The 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.

APECL offers existing and potential students the opportunity to use their learning and experience in order 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.

It 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. These include:

  • Mature students returning to education who lack the formal qualifications required for entry to a course of study.
  • Students of all ages who wish to study overseas and whose domestic qualifications are not automatically accepted for entry.
  • 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.
  • Students who wish to return to courses of study that have been interrupted by work or family commitments.
  • Professionals seeking the award of qualifications and need to provide evidence of specific training and practical work experience.
  • Students on full-time 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 Claims

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 benefit you, guidance is available on how to file 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.

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

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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