What is RPL?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process that involves assessment of your relevant prior learning to determine eligibility for admission to a degree program at Macquarie and/or the granting of credit towards that degree.

Prior learning must be evidenced, current and relevant, and may have taken place either outside of Macquarie University, and/or within a completed Macquarie University degree.

There are two forms of RPL in which credit for prior learning can be obtained. These include:

  • Formal learning: learning that takes place through a structured program of learning that leads to the full or partial achievement of an officially accredited qualification. These qualifications may be obtained through an accredited tertiary institution, and range from Diplomas to Doctoral degrees.
  • Informal / Non-formal learning: learning gained through work experience and learning is not organised or externally structured in terms of objectives, time or learning support. This also includes learning that takes place through a structured program of learning but does not lead to an officially accredited qualification.

Why should I apply for RPL?

There are many benefits to RPL including:

  • Reduced program length
  • Reduced cost of study
  • Elimination of duplicate learning
  • Validation of informal and non-formal learning such as learning gained through life and work experience

How do I apply for RPL?

You can apply for RPL at any time throughout your Macquarie University program. However, to get the most out of your RPL, we strongly advise that you submit your application for RPL concurrently with your application for admission or during the enrolment process or as soon as possible afterwards.

How long does the application take to be processed?

It generally takes our administration staff 7 - 10 working days to process applications. However please be advised that you may experience delays in in peak periods. We will notify you of the outcome of your assessment via email. If you have submitted your application as a current student please ensure you have set up your student email account as all RPL correspondence will be sent here.

How much credit will I receive?

The RPL Schedule of Equivalencies advises the maximum amount of credit that may be granted for particular formal qualifications. However, the actual amount credit granted will differ based on the extent of your prior learning and its relevance to the requirements of your Macquarie University degree. You will need to apply for admission and indicate that you wish to apply for RPL to have your individual credit assessed towards your intended degree at Macquarie.

Macquarie University differentiates between three types of credit: unspecified, specified, and block credit.

  • Unspecified Credit is credit granted towards elective components of your degree
  • Specified Credit is credit granted towards a specific unit or units required by your degree
  • Block Credit is credit granted towards a whole stage or component of your degree.

Please note that eligibility for unspecified credit is a pre-requisite for eligibility of specified credit. Furthermore, depending on the alignment of their prior learning with their degree requirements, some students will only be eligible to receive unspecified credit, while others may receive both unspecified and specified credit.

To find out what you're eligible for, select the relevant link below:

  • The Articulations Register lists credit arrangements between Macquarie University and other local and overseas education providers
  • The Credit Transfer Register lists individual units from other local and overseas education providers that are recognised for credit towards specific units at Macquarie

Keep in mind that the above registers are not comprehensive and you may always apply for an RPL assessment if your program and/or units are not listed.

When should I apply for specified credit?

Specified credit is used only for units required for your program of study. If you have previously completed study deemed to be equivalent to a required unit, specified credit can result in you being 'exempt' from that unit. You may receive specified credit if your unit appears on our Credit Transfer Register. If your unit doesn't appear on the register, you may still apply for assessment; simply upload copies of your unit guide(s) and other relevant documentation when completing your application for admission and RPL. We will then assess these units to determine whether you are eligible to be exempted from any units required by your Macquarie degree program.

Which units should I be applying for?

When preparing your application you should consider several key areas. It is important that the content is similar across units in order for you to receive specified credit, please check the Handbook and Unit Guides websites to determine content similarity. Please see how to use the Handbook for more information.

The level of difficulty of both your previously completed units and Macquarie University units should also be taken into account. Macquarie University unit codes reflect the assumed level of difficulty of each unit ranging from first year (or 100 level) units to fifth year (or 500 level) units in undergraduate studies. The level at which a Macquarie University unit is taught indicates the amount of prior knowledge required to study it successfully.

You may wish to refer to the University Basics information page for an explanation of Macquarie University's terminology.

Do I keep the grades from my prior learning?

Macquarie Universities Grade Point Average (GPA) is only affected by units undertaken at Macquarie. This means that the grades for any units studied outside of Macquarie University will not be carried forward if you receive specified credit

What if my previous study was at Macquarie University?

If you have previously undertaken a Macquarie University degree, you can request to have your credits transferred via ask.mq.edu.au. Please log in as a Current Student and submit an enquiry entitled Current Student: RPL Request with the details of your new degree and your previous degree and the units you wish to have credited.

One of my units was not approved when another was, why?

Each unit is assessed on its own merit and the successful transfer of credit for one unit does not guarantee that credit for another unit will be granted. When assessing applications Macquarie University considers relevance, currency and the similarity of learning outcomes. While similar courses are offered at different universities, the requirements of the degrees may differ. If you decide to study at Macquarie University, you will need to ensure you meet the requirements of the Macquarie University course. You may use the Credit Transfer Register below to determine what credit you may be eligible for based on your prior studies.

What if I have completed a Certificate I, II, II, or IV?

Students who have completed, or partially completed an accredited qualification at a tertiary institution (minimum requirement is diploma level) can submit an application to have their formal learning recognised and credited to their Macquarie University degree. In some circumstances credit may be granted for completed certificates under non-formal learning.

What if my qualifications were completed overseas?

Macquarie University uses Australian Government guidelines to assess the comparability of overseas qualifications with Australian qualifications on the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF). Many qualifications are assessed at an equivalent level in Australia, but some qualifications may be assessed at a lower level which may affect your eligibility for admission and/or credit.

Can I appeal the outcome of an RPL decision?

To ensure fairness and equity the University has a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Appeal process. It is important to understand that the RPL Appeal process is not an opportunity to challenge unit equivalency if you have not satisfactorily met the required assessment criteria for either formal or non-formal/informal learning.

You may appeal a decision made by the University regarding the assessment of RPL for the purpose of both admissions and credit transfer. Grounds for an appeal are limited to procedural error or breach of procedural fairness. If you choose to pursue an appeal please complete a written request which details the error in question. All information you wish to be considered should be included as there is no provision for the personal appearance or representation of the parties involved in the appeal.

Appeals will be managed through the Academic Appeals Committee, and are to be made in accordance with the Academic Appeals Policy.

Who can I contact for more information?

Future international students should contact Macquarie International for more information on how to apply for admission and RPL on +61 2 9850 7346 or via the enquiry form

Current international students should contact Student Connect on +61 9850 6410 or enquire via ask.mq.edu.au.

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