Skip to main content

Credit for previous study

Related study or work experience can be credited to your degree

If you’ve already completed university-level subjects or have relevant work experience, you may be able to get credit for previous study. This means you won’t have to repeat similar units and could graduate sooner.

Credit for previous study is a value that can be used towards completion of your current degree.

When your faculty assesses your application for credit, they will be looking for study or practical experience equivalent to the skills, knowledge and understanding you’d otherwise get during your degree.

Awarded forms of credit

There are three types of credit:

  • Specified credit: Your previous unit of study is an exact equivalent of a University of Sydney unit of study, in which case you won’t be required to take it.
  • Unspecified credit: Your previous study is equivalent to a certain number of credit points at a junior level of study. For example, you might have completed a first-year subject we don’t teach, which would be credited as 12 junior credit points. Or, your previous study is equivalent to a certain number of units that you won’t have to complete as part of your degree. These units may be allocated to a junior or senior level.
  • Recognition of prior learning (RPL): As defined by the Australian Qualifications Framework, this "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".


You can apply for credit 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.

Study completed within a graduate certificate or graduate diploma can be counted towards a master’s qualification. You can also begin a master’s course, and exit early (graduate) with a certificate or diploma if you don't want to complete the full master's program.

What you can’t receive credit for

  • studies completed more than 10 years ago (some faculties only consider studies in the last five years)
  • studies you were excluded from
  • undergraduate units, if you’re enrolling in a postgraduate degree, or
  • units that are a course prerequisite.

Consequences of accepting credit

Accepting credit can change your study load, fees or course duration. This may also affect your eligibility for government assistance and full-time concession benefits.

International students, who are required to maintain a full-time study load at all times, need to be particularly aware that accepting credit could reduce the duration of their student visa.

How to apply

Complete an application for credit and/or recognition for prior learning form by logging in to Sydney Student.

This can only be done once you have access to Sydney Student. You can log in with one of the following:

  • an application ID (a 12-digit number, if you're part-way through a direct application for admission)
  • your student ID (a nine-digit number assigned after you submit a direct application for admission)
  • your UniKey (if you've already started your enrolment).

Once logged in to Sydney Student, select ‘Application for credit and/or recognition for prior learning’ within the 'My studies' section.

When to apply

It depends on whether your application to study at the University of Sydney is being made through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC), or directly to the University through the 'apply' option in Find a course.

  • UAC applicants (and internal course transfers): Your application for credit needs to be completed after enrolment, but before semester starts.
  • Direct applicants: Your application for credit needs to be received at the same time as you apply for your course. If you receive an offer of admission with credit, you will then have the opportunity to accept or reject the credit.

Supporting documentation

If you are applying for credit for study completed at another university (external credit transfer), you need to include:

  • an academic transcript (not a results notice) along with detailed unit of study descriptions. Check the university handbook, or equivalent, from the year in which you completed the unit. For each unit of study, you need to provide their full name, subject code, academic level (eg, First Year), description, method of teaching and assessment, reading list, number of teaching hours, and any other relevant information.
  • an explanation of the grading system used at your institution
  • information on how many units of study (subjects) in total were required to complete the degree you were taking at the other university.

In some cases, you may also be asked to provide a portfolio of work.

If you’re applying for credit based on work experience (recognition of prior learning), you'll need to attach:

  • a detailed letter from your employer explaining your role, and how it relates to the credit you’re seeking.

Every faculty has its own credit transfer policy governing what constitutes recognition of prior learning. If you have any questions, we recommend contacting your faculty directly for advice.

Credit transfer from Singapore polytechnics

If you studied at one of the polytechnics listed below, please read this specific information on Advanced Standing.