Accreditation for prior learning

Accreditation for Prior (Experiential) Learning (AP(E)L) is a process by which individuals can gain credit towards qualifications based on past achievements.

This can be gained either through formal study - Accreditation for Prior Learning (APL) or by learning through experience - Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

APEL Guidelines

The purpose of these guidelines is to help you decide whether or not you wish to pursue a claim for Accreditation of Prior Learning and to help you complete the application form. Please read before completing your application form.

General principles

1. Claims for accreditation will be considered only in relation to a proposed programme of study at this University and should, where possible, be made prior to enrolment in the programme. Claims cannot be considered after the first six weeks of each stage of the programme.

2. The responsibility for making the claim and providing the evidence rests with the applicant.

3. Accreditation can be for entry onto a programme or credit for module(s) within a programme.

4. There are University Regulations which govern the amount of credit which can be allowed for any award. Therefore in some cases, credit can not be given even though you can provide evidence of appropriate prior learning. Staff in the Personal Development Department (PDD) will be able to advise on this.

How am I credited for modules?

In order to gain credit for modules within your programme of study, the evidence you provide must demonstrate how you have previously achieved the learning outcomes of the module at the appropriate level. Where your evidence is a previously studied module, this must have been successfully completed in order to be considered.

What is meant by 'credit for entry'?

All programmes have entry requirements. For "top up" degrees, this University requires the student to have already accumulated 120 Level 4 and 120 Level 5 credits in order to access a Level 6 top-up programme (e.g. BSc (Hons) Mental Health Studies).

Most professional qualifications give some academic credit and further credits can be claimed through evidence of experiential learning, possibly through completion of the AP(E)L module and a reflective profile.

How do I claim accreditation for prior learning?

Please complete the AP(E)L application form, using the notes for guidance

Payment for AP(E)L info sheet

If you are unsure, contact the Personal Development Department on 0121 331 7011.

Section 1 - Course attending /applying for

  • This is the course you are on, or hoping to access (not previous courses you have done).
  • If you aren't sure - indicate level of study eg degree level study.

Section 2 - Purpose of claim

Please indicate if you wish to claim for credit for a module within the programme or if you want confirmation of existing credits, to determine eligibility for access or award.

If you wish to be accredited with one or more modules within your programme, please indicate the modules you want to be accredited with by giving the Birmingham City University module number and title (not the details of modules previously completed).

Section 3 - Personal details

As requested. Please note evidence of name change will be required if your evidence is in a different name to your current one.

Section 4 - Academic qualifications

Please indicate qualifications relevant to this claim. Indicate when and where these qualifications were achieved as this helps to ascertain their credit value. Include credit value if known.

Section 5 - Professional qualifications

Include all relevant professional qualifications, indicating where and when achieved as this helps ascertain credit value.

Section 6 - Equal opportunities monitoring

This information is used purely for monitoring the University's adherence to its equal opportunities policy.

Section 7(a)

This section needs to be completed if you require accreditation with specific Birmingham City University modules. List the Learning Outcomes of the module you wish to be accredited with in the left-hand column.

In the right hand column, list evidence you are providing to demonstrate achievement of this outcome. Be specific, signpost and highlight the evidence so that the signpost and assessor can locate it easily. See our example below.


Level 6 Research Methods Code No - GM60H5

Learning Outcome Evidence of achievement

  1. See University of No Town - course content 2, 7 and 8
    letter from Exam Board re. successful completion.

See assignment pages 3-5.

  1. See content 1 and 9.
  1. See assignment guidelines and evidence of passing (as 1).

Section 7(b)

Complete this section if you require confirmation of the credits you already have, either to access a programme, or to determine the award you will be eligible for on completion. In the left-hand column, indicate the credits you think you have.

If you are unsure, put a question mark or write "unknown". On the right-hand side, indicate what evidence you are submitting for assessment.

Please sign the AP(E)L form. Claims which are unclear or unsigned will be returned.

In Section 8, indicate how you heard about the possibility of AP(E)L. This enables us to monitor the effectiveness of how we disseminate information.

Return your completed form, along with the evidence to the address on the back of the application form.

When you return your form, please ensure that you include as much evidence as you can that shows you have met the learning outcomes within your claim. Please submit photocopies but ensure that originals are available if required.

Examples of appropriate evidence

  • Official results list, including your name and indicating successful completion of the module.
  • Feedback sheet from module assignment (if Birmingham City University).
  • A profile of evidence demonstrating achievement of EACH learning outcome as specified in the Birmingham City University module outline.

This evidence may take the form of

  • Course outline/contents/timetables/transcripts etc.
  • Written evidence of academic credits awarded elsewhere.

Process of claims

This take varying lengths of time, dependent on the assessment required.

When we receive your application form and supportive evidence, they are assessed and a decision made regarding what credit can be given, if any.

A letter regarding the decision will be sent to you and a copy to the relevant tutor and to the examination board, if appropriate.

Once you have been accredited with a module, you are not entitled to attend that module, as part of the fee may be refunded.

Please remember you cannot assume you will be successful in your claim. However, submission of additional evidence and/or viva voce is possible. Therefore, submit claims as early as possible, and continue to attend the module until you have received written confirmation of accreditation.

If you need further advice on how to claim credit, please contact the Personal Development Department.

Gay Johnson
Philip Dee

City South Campus
Westbourne Road
B15 3TN
Tel: 0121 331 7011.

If you wish to pursue AP(E)L,download the form here.

Contact 0121 331 7011 if you wish to discuss a claim for prior experience.