Take credit for your life’s experiences. Learn about the different types of credit and prior learning (also known as advanced standing) you could be eligible for, then find out how to apply once you’ve enrolled at ACU.

What we mean by credit and prior learning

Formal or non-formal learning

Prior learning, sometimes known as advanced standing, can be categorised into two categories: formal and non-formal. 

Formal learning (credit transfer)

Formal learning is structured learning or experience, such as previous accredited university or vocational study. 

It is credit you have already achieved that may be eligible to be transferred to your ACU studies.

Non-formal learning (recognition of prior learning)

Non-formal learning is unstructured learning or experience, such as non-accredited study or work experience. 

Your level of non-formal learning may be assessed using a process called recognition of prior learning.

Credit transfer

Credit transfer is the transferring of completed studies from another university or accredited education institution, such as a VET or TAFE provider, to your new course at ACU. It is also known as ‘articulation’.

Types of credit

Credit may be in the form of any one or more of the following:

  • Specified credit: Credit granted for one or more units of a program or course. Specified credit will only be granted if you’ve passed units substantially similar to those you’re seeking credit for.
  • Block credit: Credit granted for complete sections of a program – equivalent to at least one semester – as part of the articulation process. Block credit will be applied automatically to students with the agreed completed qualification in an articulation pathway but must be granted against a combination of specified and unspecified (elective) units of programs.
  • Unspecified credit: Credit granted for elective parts of programs. Unspecified credit is used when your previous studies don’t precisely correspond with your future program or course. Because it occupies elective parts of programs, it can’t be granted in programs without electives.

Recognition of prior learning (RPL)

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is the assessment process for matching an applicant’s skills, knowledge and/or experiences to specific requirements.

These requirements can include:

  • admission requirements
  • professional requirements
  • unit learning/competency outcomes
  • course learning/competency outcomes. 

RPL is different from credit transfer, which strictly refers to completed study.

Types of RPL

Credit may be granted towards a program or course at ACU for:

  • formal learning undertaken at an accredited education provider that leads towards an AQF qualification (or equivalent)
  • non-formal learning, which takes place through a structured program but does not lead to an officially accredited qualification
  • informal learning gained through work, social, family, hobby or leisure activities and experiences.

What we mean by ‘articulate'

In education, articulation is when one education provider aligns its courses or requirements with studies completed at a different provider.

If you completed coursework at another VET or TAFE provider and want to credit these towards a course with us, you are articulating to ACU.

To learn more and access our articulation database, visit our vocational education and training pathways page.

View our vocational education and training pathways

How to apply

If you’re confident you’re eligible for either recognition of prior learning (RPL) or credit transfer,  you can get your application underway by visiting how to apply.

Remember, you need to have accepted and enrolled in your ACU course before you can apply for credit.

How to apply 

Are you an international student?

If you’re an international student with previous study or work experience, you may be eligible for credit towards your new ACU course.

You can check if you’re eligible to apply for credit during your enrolment session. Make sure you bring your academic transcript to the session.

To learn more about your enrolment session, visit our offer acceptance page.

Learn how to accept your offer and apply for credit

Further reading

If you want to read more about RPL and credit transfer, including regulations and policies, visit the following pages in the ACU handbook:

Academic Regulation 5.4

Recognition of Prior Learning Policy

Contact us

You can reach out to us at AskACU or student support if you need to get up to speed with credit transfers or recognition of prior learning. We’re on hand to answer any questions you may have.

Email AskACU

Search our FAQ knowledge database

Call us on 1300 275 228.

International students

Contact the friendly team at international student support

Search for the right course for you

Find a course

You might also like

Uni terminology explained

Unsure about the difference between advanced standing and recognition of prior learning? We’ve put together a glossary to explain our technical admission terms in plain English.

Read our glossary

Respond to an offer

To apply for credit transfer or recognition of prior learning, you first need to accept your offer and enrol in your chosen course. Here’s how to do it.

Respond now

Internal transfer

Start at one campus, finish at another. Our presence across four states and territories allows you to apply at a campus with a more flexible entry rank.

Learn more

Study at ACU College

Find out more about our registered VET provider, access a list of available courses and learn about our VET policies and procedures.

Visit ACU College

Have a question?


We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat
Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs