Services for Students

Recognition of other learning (ROL)

Credits are a standard way of measuring learning. ROL means you can start your course at the appropriate level through substituting individual modules or reducing the total amount of credits you need to study to gain a qualification.

For example, you could use ROL to start in the second year of a Bachelors degree or put it towards the total credits you need to complete a Masters degree. 

Some degrees have specific arrangements with partners outside of the University of Nottingham, where students can be exempted from the initial stage of a programme and admitted with advanced standing. These arrangements are not covered here, more information can be found in the ‘Types of Collaboration’ section of the university’s Quality Manual, here.

Sources of Recognition of other learning (ROL)

ROL can come from previous study, employment, voluntary work and training courses, including courses and qualifications you didn't complete but where credit was awarded.

Types of Recognition of other learning (ROL)

There are 3 types of ROL you can put towards a qualification, you can put more than one of these types of ROL towards a qualification.

Recognition of prior learning

Prior Learning is university- level learning and achievement that occurred at some time in the past (perhaps as the result of a previous course, self-directed study, or active experience), and recognition of this is when it is formally taken into account by the university when admitting a student to a course of study.

The University of Nottingham will consider recognising credits from qualifications you've completed in the last 10 years.

Examples of higher education qualifications include Foundation and Bachelor's degrees, HNC and HNDs, postgraduate certificates and diplomas, and Master's degrees.  Modules from such qualifications are made up of higher education credits.

Most standard qualifications are equal to a certain number of credits. For instance, at undergraduate level, an HNC is worth 120 credits and an HND is worth 240 credits.

If you started but didn't complete a UK higher education course, or you have a higher education qualification or credits from a non-UK institution, you may be able to use prior certified learning (see below) instead of prior learning.


Recognition of prior certificated learning

Prior certificated learning is university-level learning that occurred at some time in the past; which did not result in a UK higher education qualification or credits and for which you were awarded some form of official recognition.

This can include professional development and employment-based awards, qualifications awarded by a non-UK higher education institution, and uncompleted university courses where you were awarded credit.


Recognition of prior experiential learning

Prior experiential learning relates to knowledge, skills, learning and achievement that occurred in the past and that you've gained through experience but not in the context of formal education or training; for example, through employment or voluntary work.



Applying for Recognition of other learning (ROL)

Whether you can use ROL depends on how well your previous knowledge, skills or experience matches the learning outcomes of modules on your course.  This will be assessed by the School or Department that you’re applying to, on the basis of evidence that you will supply during the ROL application process.

The way you apply for ROL depends on the type of ROL you want to put towards your qualification.

Before you apply for ROL, you need to have applied for your course or already be registered on it.

Applying for Recognition of Prior Learning or Recognition of Prior Certified Learning

To transfer credits from a previous UK university-level qualification or to convert prior certified learning into credits towards your University of Nottingham qualification, complete this form.  You will need to provide evidence of your previous qualification and upload this information to your ROL application. Guidance on what constitutes appropriate evidence is suggested in the form or you can ask your Course Director or Admissions tutor. 


Applying for Recognition of prior experiential learning                                                        

To convert prior experiential learning into credits that you can put towards your University of Nottingham qualification, complete this form. You will need to put together a portfolio of evidence and upload this to your ROL application. Guidance on what constitutes appropriate evidence is suggested in the form or you can ask your Course Director or Admissions tutor.


When to apply for Recognition of other learning (ROL)

The deadline for applying for ROL depends what you're using it for.

Remember to give yourself enough time to work on your portfolio of evidence, if this applies.

There may be a fee payable for considering a ROL application (to cover the cost of assessing the application). If so, the school that you’re applying to will contact you upon receipt of your application.  


Applying for ROL before you start your University of Nottingham course

If you are applying for a new place on a University of Nottingham programme, you should make an application for the consideration of ROL as early as possible before the study commences. Schools may choose not to consider any applications for ROL submitted after admission. 


Applying for ROL after you’ve started your University of Nottingham course

If you are currently studying on a University of Nottingham programme and want to apply for ROL to claim exemption from some (but not all) credits on a level of the course (for example, to avoid completing a module that covers knowledge you already have), you should apply during the preceding academic year or not less than two months before the affected modules begin. 


Getting a decision

Your school will aim to make a decision on your application for ROL as quickly as possible but as this sometimes takes an amount of investigation and academic consideration it can take some time. If your ROL application has been outstanding for longer than 4 weeks, please contact Admissions (if you are an applicant or offerholder) or your Course Director (if you are a registered student). 

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Rules about Recognition of other learning (ROL)

There are specific rules relating to recognition of other learning (ROL). 

A)      Limitations on maximum amounts of credits that can be used as ROL

Depending what course you are taking, there are rules about how many credits of ROL you can have and at which stages.  More details about these rules can be found in the Limitations on ROL section of the Quality Manual.

B)      ROL limitations for those sponsored on student visas:

ROL sits outside of our policy for immigration sponsorship, as confirmed in our limitations on immigration sponsorship policy.

The policy is linked here: Limitations on immigration sponsorship and endorsement

C)       Impact of ROL on tuition fees

Tuition fees are calculated on the basis of the number of credits studied and therefore ROL has an impact on tuition fees charged. More information can be found in the ‘Part-time and part-course students and non-award bearing study’ section (section 5.5) of the Tuition Fee Regulations for the year that you are studying.

D)      ROL limitations in relation to funding:

It is recommended that you seek financial advice before proceeding in cases of individual credit reduction through ROL. More information can be found here:

For PGT courses - Student Loans for Postgraduate Masters students from the Student Loans Company

For PGR courses - Student Loans from the SLC* for Doctoral students


 Quality Manual - recognition of other learning



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