What is RPL?

By recognising prior learning, the universities of applied sciences aim to add more purpose to the studies they provide. You are not obliged to study what you already know. Instead, you can focus on the subjects that require more practise. All skills are valuable regardless of how they were obtained, and the objective of RPL is to provide a way for the students to make their previously-acquired skills apparent.

Recognition of prior learning is possible in
• university of applied sciences Bachelor’s degree programmes
• university of applied sciences Master’s degree programmes
• higher continuing professional apprenticeship education
• professional specialisation studies
• or in studies of the open universities of applied sciences.

Credit transfer

If prior learning is gained through studies at an institution of higher education, the completed courses can substitute for studies of corresponding content or be integrated into the degree studies. This is called credit transfer between institutions of formal education. There are certain limitations as to which prior studies can be integrated into the degree studies. Only studies at a Finnish or foreign institution of higher education, or equivalent studies provided by other educational institution, are eligible for substitution and inclusion.

When applying for RPL of formal studies i.e. substitution or inclusion of prior studies, you are required to present copies or relevant certificates and a copy of a study guide or other document showing the objectives, extent, and content of the course for credit transfer. On request, you are obliged to present the original certificate as well.

RPL of non-formal studies

If prior learning has occurred outside the institutions of higher education such as in the workplace or through education in leisure time, it can be recognised and compensated by means of a competence test. This is called recognition of non-formal learning.

By performing a competence test, you prove that you possess the skills required by the degree objectives irrespective of the method of acquiring these skills. The skills may be acquired in formal or non-formal education, or informally through every day activities. The organisation of competence tests varies ranging from learning portfolios and interviews to oral presentations and written documents. It is essential that the skills are equivalent to those the degree programme and individual courses aim to provide.

When applying for RPL of non-formal studies i.e. a competence test, you discuss the matter with your mentor teacher for example during the annual PSP (Personal Study Plan) discussion. If you and the course teacher conclude that your skills and knowledge could be recognised and integrated into the degree studies, you will together make a plan for RPL.

Binding decisions on RPL after the start of the studies only

Binding decisions on RPL are possible only after the start of the studies. However, you are recommended to read the degree programme curriculum in advance and evaluate your skills with relation to the course contents and objectives.

RPL brochure for students in pdf format.