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Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) for Postgraduate Taught Programmes

This page outlines the process of APL  for those participants starting a programme of study in 2016-17, including how to make an APL claim. This process is based on the College academic regulations related to APL and the Quality Assurance Agency (2004) Guidelines on the accreditation of prior learning.


All applicants are recommended to contact the Programme Director of the programme for which they are seeking APL credit before making an application to discuss the strength of their potential claim and the nature of the evidence they need to provide in their application.

All applications must be submitted via the online APL application form.


Programme Director Contact Details
 Programme Director / Programme AdministratorEmail AddressPhone Number
Clinical Education Dr Gabriel Reedy 020 7848 3692


What is APL?

Accreditation of prior learning incorporates accreditation of prior certificated learning (APCL) and accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL). APCL considers whether previously assessed and certificated learning at postgraduate level is eligible for credit within a programme of study. In the case of the programmes presented in this prospectus, this can be, for example, (Associate) Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy or a postgraduate certificate or diploma or individual modules thereof relevant to the subject area. APEL considers learning outside a formally assessed programme and to be eligible for credit must be relevant, adequate and current to the module and the intended programme of study.

As approved APL results in the assigning of credit and permits exemption from a module or modules, King’s Learning Institute must ensure that learning derived from APCL or APEL is relevant and equivalent to the learning that the participant should have achieved if they had undertaken the standard programme of study. In short, the programme modules act as benchmarks against which the participant needs to demonstrate equivalence

What are the Limits of a Claim?

In making a claim for APL, participants should note the following:

  • A claim for accreditation should normally be made at the beginning of the programme of study and will be reviewed after an applicant has been accepted on the programme.
  • A claim cannot exceed two thirds of the credits for the whole programme of study.
  • Claims should be made per whole module and participants cannot apply for a part of a module’s credit.

How do I Apply?

Applications for APL are made using the online APL application form and should be submitted when applying for the chosen programme of study. All applications for APL must also include evidence to support the claim.

The APL application will then be reviewed after the applicant has been accepted onto the programme. Participants can make a claim for APCL and/or APEL.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide all information to enable King’s Learning Institute to reach an academic judgement about the relevance and equivalence of prior learning to the module or modules for which APL is sought.

What Should I Include in my Application?

APCL applicants must submit copies of transcripts or their certificate of (Associate) Fellowship, supported by details of the learning outcomes and content of the learning for which credit is sought. This may include, for example, copies of programme or module handbooks, or programme or module specifications.

APEL applicants must submit a portfolio with a detailed narrative of 2,500-3,000 words demonstrating how their experiential learning matches the proposed aims, outcomes and skills of the module in question. Credit can only be awarded for learning which is presented in an assessable form that shows what the participant has learnt or achieved through experience; thus the supporting narrative is not limited to a descriptive account of the experience itself. It is essential that the matching of experience and module requirements shows that the participant’s prior experiential learning is relevant, adequate and current. In addition, the portfolio needs to provide evidence for that learning, e.g. in the form of certificates of attendance, further information on events or courses attended, research papers, or testimonials.

Who Reviews my Application?

All applications for APL will be reviewed by the King’s Learning Institute Accreditation Review Panel. The panel will include the Assistant Director (Accredited Programmes) and at least one expert in the field for which accreditation is sought. This will normally be the Programme Director for the programme onto which the applicant has been accepted. In line with the Quality Assurance Agency Guidelines on the accreditation of prior learning, the Accreditation Review Panel will consider each application on the basis of:

  • Acceptability - the evidence provided is relevant to the module for which APL is sought and is valid and reliable.
  • Sufficiency - the evidence is satisfactory to demonstrate the learning achieved.
  • Authenticity - the evidence demonstrates the applicants own achievement.
  • Currency - the evidence provided demonstrates learning that has normally been undertaken in the last three years.

The Accreditation Review Panel will meet at least once a term to review APL applications as required.

What Happens After the Panel Meeting?

If successful, appropriate module credit will be assigned to the participant and they will be exempted from the module or modules for which APL has been approved.

Participants do not receive a grade for the approved APL module and cannot transfer an achieved grade into a module using the APL process.

The overall grade for the programme will be calculated only on the basis of modules studied on the Institute’s programmes.

If unsuccessful, applicants will be provided with feedback on the decision of the Accreditation Review Panel and further guidance will be provided, if appropriate, to support a future application for APL.

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