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Credit Exemptions - The Open College of the Arts | Distance Learning Degrees and Courses
To find out more details about the transfer to The Open University see A New Chapter for OCA.

Credit Exemptions

You may be eligible for credit exemptions based on your previous learning and experience.

Our BA (Hons) degrees are designed to be studied from the beginning, however if you have studied at higher education level before or have experience within a related field, then you may be eligible to count this learning towards an OCA qualification.

What is credit exemption?

If you have previously studied at higher education level, or have experience in a related field, then you may be eligible to apply this learning to an OCA BA (Hons) degree course. This previous learning would be validated as credits through a process called Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

How does it work?

There are 360 credits which make up a BA (Hons) degree, split into three levels of 120 credits. Each level breaks down these credits into 40 or 60 credit course units.

It will be these course units that you will seek credit exemption from through your previous learning.

How do I apply?

To seek credit exemption, applicants must submit an (RPL) application before they can be considered for enrolment to the degree course. There are two ways to seek credit exemption through RPL, depending on if you are seeking exemption using previous experience (RPEL) or if you wish to transfer credits from another course (RPCL).

Recognition of Certified Learning

Recognition of Prior Certified Learning (RPCL) is the process through which we recognise prior academic learning at higher education level, achieved within the last five years.

Individuals applying for RPCL are asked to provide evidence of the learning completed, such as transcripts and/or certificates, selections of creative work and statements to explain prior study.

If your credits have been achieved outside of the UK, you will need to obtain a Statement of Comparability report from UK ENIC – it is not possible to process an RPCL application without this.

Please note at the current time applicants can only seek exemption from complete stages (levels) of the degree for Creative Arts, Creative Writing, Painting, Photography, Textiles and Visual Communications.

Partial exemptions can be sought for Interior Design, and no exemption can be granted for Garden Design.

Apply for RPCL
Person pottery painting

Recognition of Experiential Learning

Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL), is the process through which we provide formal academic recognition of learning you have undertaken through experience, either through:

  • Work / professional experiences
  • Life experiences
  • Hobbies and Interests

Students applying for RPEL are asked to provide a statement of intent along with evidence of experiential learning, such as samples of creative work, and reflections/evaluations of that work.

Please note at the current time the following degrees are not eligible for RPEL applications; Creative Arts, Creative Writing, Garden Design, Painting, Photography, Textiles and Visual Communications.

Apply for RPEL

RPCL FEE: £250

RPEL FEE: £250

RPCL Deadline: Applications can be submitted from 15th January 2023

Outcome available within 12 weeks from submission.

RPEL Deadline: Applications can be submitted from 15th January 2023

  • March Review – Applications no later than 31st January
  • July Review – Applications no later than 31st May
  • November Review – Applications no later than 30th September
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