Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

RPL for module credit

RPL process overview

RPL process - RPL for module credit: bachelor degrees, diplomas and national diplomas


Steps to follow before the RPL process can begin

Step 1. Decide on what to study

Visit www.unisa.ac.za/qualifications or the brochures page to choose a qualification. If not sure what to study, visit Unisa’s Directorate for Counselling and Career Development: www.unisa.ac.za/counselling.  

In deciding on the appropriate qualification and module(s) for RPL credit, take into account your previous work experience and your future academic requirements.

Step 2. Make sure that you meet the admission requirements of the selected qualification

Your admission to Unisa is dependent on you meeting the specific admission requirements for your chosen qualification.

Step 3. Apply for admission 

You must apply for admission to study each new qualification even if you already have a Unisa student number. Visit www.unisa.ac.za/apply for more information on application for admission and getting a student number.
Unisa will assess your application, which may take a few weeks and will probably only be finalised after the closing date for applications.

No RPL application will be considered until you have a student number that is valid for your current/new qualification.

4.a Application for admission is successful

If your application for admission is successful, you may proceed to apply for RPL credits (step 5 below).

4.b Application for admission is not successful

If your application for admission is not successful, you cannot continue with the RPL process.


Application for RPL

5. Identify relevant modules for possible RPL credits

Check your qualification curriculum and identify the relevant modules for possible RPL credits, taking into account your previous work experience and your future academic requirements.

6. Contact RPL academic coordinator

Each formal qualification at Unisa falls under a college. Once you know your college, please contact the relevant RPL academic coordinator for advice, support and further instructions. Click here for contact information.

The RPL academic coordinator will send you a RPL current brochure, further instructions relevant to your college, the application form and banking details.

7. Complete and submit the RPL application form

Complete the RPL application form, gather supporting documents and proof of payment of the application fee. Submit the completed RPL application form and supporting documents directly to the RPL academic coordinator.

RPL credits are granted based on proof of evidence of learning.  RPL credits are awarded for the relevant learning gained as a result of experience, and not for experience alone.

8. Wait for feedback from the RPL academic coordinator

You will receive confirmation of receipt of your application as soon as we have received all your documents and the payment of the prescribed fees. Thereafter, please allow approximately 2 to 3 weeks per credit claimed for the feedback on your application. Allow extra time if you submit your documents during the registration or examination periods.

Your knowledge, skills and competencies will be assessed by an RPL panel based on the relevant evidence you submit.


RPL feedback

9.a Further RPL assessment opportunity

When you receive an RPL feedback letter, and if you have been granted any assessment opportunities, please act on the feedback as soon as possible. If you decide to take up any assessment opportunity, please note that the university only accepts written confirmation of intention to take up the assessment opportunity.

9.b RPL credits granted

PL credits will only be granted after a rigorous assessment of your learner profile has been carried out in terms of the Unisa prescribed standards and criteria.

Unisa will notify you if you have been assessed as competent and the relevant module credit will be loaded (as an exemption) on your academic record, provided it forms part of your curriculum.

9.c No RPL credits granted

If you have been assessed as 'not yet competent', you may either be requested to do additional set work and be assessed again at a later date or you will be required to register for the subject in the traditional manner.

10. Accept RPL further assessment opportunity

Further assessment may take the form of a challenge exam, an interview, a work-related project or a portfolio (which contains records of your experience, knowledge and skills). Further guidelines regarding each of the assessment options will be provided to you if your RPL application is viable.

  • If you decide to accept the assessment opportunity, you should confirm this intention in writing to the RPL academic coordinator. Your written acceptance must indicate the relevant module codes clearly. No other method of confirmation will be accepted. Proof of payment for the assessment must accompany the confirmation of intention.
  • If you are offered an opportunity to write a challenge exam, it is your responsibility to contact the academic member(s) of staff for examination guidelines, tutorial letters and the names of prescribed or recommended books.
  • You may not write exams in more than 10 subjects per year or 5 modules per semester. This includes RPL challenge exams.
  • A proforma invoice with the assessment fees and banking details will be sent to you

11. Prepare for assessment

It is your responsibility to check the exam or interview dates as well as deadlines for submission of portfolios or projects.

12. Undergo assessment

Wait for feedback from the RPL academic coordinator.