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Accreditation of Prior Learning Policy

The Accreditation of Prior Learning guidance is for any applicants who wish to have their prior learning and experience considered in order to be awarded credit, or be exempted from certain parts of study at Queen Mary. The prior learning can be from previous study with Queen Mary, or from learning obtained elsewhere.

What kind of prior learning can be considered

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) involves giving recognition for substantial and significant learning which can be demonstrated through previous formal learning, and sometimes through experiential learning.

Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL)

APCL involves the recognition of prior learning at higher education (HE) level that has been formally assessed and certificated. This could be in the form of a completed award, or in the form of credits awarded that did not lead to a formal qualification.

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

APEL involves giving credit for prior learning gained through experience, where this has been assessed by academic staff at the university and met the relevant requirements for recognition.

Application and Processing

How to apply for APL consideration

You will first need to submit an application for the programme you wish to join. Applications are made using the online application form found on the course pages, for more information on making an application, please visit our how to apply pages.

You will need to complete the APL application form below and attach this to your application, this should be included with your application documents.

Please also attach all transcripts and certificates for the study you wish to be considered for APL. You may wish to include module descriptors, or a course handbook at this point if you have them available.

If you have already completed your application and were not able to attach the APL form, please use the Document Upload function within the Applicant Portal to attach this as soon as possible afterwards.


How your application will be considered

Once you have submitted your application for a programme at Queen Mary and have attached your APL application form and associated documents, your application will be considered by an academic selector within the chosen school. They will ensure that the prior learning meets all conditions of the policy eligibility and is suitable for the programme chosen. They will confirm that the intended study at Queen Mary does not include significant overlap and will make sure there is appropriate support and/or alternative assessment if required.

Once your application has been considered and the academic school has confirmed a decision, you will be notified by the Admissions team about the outcome of your application.

Prior learning awarded from Queen Mary 

Any applicants who wish to use prior learning awarded from Queen Mary will need to follow an additional step outlined in the APL policy and return any existing lower-level award certificates where appropriate.


Applicants who are not satisfied with the outcome of the assessment of an application for APL are advised to refer to the Admissions Appeals and Complaints Policy.

For further information, please contact the Admissions Managers.

Cases that are not eligible for APL (or have restrictions)

Full information about restrictions and exceptions are included in our APL Policy and Academic regulations. Below are some examples of cases that would not be able to be considered under the policy, or come with potential restrictions.

Prior learning that is dated from more than 5 years ago

We look to make sure that the prior learning being considered is up to date and recently obtained and anything that is dated from over 5 years before the start of the intended study at Queen Mary cannot generally be considered.

Cases with significant overlap of modules/credits

In each APL case there will be a maximum number of credits that can be recognised and brought forward into the Queen Mary programme, sometimes there may have been additional studies completed that have not been awarded APL. In this case these modules cannot overlap with the study to be completed (see Academic Regulations) and if the APL application is successful, this may result in you needing to take alternative modules to avoid repeating the same content.

Prior learning that was not successfully completed

We are not able to consider APL applications where the prior learning includes academic failure in individual modules, or as a result of not completing the intended award.

International students requiring a visa

An application for APL may have impacts on your visa application. If you have any concerns, you can contact our Advice and Counselling Service for further guidance.

Frequently asked questions

Please refer to the advice on undergraduate transfer and advanced entry.

Please be aware that a successful APL application may impact your funding eligibility. We recommend you check this with your funding provider directly.

Please refer to the University Fee Regulations for more information.

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