Credit for prior learning (CPL)

Credit for prior learning is the term used when the University allows prior study or work experience to count towards your Deakin degree. Credits may be granted by one of the following:

  • AQF qualifications / professional qualifications
    The AQF is Australia's Qualification Framework. AQF qualifications are defined as those awarded by accredited and approved self-accrediting Australian institutions, and for credit transfer purposes will range from Certificate to Doctoral degree level (and their component units/ modules). Qualifications and programs offered by professional bodies may also be considered for credit purposes (for example CPA Australia). Note that units studied with Open Universities Australia (OUA) will be considered for credit as units belonging to the participating institutions.
  • Informal or non-formal learning
    • Informal learning is learning gained through work or life experiences.
    • Non-formal learning is learning gained through a structured program of learning that does not lead to an officially accredited qualification.

Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) Framework

The Faculty CPL Framework details the level and maximum number of specified and unspecified credits applicable for Business and Law courses based on relevant course rules and requirements as outlined in the Faculty Credit for Prior Learning Instruction (PDF, 161.7 KB) .

Formal assessments of credit will be made upon admission to an award course at Deakin, and the information obtained at time of initial enquiry is subject to the formal assessment process, and is to be used as a guide only.

The information in this framework is updated regularly and whilst accurate at the time of publishing, Deakin reserves the right to alter, amend or delete details at any time.

Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) from informal/non-formal learning

What is CPL from informal or non-formal learning?

Deakin University will take into account: learning acquired in an 'informal learning' context, such as through work experience or life experience where that experience can be documented by the applicant; and a 'non-formal learning' context, that takes place through a structured program of learning but does not lead to an officially accredited qualification, such as a training program within the workplace. Credit entitlements for informal/non-formal learning are determined by an academic assessment of the validity of learning outcomes achieved within this context, and their application to the Deakin course.

What are the advantages of CPL from informal or non-formal learning?

This type of CPL:

  1. allows you to complete formal education in a shorter period of time and at less cost;
  2. means that you do not have to repeat or waste time learning what you have already learned;
  3. increases your career and education options through recognised skills and knowledge;
  4. allows for fairer access to studies that you wish to undertake.

Is CPL from informal or non-formal learning for me?

Anyone can apply for CPL but not everyone will get credit for their skills and knowledge. A typical successful applicant is someone who has a reasonable amount of experience in an area that their course covers. This might mean working in that field.

If you are continuing from secondary school or you have limited work experience, it is unlikely that you would be successful in an application for CPL. If you are a mature age student with relevant experience, your skills are likely to have some value for credit through CPL.

Note: If you have gained qualifications in a course or have a statement of attainment for completed units of a course from another institution or training provider, then you need to apply for Credit for Prior Learning from AQF qualifications / professional qualifications.

Is there a cost to apply for CPL?

No. There is currently no cost to apply for CPL.

How do I apply for CPL from informal or non-formal learning?

Application for CPL requires you to prepare a written case to the Faculty (including verifiable evidence) supporting your request for CPL. It is your responsibility to ensure that you provide the correct information.

Download a Credit for Prior Learning application form [88KB PDF] or get one from the Faculty of Business and Law Undergraduate or Postgraduate Student Centre. This form covers CPL applications for AQF qualifications / Professional qualifications and informal or non-formal learning. You will need to complete Sections 1-3 and sign the declaration at Section 4 for CPL from informal or non-formal learning.

Return your completed form, with supporting documentation, addressed to:
Student Experience and Credit Transfer Office
Faculty of Business and Law
Deakin University
221 Burwood Highway
Burwood VIC 3125

How do I check my skills against a unit/units within my course?

Identify from the Faculty unit offerings the specific unit/s for which credit is sought.

Contact the unit chair(s) for the relevant unit(s) and obtain a detailed description of the unit including content, reading guides and assessment, or access the Unit Guide information.

Read the unit guides for the units that you wish to be assessed against and compare with your own knowledge and skills before deciding whether you want to apply for CPL. Please take particular note of the learning objectives and content/topics outlined for the unit. You should match your skills/experience/knowledge against these within your application.

You need to ensure that you are able to demonstrate skills/experience/knowledge that are relevant to today's industry requirements and current theory and practice.

What sort of information do I include in my CPL from informal or non-formal learning application?

In making an application for CPL from informal or non-formal learning for a unit you need to prepare a written case, supported by verifiable evidence, outlining why you believe you have covered the content at the appropriate standard for the unit/s concerned. This evidence must be related to the specific content, reading and assessment required for the Deakin unit/s. Please take particular note of the learning objectives and content/topics outlined for each unit. You should match your skills/experience/knowledge against these within your application.

You also need to include the following details:

Personal Details:

  • Full name
  • Student ID number
  • Address
  • Contact numbers (home and work telephone, Deakin email address)


  • Name of employers
  • Duration of employment
  • Position description
  • Contact person for further information
  • Letter supporting work experience on company letterhead

Other information:

  • Full details of any other information you consider relevant

Note: Do not enrol in a unit if you intend to apply for CPL until you have spoken with a student adviser.

What sort of evidence do I need to support my CPL from informal or non-formal learning claim?

If you are considering CPL from informal or non-formal learning, you will already have a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate that you have acquired the necessary knowledge and skills.

These may include:

  • your résumé
  • evidence of training programmes attended
  • copies of prepared courses and seminars
  • references from employers outlining your responsibilities
  • letters from clients
  • evaluations from supervisors
  • publications
  • software design and development
  • job descriptions
  • documented work tasks

If your application is based on work experience, you must have a verifying statement from a supervisor/employer that they have read your application and that what you have stated is an accurate statement of your skills and knowledge. This employer statement must be on company letterhead and the original document must be sent.

Use all relevant evidence to support your application.

Where copies are provided they must be certified as a true copy.

How is my application for CPL from informal or non-formal learning assessed?

On receipt of your application, a preliminary assessment will be made by the Faculty Business and Law Assessment Services Team, who will contact you if further information or clarification is required.

The Faculty will treat all applications as confidential but retains the right to verify any of the information provided.

The process includes an assessment of your skills and knowledge against the elements and performance criteria of the relevant unit. Your application will be assessed against the following criteria:


Do you have evidence of your skills and knowledge? (You can include formal qualifications, position descriptions, references and any other material you might have to support the application. The evidence must be authenticated by the appropriate authority.)


Are the skills and knowledge used in the work force now?


Are the skills and knowledge at a standard appropriate for current requirements?

The final assessment of your application will be made by the Faculty Business and Law Assessment Services Team after seeking advice from the appropriate Unit Chair/s. The final determination will provide a brief explanation of the reasons for the granting or denying of the credit.

Note: The overriding criteria used to assess CPL from informal or non-formal learning is an assessment as to whether the applicant has demonstrated that they possess existing skills and knowledge within a particular area, equivalent to those that they would reasonably have been expected to achieve had they studied and successfully completed the relevant unit at Deakin.

What happens then?

Once your application for CPL from informal or non-formal learning has been assessed, the outcome is forwarded to a faculty student adviser, who will then send you an official notification.

If you have any further queries please contact your student adviser by email:

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