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Credit for previous study

Related study or work experience can be credited to your degree as a form of recognition of prior learning (RPL). This means you won’t have to repeat similar units and could graduate sooner. Find out about types of credit and how to apply.

Overview and eligibility

RPL may be granted as credit (specific credit, non-specific credit or reduced volume of learning) or a waiver.

You can apply for credit if you are applying for or currently enrolled in a bachelor’s degree, graduate certificate, graduate diploma or master’s course at the University and have completed studies at the same level.

You can apply for reduced volume of learning (RVL) if you are applying for or currently enrolled in a master’s course at the University and have a bachelor’s degree, graduate certificate or graduate diploma in a relevant subject area, or have relevant work experience.

Please note that accepting credit may reduce your enrolment load, which can affect your eligibility for government assistance such as Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy. International students need to consider student visa requirements and eligibility for future visas.

Types of credit

Non-specific credit

Credit granted for a certain number of credit points at a junior or senior level. The credit points may be in a particular subject area but aren’t linked to a specific unit of study.

Specific credit

Credit granted for a specific unit of study when you’ve previously undertaken its exact equivalent at another institution. This means you won’t need to complete the unit here.

Reduced volume of learning (RVL)

A form of credit that some master’s courses use to reduce the number of credit points needed to complete the course. It recognises prior qualifications and, in some cases, relevant work experience.


You can apply for credit or RVL if you have:

  • taken units of study at another university or higher education institution
  • qualifications from a higher education institution or vocational education and training institution (including TAFE and private providers)
  • relevant work experience.

Credit and RVL won’t be granted:

  • for study completed more than 10 years ago (for some courses this time limit is reduced to three or five years)
  • if you’ve failed the equivalent unit of study at the University of Sydney
  • for undergraduate units, if you’re enrolling in a postgraduate degree
  • for units of study with concessional pass grades
  • for units of study that are prerequisites for your course
  • for studies completed at another tertiary institution that you were excluded from.

For more information about credit rules and criteria, see our Coursework Policy 2014. Each faculty or school also has its own credit transfer policy, so before applying you should consult the course and faculty or school resolutions in your handbook for the year you started your course.

Singapore polytechnics

If you studied at a Singapore polytechnic, find out specific information about advanced standing (credit transfer).

Student Centre

+61 1800 SYD UNI (1800 793 864) (in Australia)
+61 2 8627 1444 (outside Australia)
Level 3, 160 City Road, Darlington Campus Jane Foss Russell Building G02
Opening Hours: 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday
Last updated: 06 April 2017


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