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Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) - 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.

Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL)

The process through which we provide formal academic recognition of learning you have undertaken through experience.

You may be able to gain exemption from certain stages of our undergraduate degree programmes. This page includes everything you need to know about submitting an RPEL application. 

Am I eligible?

You need to have experience within your chosen discipline, either through work / professional / life experiences or hobbies and interests that equate to a  higher education level of study.

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

What is required in my RPEL application?

  • A complete RPEL application form
  • Statement of Intent
  • Evidence of experiential learning including; a selection of creative work, example academic writing. 

Please review the RPEL Guidance document for further guidance and tips on what to submit.

What are the charges for RPEL applications?

There is a standard £250 fee for this application. After you have applied for RPEL, we will make arrangements to collect the relevant payment. 

When can I submit my RPEL application?

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

What happens after I have applied?

Once you have submitted a full RPEL application, we will acknowledge receipt and then process your application.. Following approval of the recommendation at the Exam Board, we will send you a detailed breakdown letter  advising you which course unit(s) you have been given exemption from.  

I've been awarded a credit exemption, what happens now?

You need to begin your course within 3 months from the date on your credit exemption letter. Submit an enrolment form online through your chosen degree information page, under ‘I’m a new student with an recognition of prior learning’.

Ready to Apply?

Review the programme specification alongside the RPEL Guidance when putting together your application. This will help you understand where you previous experience is applicable and which units you should seek exemption from.
Once complete, submit the application form below!


Please note that we are not currently accepting RPL applications. This form will be open for submissions again from March 2023. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.