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Recognition of Prior Learning policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Policy is effective from 24 November 2021.

(2) This Policy is pursuant to regulation 27 of the Academic Board Regulations.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) This Policy governs credit awarded towards a University course for prior or concurrent learning.

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Policy applies to the University’s undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs. It does not apply to higher degrees by research.

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Section 4 - Policy

(5) The University maintains practices for granting credit towards courses on the basis of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) that are consistent with the Higher Education Standards Framework and maintain the integrity of the course and qualification. Decisions involve judgements about a student’s best starting point based on their past achievement or requirements for units within a course so that students are not disadvantaged in achieving expected course learning outcomes.

(6) Credit towards courses on the basis of RPL may be granted as specified, unspecified, or block credit.

(7) Credit on the basis of RPL may be granted towards a component of a course where a student can demonstrate that they have achieved learning outcomes equivalent to the learning outcomes of that component. Learning outcomes may include skills or knowledge, or the application of the skills or knowledge.

(8) Credit on the basis of RPL may be granted for micro-credentials awarded by the University or select accredited institutions where the micro-credentials evidence achievement of clearly articulated learning outcomes and standards and the identity of the person receiving the micro-credential is verified. Any two Professional Practice Credentials achieved at Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level 9 will attract one unit of unspecified credit at the same AQF level, where course rules allow, up to a maximum of two credit points.

(9) Unspecified credit on the basis of RPL cannot be granted towards compulsory components of a course.

(10) Masters admission credit will be granted to students entering specified Masters courses with qualifications which exceed the minimum entry requirements. The credit available will be aligned with the entry requirements for 8 credit point and 12 credit point Masters courses as specified in Table B1 of Schedule A: Undergraduate and postgraduate minimum admission criteria for Deakin Courses to the Admission Criteria and Selection (Higher Education Courses) procedure. Masters admission credit will be granted automatically at the point of course offer and will not require a seperate application for credit.

(11) Credit granted towards a course on the basis of RPL must meet the following requirements:

  1. Students must complete a minimum of one-third of their studies in their current course, or four credit points, whichever is the greater, at Deakin. For graduate certificates, a minimum of two Deakin credit points must be completed. For courses that integrate Deakin Professional Practice credentials, students must complete specified preparatory and capstone units as approved by Academic Board.
  2. For students receiving Masters admission credit, the maximum credit available under clause 11a will be based on the shortened duration after the application of Masters admission credit.
  3. Credit on the basis of RPL is not granted:
    1. conditionally on a student meeting additional requirements
    2. where credit has been granted towards a Deakin course and the award has been received
    3. for formal learning assessed as a 'fail', 'pass conceded' or equivalent grade
    4. for a unit a student has already attempted and received a finalised grade
    5. for formal learning undertaken while the student is excluded from a course at Deakin, except where such formal learning is undertaken with the prior approval of the relevant Faculty Executive Dean or nominee
    6. for prior learning acquired more than 10 years before the application for RPL credit. However, with the approval of Academic Board, Faculties may impose a shorter time limit for some courses to ensure currency of knowledge and skills appropriate to the discipline. The shorter time limit must be clearly communicated to current and prospective students via public web pages.
  4. Where a preclusion is approved and credit is not awarded, a student will be required to replace the precluded unit(s) with an equivalent number of credit points (units) from specified elective units.

(12) In exceptional circumstances, the Chair of the Academic Board may approve exception to the requirements set out in clause 11.

Credit arrangements for combined or dual courses

(13) Approved combined or dual courses may have reciprocal credit arrangements whereby learning achieved in one course is recognised for the purpose of assigning credit in the other. The integrity of Deakin courses must be maintained in such arrangements. Reciprocal credit may be granted for a maximum of one third of each Deakin course, and the remaining two-thirds of each Deakin course must be unique to that course. For dual courses, exceptions to this requirement may be approved by the Academic Board.


(14) The Academic Board is responsible for setting the requirements for credit on the basis of RPL.

(15) The University Recognition of Prior Learning Office is responsible for centrally managing the RPL process and maintaining and applying precedents to approve credit towards courses on the basis of RPL in accordance with the Recognition of Prior Learning procedure.

(16) Faculties are responsible for:

  1. making reciprocal credit on the basis of RPL arrangements with other institutions to establish credit to be granted for courses offered by the Faculty
  2. approving credit towards courses on the basis of RPL in accordance with the principles specified in this policy and the processes specified in the Recognition of Prior Learning procedure, and
  3. maintaining records of reciprocal credit on the basis of RPL arrangements.

(17) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Global Engagement is responsible for managing articulation pathways and reporting annually to the Academic Board on articulation pathways in accordance with the requirements of the Academic Partnerships procedure.

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Section 5 - Procedure

(18) The Recognition of Prior Learning procedure documents how to comply with this Policy.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(19) For the purpose of this Policy:

  1. combined course: approved combination of courses of the University that leads to the conferral of not more than two awards in accordance with regulation 17 of the Academic Board Regulations.
  2. credit
    1. specified credit: credit granted towards particular or specific components of a course.
    2. unspecified credit: credit granted towards elective components of a course.
    3. block credit: credit granted towards whole stages or components of a course, such as a trimesters or a year of full-time study in that course, rather than for specific units. It is usually only applicable under formal articulation agreements that Deakin University has with other education providers.
  3. credit point: is the value of each unit of study that contributes towards the completion requirements for a course.
  4. credit for concurrent formal learning: credit granted for relevant concurrent learning (approved in advance by a Faculty) which, on successful completion, will be credited towards an award of the University.
  5. Deakin Professional Practice Credential: a Deakin micro-credential that warrants learning acquired through professional practice (in accordance with the Micro-credentials policy).
  6. dual course: an approved combination of one or more courses developed collaboratively with a higher education provider in Australia or overseas leading to seperate conferral of an academic award by Deakin University and the partner provider, the components of dual courses being typically designed and delivered seperately by the two providers in accordance with regulation 17 of the Academic Board Regulations.
  7. formal learning: learning that takes place through a structured program that leads to the full or partial achievement of an officially accredited qualification
  8. learning includes:
    1. formal learning
    2. learning through work or life experience
    3. learning that takes place through a structured program but does not lead to an officially accredited qualification.
  9. Masters admission credit: specified credit pre-approved by the Academic Board provided to allow students entering specified Masters courses with qualifications which exceed the minimum entry requirements to shorten the duration of their course.  Credit on the basis of RPL may be granted in addition to Masters admission credit.
  10. micro-credential: an award that warrants achievement of clearly articulated learning outcomes that is not sufficient, in itself, to lead to the award of an Australian Higher Education Qualification or international qualification with equivalent learning outcomes (in accordance with the Micro-credentials policy).
  11. precedent: a reference point for future credit decisions agreed by the University in consultation with relevant faculties based on evidence that students are not disadvantaged in achieving course learning outcomes.
  12. preclusion: substitution of a core unit in a course by another approved unit where a student has already completed the requirements for the exempted unit elsewhere.
  13. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL): a process used to assess an individual’s relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) to determine the credit that may be granted.