Academic Registry

Credit Accumulation

Credit Accumulation

As you successfully complete modules on your course you will accumulate credit. This is a formal acknowledgement of your achievement and certain levels of credit are required to complete the award for which you have enrolled.

Credit is transferable as set out in the European Credit Transfer and Articulation System (ECTS) which means that you can take it with you when you leave BNU. This will normally be the case if you leave the University without completing your registered course, and/or if you want to ‘top-up’ to a higher award, e.g. from a Foundation Degree to an Honours Degree. (Note that credits are not directly comparable: In everyday practice 2 UK credits (such as those awarded by BNU) are equivalent to 1 ECTS credit.)

You can apply for another University to accept credits achieved while at BNU. Equally, if you have already achieved credit at another University, whether in the UK or overseas, you may be eligible to have this achievement recognised by BNU. You may even be eligible for non-credited experiences relevant to your course to be accredited by us. Please see below for more information about the process and how to apply.

Accreditation of prior learning (APL)

The  APL process enables you to apply for exemption from study of module(s) or a programme Level(s) and to be awarded credit for those modules or Levels. The award of credit will be based on recognition of relevant previous study or learning experience that you may have undertaken. Exemption cannot be given for part of a module and there are limits on the amount of APL allowed. Please refer to the University’s Accreditation of Prior Learning Policy and Procedure and Guidance for APL Applications for further information on eligibility and criteria.

Advantages of applying for APL to be exempted from parts of your course include:

  • Spending time reflecting on your knowledge and experience, which can provide a boost to your confidence
  • Opportunities to redevelop your academic writing skills
  • Not having to attend or submit assessments for the module(s) where you have exemption
  • Having more time to focus on other parts of your course

You may also need to take into consideration the fact that you will not have as many dedicated learning and teaching opportunities as other students on the course. Joining a course part-way through will mean you have fewer opportunities to adjust to the demands of your new studies.

Student Finance Considerations

If you are studying on a full time course and are successful in being granted credits through the accreditation of prior learning, you will still be entitled to full tuition fee and maintenance support from Student Finance, as a full time student, providing you meet the statutory eligibility criteria. While you remain enrolled on the programme, you will continue to receive any council tax exemptions or reductions, as well as any other benefits to which you are entitled as a full time student.

For part time students, as long as you are studying with at least 25% intensity of the full time equivalent course, then you will continue to be entitled to tuition fee loan support from Student Finance and your student status will be unaffected.

International Students

If you are an international student, it is a requirement of the Student Visa regulations that you must study full-time. Within an academic level, Student Visa students taking only some and not all the modules of the course are deemed not to be studying full time, and therefore APL may not be given for modules which make up part of a Level. However, exemptions for the whole level of the course are acceptable (see Entry with Advanced Standing below). For further information please contact


If you want to apply for APL you should have an initial discussion with your School Registry Officer or relevant School Academic (normally an APL Assessor) who will provide guidance and confirm the requirements for APL applications.

It is your responsibility to make the application and to supply the supporting evidence and/or the portfolio requirements. The evidence you supply is used in a mapping exercise to match your learning against the learning outcomes for the module / Level from which you are claiming exemption.

You can apply for the following exemptions:

  • Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) – this recognises learning you can demonstrate through your studies at a Higher Education Provider, including Buckinghamshire New University, and which has resulted in the award of academic credit. You should apply for APCL if you wish to use your previous academic credits to be exempted from individual modules of your programme at BNU. Complete Form 1 for each module for which you are seeking exemption
  • Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) – this recognises learning which demonstrates your acquisition of knowledge and skills through life and work experience. You should apply for APEL if you wish to use this prior experience to be exempted from individual modules of your programme at BNU. Complete Form 2 for each module for which you are seeking exemption
  • Entry with Advanced Standing – this can be either APCL or APEL but recognises achievement of a much larger part of your course. You should apply for entry with advanced standing if you wish to be exempted from a particular level or levels, i.e. more than one year of your course at BNU. Complete Form 3.

Applications for APL must be submitted before the start of the module or level for which you are seeking exemption. Should your application for module exemption be delayed for any reason you should attend the module until the outcome has been confirmed. If your application is not confirmed you will have to complete the assessments for the module in the usual way.

Full details on how to apply for APL along with access to the relevant forms you will need can be found in the University’s Accreditation of Prior Learning Policy and Procedure. All applications must be supported by appropriate evidence.

If you have been awarded an Ordinary degree by BNU you can apply for entry to an individual programme of study to convert your degree from an Ordinary to an Honours degree. You must talk to your Programme Leader before making this application.

On an Ordinary to Honours programme you must normally undertake a further 60 credits at Level 6 to increase your total credit to 360 credits (as Ordinary degrees are awarded when you have achieved 300 credits). However, if you need to pass less than 60 credits to achieve 360 credits, the APL Panel may be able to award credit for the modules you have already passed so that you only need to study the module(s) you did not pass at your first attempt at Level 6.

To make this application you should complete Form 5.

Registration on this Ordinary to Honours programme must be within the two subsequent academic years following the award of your Ordinary degree.


For APCL applications evidence will normally consist of details of the modules and your achievement in the form of a transcript for your previous studies. It will only be considered if it closely matches the content of the module(s) from which you are seeking exemption. If successful you will be awarded academic credit for the module. If a close match cannot be established, no credit will be awarded under APL.

For APEL applications evidence will normally take the form of a portfolio. Exactly what is required in this will be explained by your APL Assessor. For example, in addition to a portfolio of your evidence of learning in your working life, you may also be asked to give a presentation, attend an interview, provide an extended CV giving details of prior experience, produce a piece of academic work or sit an examination at the appropriate academic level.


Once you have submitted your application it will be considered by an APL Assessor. They will then make a recommendation to the APL Panel.

The decision to approve or reject the recommendation rests with the APL Panel. The APL Panel Secretary will notify you of the outcome of your application, and if it is rejected will give you the reasons.

If you want to make an appeal against the decision made by the APL Panel, you should follow the procedure for Appeals against Admissions decisions in the University’s Admissions Policy and Procedures.