Credit and RPL

Credit and RPL

Prior learning is relevant learning that has taken place prior to admission into a course. Prior learning can be formal or non-formal. Formal learning takes place through a structured program of learning that leads to the full or partial achievement of an officially accredited qualification (e.g. course of study undertaken with a TEQSA registered education provider). Non-formal learning takes place through a structured program of learning but does not lead to an officially accredited qualification (e.g. workplace or community-based training activities).

There are significant advantages in acknowledging prior learning including a more tailored and relevant course of study, elimination of duplication of learning, enabling diversity and facilitation of credit transfers between educational institutions.

Credit may be granted in units, for comparable work completed or concurrently being undertaken at an approved level at any recognised tertiary institution, according to the Sydney College of Divinity Credit Policy.


Credit reduces the amount of learning and may be recognised through credit transfer, articulation, recognition of prior learning or advanced standing. Credit is a benefit provided to a student by waiving one or more of the normal requirements for completion of a course of study, such as not having to complete a particular unit of study. Credit is obtained on the basis of evidence that the student has already undertaken learning that is deemed to be equivalent to the parts of the course of study for which credit has been granted. Credit can be granted only from units where the outcomes, content, demand hours and assessment are equivalent to that of units in the Sydney College of Divinity award.


Credit transfer recognises previous formal learning (e.g. university, other qualifications). It uses an assessment of your previous course to determine whether it can be credited to your new course. The assessment determines the extent to which your previous course/unit is equivalent to the required learning outcomes of your desired award/unit.


A student who was not a candidate for a Sydney College of Divinity (SCD) award and who successfully completed one or more units from the SCD Schedule of Units of Study may be permitted to count that unit/s should the student subsequently be accepted into an award which includes those units.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is defined in the Australian Qualifications Framework as a process through which eligibility for the award of credit is assessed, through assessment of formal, informal and non-formal learning. This process is grounded in evidence-based academic judgement about equivalence of learning. The requirements for making such judgements will be as per the Sydney College of Divinity policies, processes and practices concerning RPL.


Sydney College of Divinity’s RPL policy and process complies with the requirements of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). We strive to be equitable and evidence driven and provide a transparent process for determining an appropriate amount of RPL credit for each student.


RPL is the assessment of an individual’s prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) for the purpose of supporting admission. The RPL is used to satisfy, or partially satisfy, course admission criteria, and/or to gain exemption/s for program requirements for postgraduate programs.


RPL matches students’ skills and knowledge with the outcomes of courses or units of courses in an accredited program.  Applicants are responsible for demonstrating that the skills and knowledge they have obtained through work or life experience, match the outcomes of the units in the accredited program.

Credit transfer applies if you have already completed a particular unit within an SCD course through another accredited course at another accredited provider. In order to receive credit, you will need to provide a statement of attainment or a transcript that shows the unit as completed. Credit is granted in accordance to the Sydney College of Divinity policies.


Recognition of Prior Learning applies if you haven’t studied the unit previously, or if you have but it’s been superseded, and you have sufficient experience in that particular area to prove you don’t need to study it again. RPL is about the skills and knowledge you have acquired through work and life experiences and then transferring them to the current course/unit requirements.

Students should speak to the Registrar of the college to find out if they could be eligible for RPL and/or credit. If students could be eligible they must submit the relevant documents and information when applying for admission into a course. The process of RPL and credit is to take place before the start of your course/unit.


Applications for credit must include an authorised transcript of the studies undertaken and the official description of units completed at the other institutions. A Recognition of Prior Learning application is made by following the SCD Application for Recognised Prior Learning process including completing the SCD RPL application form. The Sydney College of Divinity Student Support and Administration Committee makes a judgment about the extent to which the applicant has demonstrated such a correlation.


Application for credit and RPL should be submitted along with your course admission application. Application forms are available from the Registrar. Approval is granted by the Sydney College of Divinity and communicated to the student by the Registrar.

Sydney College of Divinity policies on credit transfer and RPL

SCD’s Credit Policy and Recognition of Prior Learning Policy can be downloaded from our Policies and Procedures page

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