following details must be enclosed within the statement:  

  1. Supervisor name 
  2. Supervisor position 
  3. Supervisor work email address (e.g. @unsw.edu.au, @google.com etc.) 
  4. Supervisor phone number 
  5. Signature and/ or verification 

Applications will be rejected where the statement is vague (e.g. “I organised budget and resources”) or an employer recommendation was provided without detail of the project specified (e.g. “I support this person’s application for credit”). Applications must detail the specific actions and tasks performed to successfully complete the project.  

Academic Integrity  

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.  

Removal of Recognition of Prior Learning  

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.  

Frequently Asked Questions  

My transfer credit has been approved. What do I need to do now?  

If you’ve been approved for transfer credit in one of the seven foundation level topics which form prerequisites for most higher-level electives, 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.  

Computer Science and Engineering courses are taught at a faster pace than at many other institutions, and often in leading edge technologies and applications.  Many students overestimate their abilities and put themselves at risk in their attempt to complete the degree in a shorter timeframe.  

Failure in one course will place you on probation; failure in more than three courses will lead to your exclusion from all postgraduate UNSW programs without automatic re-admission.   

My transfer credit/exemptions have not been approved. What do I do now?  

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 reasons 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.  

What is the 12 UOC ADK Exemption (COMP8552)?  

12 UOC Advanced Disciplinary Knowledge (ADK) Exemption means that instead of being required to take 36 UOC (6) ADK courses, you now only need to complete 24 UOC (4) ADK courses. However, please note that these are exemptions, not credit. Exemptions means that you’ll still need to complete 96 units of credit required of the Masters program and your program length has not been reduced.  

Does the 12 UOC ADK Exemption apply to me?  

The 12 UOC ADK exemption does not apply to you if:    

  • You’re in the Graduate Diploma in Information Technology (5543). Upon successful articulation, the reduction will apply provided you do not receive more than 12 UOC Transfer Credit 
  • You’ve already received more than 12 UOC Transfer Credit (your degree has been reduced by more than 12 UOC – 2 courses). This is because your ADK requirement has already been reduced and is calculated according to the ADK table 
  • Students in the Master of Engineering (8621) are strictly NOT eligible for exemptions or RPL throughout the duration of their degree.  
  • Students in program Master of Engineering Science (8338) may be eligible for Recognition of Prior Learning. Students with a four-year honours degree (for example in Electrical Engineering) may obtain a maximum of 48 UOC of exemptions.  
  • Students in program Graduate Diploma of Engineering Science (5341) generally won’t be granted exemptions, however students can discuss this with our Postgraduate Coordinator.  

How to Apply 

Students who are offered 2-year Master of Engineering Science (8338) admission can only apply for course exemptions after completing one term at UNSW with a minimum WAM of 65.  

Students who meet the above criteria and wish to apply for course exemption (0 UOC) or Recognition of Prior Learning (6 UOC) need to complete the appropriate Recognition of Prior Learning form for your program and attach a copy of your official transcript and (English) course outlines.  

Postgraduate Coursework students enrolled in the following specialisations are eligible to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning in their first semester: 

Mechanical Engineering (8621) students and students with a 3-year undergraduate UK degree are not eligible for Recognition of Prior Learning. Recognition of Prior Learning is based on the student’s undergraduate degree and is given in blocks of 24 UOC or 48 UOC. Individual courses are not credited.  

This means the program can be reduced by either a one semester (24 UOC) or two semesters (48 UOC) depending on the result of the UG transcript assessment.  

How to Apply 

To apply, send your undergraduate transcript to the Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering team. You’ll be notified of the result and asked to either accept or deny the credits before the end of week 13 of your first semester.  

Recognition of Prior Learning codes  

Below are Recognition of Prior Learning codes used in Graduate Diploma of Engineering Science (5341) and Master of Engineering Science (8338) programs.  Recognition of Prior Learning is granted in blocks of 24 or 48 UOC.  

  • GSOE8124 - 24 UOC Disciplinary Knowledge  
  • GSOE8112 - 12 UOC Disciplinary Knowledge  
  • GSOE8212 - 12 UOC Electives  
  • GSOE8312 - 12 UOC Enquiry-Based  

Recognition of Prior Learning is not given in blocks of 6, 12 or 18 UOC.  

Some students will be eligible for Recognition of Prior Learning. For example, if you hold an undergraduate degree in mining engineering you can apply for Recognition of Prior Learning for Fundamentals of Mining Engineering (MINE8101) and Mine Processes, Systems and Analysis (MINE8115)

If you have recently completed an undergraduate degree you can apply for Recognition of Prior Learning for Engineering Postgraduate Coursework Research Skills (GSOE9010) (or equivalent to Engineering Postgraduate Research Essentials (GSOE9400). If you have recent relevant experience in the mining industry you can apply for Recognition of Prior Learning for Fundamentals of Mining Engineering (MINE8101). See below for our current guidelines:  

  • Master of Mining Engineering: Applications for a maximum of four course credits or Recognition of Prior Learning will be considered in this program, provided the criteria listed in the section below are satisfied.  
  •  Graduate Diploma of Mining Engineering: Applications for a maximum of two course credits or Recognition of Prior Learning will be considered in this program, provided the criteria listed in the section below are satisfied.  
  • Graduate Certificate of Mining Engineering: Applications for a maximum of one course credit or Recognition of Prior Learning will be considered in this program, but only as part of articulation to the Graduate Diploma, and provided the criteria listed in the section below are satisfied. If an exemption for a course such as Fundamentals of Mining Engineering (MINE8101) is approved for students with relevant mining industry experience, another course is to be completed for the required total UOC for the Graduate Certificate of Mining Engineering.    

Criteria for approval of course credit or RPL:  

  • Course for Recognition of Prior Learning is equivalent to a UNSW postgraduate course in relation to student load, hours required, content and assessments. Undergraduate level courses will generally not be considered equivalent to postgraduate courses for Recognition of Prior Learning 
  • Course for Recognition of Prior Learning was recently completed with a recognised training provider within the past 10 years 
  • Certified academic transcripts are provided as evidence for completion and grades of course for Recognition of Prior Learning 
  • Results of course for Recognition of Prior Learning is > 65% 
  • A plan for courses to be completed each term to complete the postgraduate coursework program must be submitted 

An application for credit Recognition of Prior Learning is to be forwarded to Mining Engineering including documents and information addressing the above criteria.  Approval of all credit Recognition of Prior Learning will be at the discretion of the Director Postgraduate Studies (Coursework).  

Recognition of Prior Learning in a program may be approved when the student shows they have sufficient knowledge of the topic. The student will then be credited course credits and advised of any relevant Recognition of Prior Learning from their program.  

Please note that: 

  • The School policy allows for a maximum of 24 UOC to be granted per program. 
  • Advanced Disciplinary Knowledge (ADK) courses are NOT eligible for Recognition of Prior Learning.  
  • Students are strongly advised to finalise the Recognition of Prior Learning prior to commencing their first term of study. 
  • It’s not possible to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning if a student has previously attempted or remained enrolled beyond the census date in the course while studying at UNSW   

Recognition of Prior Learning can only be given in the courses listed below:  

*Please note PTRL5006 has replaced PTRL5013 in 2019 onwards. They are considered equivalent courses.  

How to Apply 

The documents below should be attached to submission of the application or your application cannot be assessed:  

  • Certified copy of your Academic Transcript 
  • Certified copy of your Graduation Certificate 
  •  Relevant course outlines (in English) 

ARAMCO sponsored students should consult with the Postgraduate Coordinator before submitting their application for transfer credit.  

Postgraduate Coursework students enrolled in Photovoltaics and Solar Energy (8338)Renewable Energy (8338) are eligible to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (transfer credit or Recognition of Prior Learning) in their first term. 

Recognition of Prior Learning in a program may be approved when the student shows they have sufficient knowledge of the topic. The student will then be credited course credits and advised of any relevant Recognition of Prior Learning from their program.  

Please note the following: 

  • The School policy allows for a maximum of 48 UOC to be granted per program 
  • Advanced Disciplinary Knowledge (ADK) courses are NOT eligible for Recognition of Prior Learning.  
  • Students are strongly advised to finalise the Recognition of Prior Learning prior to commencing their first term of study. 
  •  It’s not possible to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning if a student has previously attempted or remained enrolled beyond the census date in the course while studying at UNSW.  

Recognition of Prior Learning can only be given in the courses listed below:  

* Students will need to specify the ETM course they are seeking credit for.  

**Applications for GSOE8312 are subject to completion of a thesis worth (approx.) twice the standard credit of courses in their Bachelor degree.  

How to Apply 

The documents below should be attached to submission of the application or your application cannot be assessed:  

  • Certified copy of your Academic Transcript 
  • Certified copy of your Graduation Certificate 
  • Relevant course outlines (in English) 

Course outline requirements  

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. For example, your previous institution may be required to submit course outlines directly to this office.    

Glossary  

Recognition of Prior Learning 

Recognition of Prior Learning (also known as Credit Transfer or Advanced Standing) reduces the overall duration of the degree. Recognition of Prior Learning in a program may be approved when the student shows they have sufficient knowledge of the topic. The student will then be credited with course credits, thus reducing the overall length of the program. In all cases Recognition of Prior Learning can only be given for up to 50% of a program at the School's discretion.  

Exemption  

Exemption does not reduce the overall duration of the degree. Exemption is used where the student has covered material relevant to a program requirement at UNSW or another institution and does not wish to reduce the overall duration of the program. Exemptions are generally used to waive pre-requisites for higher level elective courses or in cases such as the Grad Cert where students are not eligible for Transfer Credit.  

Articulation (if applicable)  

Students may apply to articulate from Graduate Certificate to Graduate Diploma to Masters level if student meet the articulation requirements found here. On this page you’ll also find the Recognition of Prior Learning rules regarding articulation.  

Course Substitution  

More information regarding course substitution read our Faculty Enrolment Rules.