Recognition of Prior Learning

When you apply to study at CSU, you may be eligible to receive credit based on Recognition of Prior Learning for your previous study and/or work experience.

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Include details about your prior learning/work experience in your application to have your individual qualifications assessed.


What is Recognition of Prior Learning? (RPL)

Recognition of prior learning is an assessment process that involves assessment of an individual's relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) to determine the credit outcomes of an individual application for credit.

Formal learning

Formal learning is the learning that takes place through a structured program of learning that leads to the full or partial achievement of an officially accredited qualification.

Non-formal learning

Non-formal learning refers to learning that takes place through a structured program of learning but does not lead to an officially accredited qualification.

Informal learning

Informal learning is gained through work, social, family, hobby or leisure activities and experiences. Unlike formal or non-formal learning, informal learning is not organised or externally structured in terms of objectives, time or learning support.


What is credit?

Credit is the value assigned for the recognition of equivalence in content and learning outcomes between different types of learning and/or qualifications. It reduces the amount of learning required to achieve a qualification.

Three types of credit can be granted:

  • Block credit – credit granted towards whole stages of a course

  • Specified credit – credit granted towards specific subjects of a course

  • Unspecified credit - credit granted towards elective components of a course

Credit is measured in points where generally  8 points = 1 subject

Refer to CSU's Credit Rule policy for further details on credit:


How is credit awarded?

Credit may be awarded for study or relevant work experience completed prior to applying for a course. Previous study may be from Charles Sturt University or another institution.

If you're a TAFE student, read more information about credit for TAFE qualifications.

Credit may be awarded for specific subjects, a number of electives or a level of subjects, meaning you could be exempt from completing one or more subjects listed in the course structure of your degree.

Depending on the credit that is awarded, this could mean that you are able to complete your chosen course in less time, and at a lesser cost.

Credit is generally assessed on an individual basis with each application, although some courses do have established credit arrangements.


What are pathways?

Pathways allow students to move through qualification levels with full or partial recognition for the qualifications and/or learning outcomes they already have.

A pathway can be established via:

  • Recognition of prior learning for individual students

  • Formalised agreements between CSU and other providers

  • Common precedence arrangements


How to apply for credit?

To apply for credit, include full documentation of all studies you have completed and/or evidence of relevant work experience in your application for admission to a course.

It is important that you include with your application copies of official academic transcripts (not individual results notices or web downloads) showing the completion of your studies and the grades achieved.

Check whether you need to verify/certify your documents.

When you receive an offer of admission into a course, you will be notified of what credit has been awarded or if further steps are required to finalise your credit assessment.

Credit not assessed with your application for admission?

If a credit outcome has not been provided in your offer of admission, you would like to be considered for more credit, or you are applying through UAC or VTAC, or you can apply using our Credit and Pathway Planner after you have received and accepted your offer.


European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)

A standard subject at CSU has 8 credit points. This equates to roughly 140-160 hours of work for a student. A standard study load for a student is 32 points, or four 8 point subjects, per session. 

A standard year of full-time study at CSU is 64 points, equivalent to 60 ECTS credit points.


Will my prior learning guarantee me entry?

If you have completed a TAFE Diploma or Advanced Diploma, CSU will offer you 'guaranteed entry' into most undergraduate courses.

About guaranteed entry for TAFE students

  • Guaranteed entry is open to Diploma and Advanced Diploma TAFE graduates

  • Students must have completed their TAFE qualification(s) within the past 10 years

  • The TAFE qualification completed does not have to be relevant to what you would like to study at CSU

  • Tertiary Preparation Certificate (TPC) students who have achieved a Tertiary Entrance Score (TES) of 157 or above are also eligible for guaranteed entry into most CSU undergraduate courses.

  • If you've completed a TAFE qualification other than a Diploma or Advanced Diploma, you may still be able to gain entry to CSU. Call us on 1800 275 278 or make an online enquiry.

  • Read all our terms for our guaranteed entry offering

CSU courses excluded from 'guaranteed entry'

There are certain courses which have enrolment limits or specific entry requirements, and therefore are not included in this guaranteed entry offering. The following list of CSU's undergraduate courses are excluded from guaranteed entry:

Faculty Undergraduate course

Bachelor of Screen and Stage (Acting)

Bachelor of Communication (Theatre Media)

Bachelor of Psychology


Bachelor of Animal Science

Bachelor of Clinical Practice (Paramedic)

Bachelor of Dental Science

Bachelor of Oral Health (Therapy and Hygiene)

Bachelor of Medical Science

Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science (with specialisations)

Bachelor of Nursing

Bachelor of Pharmacy

Bachelor of Physiotherapy

Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/Bachelor of Veterinary Science


Associate Degree in Adult and Vocational Education

Bachelor of Adult and Vocational Education (with specialisations)

Bachelor of Education (Birth to Five Years)

Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary)

Bachelor of Education (Health and Physical Education)

Bachelor of Education (K-12)

Bachelor of Education (Technology and Applied Studies)

Bachelor of Education (Secondary) Industry Entry Program

Bachelor of Outdoor Education

Bachelor of Educational (Research) (Honours)

Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) *Graduate entry

Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary) *Graduate entry

Please note: students can still apply to any of the above mentioned undergraduate courses, however entry is not guaranteed.