Centre for Professional Practice

Excellence in practice trans-disciplinary learning

Accreditation of Prior Experiential & Certificated Learning

Accreditation of Prior Experiential and Certificated Learning (APECL) is a process that enables people of all ages, backgrounds and attitudes to receive formal recognition for skills and knowledge they already possess. A person's learning and experience can be formally recognised and taken into account to:

  • Gain entry to further or higher education courses
  • Give exemption from certain parts of a new course of study
  • Qualify for an award in an appropriate subject in further or Higher Education

APECL takes into account

  • Formalised prior-learning where the learning has been assessed and where certificates are awarded on completion
  • Learning gained through unstructured experiences and short courses, arising through leisure pursuits, family experiences and work

Is APECL for Me?

APECL can be useful to a variety of learners, in particular the following have been identified:

  • Mature students returning to education who lack the formal qualifications required for entry to a course of study. APECL can be used to gain access to a course of further or Higher Education.

  • Students of all ages who wish to study overseas, and whose domestic qualifications are not automatically accepted for entry to the overseas course of study. Here, APECL can be used to gain access to the course of study.

  • Past students who have previous further and higher educational qualifications but who now seek to add to those qualifications in order to broaden their expertise or change careers. APECL can be used to avoid repeating specific modules of learning by providing evidence that prior learning has already taken place.

  • Students who wish to return to courses of study that have been interrupted by work or family commitments. Again, APECL can provide evidence that prior learning has occurred.

  • Those who are seeking the award of professional qualifications and need to provide evidence of specific training and practical work experience. APECL provides the framework for collecting and presenting the required evidence.

  • Students on full or part-time courses who wish to gain recognition for informal learning that has taken place through work or leisure-related activities.

Types of APECL Claim

The two different types of Accreditation of Prior Learning are:

  • Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) - the process through which previously assessed and certificated learning is considered and, if appropriate, recognised for academic purposes.

    • i.e. an applicant with a Foundation Degree who wants to use its credit value towards a BSc at Kent in a similar subject area.

  • Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) - the process through which learning achieved outside education or training systems is assessed and, if appropriate, recognised for academic purposes.

    • To gain credit for APEL, a portfolio of evidence is developed, (an APEL Portfolio) which includes evidence reflecting on how learning from experience is relevant to the university programme to be taken.

Next Steps

If you think that APECL will be of benefit to you, guidance is available on APECL claims advising what you should do if you wish to make an APECL claim (please see the Guidance section). If you decide you would like to apply for APECL, please contact the school/centre responsible for the programme you wish to join to see if you may be able to make a claim.

APECL Guidance for Applicants/Students/Employer

For Applicants/Students

For anyone considering making an APECL claim, please click the link below for guidance on what APECL is, the different types of APECL that can be claimed, and the process to claim APECL. In addition, a leaflet has been developed to give an overview of APECL for applicants and students of the University.

For employers

Employers sometimes require APECL for their staff as part of their work with the University. A leaflet has been developed to give an overview for employers of APECL and the APECL process.

Employer Leaflet
Employers can find further information on becoming involved with the University through the Centre for Professional Practice.


For Staff

Guidance has been developed for staff involved in approving APECL or supporting an applicant/student through the APECL Portfolio process. This includes information on the assessment and approval of APECL claims by staff at the University. In addition, a leaflet has been developed to give an overview of APECL for staff at the University. Further guidance can be obtained from the Academic Division via academicdivision@kent.ac.uk.

Further information on the process of approving APECL, and all forms required, can be found under Annex R of the University's Code of Practice, available on the Quality Assurance and Validation Office website.

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Last Updated: 26/05/2015