Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Guide for Applicants
The purpose of this page is to help you understand the RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) Policy and the steps needed to complete your RPL application.  

What is RPL?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is defined as: “the process by which prior learning is given a value. It is a means by which prior learning is formally identified, assessed and acknowledged”. 

  • RPL encompasses all forms of prior learning, including learning acquired by following a course of study (i.e., formal learning), learning acquired outside of the formal education system which may not lead to certification (i.e., non-formal learning) and learning acquired through experience.

 

Please ensure you have read this guide and the Recognition of Prior Learning Academic Policy and confirm with your Programme/School Office that RPL applications to have prior learning recognised to count towards the credit requirements of your programme are accepted by the Board governing your programme.

UCD encourages lifelong learning and provides the opportunity for prior learning to be recognised. Students can apply to have prior learning recognised for the purposes of admission into a UCD programme of study, or credit applied towards a UCD programme of study (for example to replace elective credits in a Stage), or transfer into or between UCD programmes. The Recognition of Prior Learning Policy, and all supporting documentation, applies to all UCD programmes at undergraduate and graduate levels.


If you would like to have prior learning recognised to count towards your UCD programme you should complete the RPL application form if:

  • You have applied for a place on a UCD programme, or
  • You have accepted a place on a UCD programme

Receiving an offer of admission to a programme is not a guarantee that you will be successful in any RPL application to have learning recognised

Please note:

This does not relate to using RPL to meet the admissions requirements of a programme. If you are a prospective student seeking admission to UCD and you do not meet the required admissions criteria as set down for a particular programme of study in UCD, you may apply to be admitted based on prior learning, including experiential learning, or as a mature student.

  • Please see information for undergraduate applicants on grounds of mature years or contact UCD Admissions.
  • Applicants to graduate programmes should contact the relevant School Office for information in the first instance.

This does not relate to using RPL for approved pathway programmes. Please refer to ‘Recognition of Prior Learning Policy’ for further information and contact your Programme/School Office to find out if it is relevant to your application.


When should I complete the RPL application form?

An application for RPL should be made as early as possible and preferably before you commence the relevant module/stage/programme.

An application for RPL relating to a particular module should be submitted before the third week of the semester in which it is offered. Applications made after this date will only be accepted at the discretion of the Board governing your programme.

If you submit an RPL application relating to a particular module(s) after the module(s) has commenced you should register for, attend and participate in the module(s) until you are informed of the decision of the Board governing your programme. If your application is not successful, you are responsible for all assessments associated with the module(s).

You may expect to hear of the outcome or status of your application typically within four weeks of submitting it.

Incomplete applications will not be accepted. It is your responsibility as an applicant to ensure you supply all necessary supporting evidence and documentation and sign the form as required.

The possible outcomes of an RPL application:

  • Prior learning recognised for the purposes of admission to a programme (please see above).
  • Prior learning recognised for the purposes of having credit transferred towards the requirements of the UCD programme of study.
    • In some cases your application may not be successful or you may not receive RPL for the amount of credit for which you applied. In such cases, you are responsible for all assessments associated with the modules on your programme and therefore should register for, attend and participate in the module(s) until you are informed of the outcome of your application.

Receipt of RPL credit for a UCD programme may disqualify you from being eligible for medals or prizes which are offered by the programme – for further information regarding this, check with the Programme Office.

The amount of credit based on prior learning that you may have recognised towards your UCD programme is determined by the Board governing your programme. The evidence of learning that you provide in your application will be compared to the published learning outcomes for the programme/modules for which you seek to have learning recognised. The Programme Board will determine whether you have achieved the learning outcomes that you would have achieved by fulfilling all requirements of the UCD programme of study. The module descriptor/programme can be accessed from the search webpage.

Useful resources

Terms & Conditions

All offers of a place are subject to UCD's Terms and Conditions of Offer.

General Regulations

All students must comply with the general regulations of the university.