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Credit Exemptions - The Open College of the Arts | Distance Learning Degrees and Courses

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 Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL).

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 (APL) application before they can be considered for enrolment to the degree course. There are two ways to seek credit exemption through APL, depending on if you are seeking exemption using previous experience (APEL) or if you wish to transfer credits from another course (APCL).

Accreditation of Certified Learning

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

Individuals applying for APCL 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 APCL application without this.

Please note for the academic year 21/22 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 APCL

Accreditation of Experiential Learning

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL), 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 APEL 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 for the academic year 21/22 the following degrees are not eligible for APEL applications; Creative Arts, Creative Writing, Garden Design, Painting, Photography, Textiles and Visual Communications.

Apply for APEL

APCL FEE: £250

APEL FEE: £200 per unit

APCL Deadline: Accept all year round

Outcome available within 12 weeks from submission.

APEL Deadline:

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

Frequently Asked Questions