Accredited learning (AL)

Introduction to accredited learning

You may be able to gain accreditation for prior learning from another institution, as part of an internal transfer at UWE Bristol.

We define the accreditation of prior learning as learning which has been accredited or certificated by:

  • a UK or overseas higher education provider
  • an external body (eg a professional or other awarding body)
  • UWE Bristol (in the case of internal transfer).

Applying for the recognition of accredited learning

You should complete the Accredited Learning application form if you are:

  • applying to UWE Bristol for the first time and already have some credit achieved at another provider which you think could be recognised towards the programme you are applying for. You will be prompted to provide the AL form once the application has been received.
  • applying to UWE Bristol, having studied with us previously and already have some credit which you think could be recognised towards the programme you are applying for.
  • already registered on a programme at UWE Bristol and seeking recognition of some AL as part of an internal transfer. In this case, your prior learning may have been achieved at UWE Bristol.

Please note: You may have achieved the learning you want recognised before you started at UWE Bristol or during your time with us. It is your responsibility to apply for AL.

You need to have submitted your application and provide all documentation required by the relevant deadline below.

Intake month Deadline date to submit application and provide all documentation required
September 1 June
January 1 November
April 1 February


To be recognised as contributing credit to an award of the University, your evidence must demonstrate:

  • authenticity – you completed what was claimed
  • direct comparison – by matching the learning outcomes with comparable specified modules approved for the award sought, or with programme learning outcomes within the Shell Award Framework, or where advanced entry to a programme is being sought
  • currency – the learning is in keeping with expectations of current knowledge
  • an equivalent academic level of achievement to the module/s being applied for
  • an equivalent credit size to the module/s being applied for.

AL credit will not:

  • carry marks or grades awarded by another institution
  • carry marks achieved under the University’s own academic regulations
  • be used to gain an award in its entirety.

Marks or grades used in the AL process will not be shown on your Notification of Credit and Assessment Marks, nor will they be used in the calculation for honours or other differential level of award.

Introduction to accredited experiential learning (AEL)

AEL is learning achieved through experience that may not be formally certificated.

You will be required to undertake a form of assessment. The assessment may require you to collect and present evidence of your learning in a portfolio or, where appropriate, you may be assessed by formal examination.

Applying for the recognition of accredited experiential learning

You need to apply to the college or affiliated institution running your programme.

The assessment of applications for AEL will be done by designated staff within each college. They will have appropriate subject, discipline and professional expertise, and relevant experience of, or training in, the appropriate procedures.

Assessment of AEL may take a variety of forms, including:

  • a structured interview plus corroborating evidence
  • work-based observation plus a portfolio or other record
  • a form of assessment, including assessments and examinations set for relevant approved modules devised to meet the specific requirements of a programme or award.

The award of credit

Credit, but not a mark, may be awarded if your experience can be matched against the learning outcomes of a module or group of modules through supporting evidence, or through university assessment procedures. The module outcome will be pass or fail.

Re-using credit cashed in for an interim award towards a higher level qualification

If you have achieved an interim award under the UWE Bristol academic regulations you may be able to return it in order to register on the higher level award to which the interim is linked. For example, a PG Dip interim for a Masters award, or a Dip HE for an honours degree. Please note, this is not accredited learning, but is a reuse of credit and marks and can only be considered if the award is returned.

Subject to the entry requirements and availability of places on the higher level award, in order to qualify:

  • the interim award must have been achieved under the UWE Bristol academic regulations
  • the modules must still be valid for the higher level award
  • the applicant must return the interim award certificate to the University.


There are some restrictions on the amount of recognised prior learning that can contribute to a UWE Bristol award. This is set out in the Part B of the current UWE Bristol Academic Regulations.

Transferring university or college

If you decide to transfer to another higher education provider to continue your studies, they may be able to accredit learning achieved at UWE Bristol. You should check their regulations for guidance.

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