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Recognition of Prior Learning (Advanced Standing)

At Southern Cross University (SCU) students may have their relevant prior learning recognised, through the process of Advanced Standing. The University determines the amount of credit that may be awarded towards units (subjects) in an SCU course, reducing the amount of learning required for course completion.

If you are an applicant or student and believe you have already mastered the content and learning outcomes of one or more units within an SCU course, and can provide documentary evidence demonstrating the level of your current knowledge, skills and expertise, you are eligible to be assessed for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

Unless transferring between SCU courses, an application for advanced standing must be submitted to be assessed for prior learning.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about credit transfer, RPL and advanced standing.

On what basis can I apply for RPL, via advanced standing?

Depending on any SCU course specific advanced standing requirements (found by selecting the Course Structure tab), applicants/students may apply for advanced standing on the basis of:

  • Recognition of formal and non-formal learning
    Credit may be awarded to a student for prior formal learning (gained through full or partial achievement of an accredited qualification or course), or non-formal learning (that takes place through a non-accredited course or program of learning) completed at Southern Cross University or in other learning settings in Australia or overseas;
  • Recognition of informal learning
    Credit may be awarded to a student for prior informal learning (that took place through paid or voluntary work, social, family or leisure activities) in Australia or overseas.

What unit credit values and forms of credit apply?

Credit value is the number of credit points awarded towards the successful completion of a unit (or course). For example:

Unit descriptionCredit Points (CP)
half-weighted unit6 CP
single-weighted unit12 CP
double-weighted unit24 CP
triple-weighted unit36 CP
quadruple-weighted unit48 CP

A credit (advanced standing) decision is the total credit value and form of credit resulting from the academic assessment process to determine a student's prior learning achievement (what they already know, understand and are able to do) in relation to SCU unit content and learning outcomes within a course.

At SCU, credit decisions are evidence-based, equitable and transparent, resulting in forms of credit transfer that emulate the course structure and is either:

  • unspecified units or elective credit points;
  • specified units where the units are named; or
  • a combination of unspecified and specified units.

What standard credit amounts apply for cognate prior learning?

Where prior learning (formal, non-formal or informal) has occurred in a cognate area (classified as being of the same, closely allied or related discipline/field/branch of learning), standard credit decisions shall occur under Schedule 1 of the Advanced Standing and Recognition of Prior Learning Procedures.

Credit decisions may vary from Schedule 1 amounts due to:

  • divergent disciplinary relationships (non-cognate learning);
  • external/professional recognition requirements limiting the amount or type of credit that may apply;
  • constraint of a mandatory study plan; or
  • greater alignment of comparable learning due to nesting or collaborative course development

.

Is credit aggregated or awarded for the highest level of learning achieved?

The following case studies demonstrate how the highest level of learning attained influences the amount of credit awarded. Normally, aggregated credit amounts do not apply.

Case Study 1: If a person has completed a Certificate IV (AQF level 4) and then progressed to another cognate Certificate IV (AQF level 4), any credit awarded will not normally be the sum (or aggregate) of the two. For example:

IncorrectCorrect
1st Certificate IV (4 units of credit) + 2nd Certificate IV (4 units of credit) ≠ 8 units of credit awarded1st Certificate IV (4 units of credit) + 2nd Certificate IV (4 units of credit) = 4 units of credit awarded

In Case study 1 the Certificate IV is the highest level of cognate learning. Four (4) units are awarded.

Case Study 2: If a person has completed a Certificate IV (AQF level 4) and then progressed to a cognate Diploma (AQF level 5), any credit awarded will not normally be the sum (aggregate) of the two. For example:

IncorrectCorrect
a Certificate IV (4 units of credit) + a Diploma (8 units of credit) ≠ 12 units of credit awardeda Certificate IV (4 units of credit) + a Diploma (8 units of credit) = 8 units of credit awarded

In Case study 2 the Diploma is the highest level of cognate learning. Eight (8) units are awarded.

Case Study 3: If a person has applied to study the SCU Bachelor of Business and they hold a Certificate IV in Business (AQF level 4), and a Diploma of Massage Therapy (AQF level 5), the lowest (Certificate IV) qualification will typically be considered to determine the amount of credit that will be awarded for prior learning, as the field of learning that underpins the Certificate IV in Business mirrors the field of learning in the SCU Bachelor of Business. Any credit awarded into the SCU Bachelor of Business will not normally be the sum (aggregate) of the two. For example:

IncorrectCorrect
Certificate IV in Business (4 units of credit) + a Diploma of Massage Therapy (8 units of credit) ≠ 12 units of credit awarded into the Bachelor of BusinessCertificate IV in Business (4 units of credit) + a Diploma of Massage Therapy (8 units of credit) = 4 units of credit awarded

In Case Study 3, the Certificate IV in Business is the highest level of cognate learning. Four (4) units are awarded.

Case Study 4: If a person has completed a Certificate IV in Business (AQF level 4) and has worked as an Operations Manager (at ANZSCO Skill Level 1) for a period of 2 years, which may substitute for holding an Advanced Diploma in Leadership and Management (at AQF level 6), any credit awarded into the SCU Bachelor of Business will not normally be the sum (aggregate) of the two. Credit will be awarded for the highest cognate learning. For example:

IncorrectCorrect
Certificate IV in Business (4 units of credit) + informal learning deemed to be equivalent to an Advanced Diploma of Leadership and Management (12 units of credit) ≠ 16 units of credit awarded into the Bachelor of BusinessCertificate IV in Business (4 units of credit) + informal learning, which is deemed to be equivalent to an Advanced Diploma of Leadership and Management (12 units of credit) = 12 units of credit awarded

In case study 4, the 2 years of informal learning attained on-the-job as an Operations Manager, provides the highest level of cognate learning deemed to be equivalent to an Advanced Diploma. Twelve (12) units are awarded.

Can I search for pre-determined credit amounts?

Some tertiary units, qualifications and occupations in Australian and overseas have been evaluated to determine the equivalence in content and learning outcomes to units in SCU course.

This allows you to pre-determine how much credit you would receive for your prior learning when you become a student at SCU.

If your prior study or occupational experience is not listed, but is similar to one or more units (subjects) within an SCU course, you should still apply for Advanced Standing to have your prior learning recognised.

Please note: Some SCU courses may be externally recognised or accredited. SCU cannot advise on how the granting of credit might impact on your ability to apply for professional recognition or accreditation with professional bodies, organisations or associations. Please view the information about how credit may be overturned (rescinded).

When should I apply for advanced standing?

The amount and type of credit awarded will determine a student's study plan. Wherever possible, submit an application for advanced standing at the same time as applying for admission into an SCU course.

Students wishing to apply for advanced standing at a later stage during their studies should lodge an application at least one month before the start of a session. This will ensure that recognition of prior learning can be assessed and adjustments made to the study plan in time for enrolling in units.

All requests for advanced standing must be submitted before the commencement of a student's final session so that course completion and graduation are not unnecessarily delayed.

How do I apply for advanced standing?

Australian or New Zealand future students should:

  • choose your preferred SCU course, year and mode of study.

International future students planning to study in Australia on a student visa should:

Next, view the application options at Apply for advanced standing.

How will I be notified of the outcome?

Applications will be acknowledged by SCU upon receipt. Applicants will be notified of the outcome in writing via email or post within one to four weeks, depending on the level of assessment complexity and whether sufficient supporting documents have been supplied.

Regularly check personal or SCU email accounts for notification and maintain up-to-date contact details in 'My Enrolment'.

Do I need to accept the credit offered?

Only international students studying in Australia on a student visa, who have applied for advanced standing and been granted credit after the commencement date of the course, are required by the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act to acknowledge, in writing, acceptance of the credit granted.

The Advanced Standing Acceptance Declaration, supplied with the notification of advanced standing, must be signed, dated and returned to the SCU International within two calendar weeks of the date of the 'Advanced Standing Notification'.

Accordingly, SCU International will vary the period of study on the 'Confirmation of Enrolment' (CoE).

Can granted credit be overturned?

A student who has been awarded credit may at any time, apply in writing to rescinded (withdraw, overturn or cancel) part or all of this credit.

'Requests to Rescind Advanced Standing' will only be approved for sound academic reasons (e.g. the student wishes to undertake the unit (subject), to change direction in their degree, qualify for professional recognition or accreditation, or undertake an approved exchange or study abroad program).

Once credit has been rescinded students will not automatically be re-granted that credit.

International students studying in Australia should consult their Fee Acceptance Agreement about any refund impacts.

How will credit granted affect my study plan?

Any credit granted or rescinded will affect study plan preparation, unit selection and online enrolment. If credit has been awarded for a particular unit or units, do not enroll in these units.

View the Course Enrolment Guides for instructions about accessing the Course Progressions tables that provided suggestions for unit enrolment, by study period.

Seek personal study plan advice and assistance by contacting
t: 02 6620 3666 OR 1800 005 687 (free call within Australia).

What Policy and Procedural information applies for RPL and Advanced Standing?


Still have questions? contact us