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Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

As defined by the UAE National Qualification Authority (NQA), Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) involves the assessment of previously unrecognized skills and knowledge achieved outside the formal education. To comply with this, the University of Dubai allows students to apply for credit transfer for courses earned in informal or non-formal learnings, according to the followings:

1.   A student can apply for RPL with his/her application for admission to the University of Dubai. An application for RPL will not be accepted prior to applying for admission.

2.   The student must include the relevant documents and other evidence to demonstrate his/her prior knowledge, skills and competencies.

3.   The prior learning must be fairly current. It must have been completed no more than eight (8) years prior to applying to join a UD program. Special attention must be given to fields that become quickly outdated by changes in practice or technology (e.g. Information Technology, communication), where a five (5) year limit is imposed.

4.   The request for RPL shall be evaluated by a committee assigned by the College Dean. The committee members must be experienced in the subject, and possess excellent knowledge in the concerned program/course.

5.   The committee’s responsibility is to review each application and determine whether the evidence of prior learning and experience potentially match the learning outcomes and rigor of the course sought. The committee may request additional information if needed.

6.   There should be no double counting. The material submitted for RPL should not have been counted toward a previously earned and accredited academic qualification.

7.   A challenge exam will be required in all cases prior to the awarding of credit for RPL.

8.   A student will be awarded credit for a course when he/she has demonstrated that he/she has successfully met the learning outcomes and assessment criteria of the course in question. The review/assessment must show at least 80% similarity.

9.   RPL is normally granted at the same award level. For example, RPL for prior learning at the Bachelor level would be granted towards a Bachelor level course at UD. However, the minimum course grade must be “C” or 2 or its equivalent for undergraduate courses and “B” or its equivalent at the Master’s level.

10.   In undergraduate programs, only courses of 100, 200 or 300 levels may be considered for RPL.

11.   Any RPL that is granted must be considered in conjunction with an identified study plan. Where a study plan is based on a student’s planned major, and that major is subsequently changed by the student, the RPL applied in relation to the first major proposed may no longer be applicable to the study plan for the new major.

12.   The RPL committee must ensure consistency and efficiency of decision-making. A precedent records an RPL decision with the aim of applying that decision to subsequent comparable cases.

13.   The database of precedents must be consulted in relation to any advanced standing application being considered.

14.   The database of precedents, together with other advanced standing determinations must be stored by the concerned College.

15.   Due to the unstructured and highly variable nature of informal learning, there may be cases of RPL that cannot be based on precedents. In such case, the committee must take into account the individual student’s circumstances, award program and the evidence provided.

16.   For undergraduate programs, RPL may be granted up to 50% of curricular requirements. For Master’s programs, the limit is six (6) credit hours. No RPL is given in the PhD program. The student must complete the remaining curricular studies as formal education.

17.   Partial recognition is not offered. RPL is given on the basis of whole courses only.

18.   Courses approved for prior recognition shall be awarded a “Transfer-Credit” grade, which is not counted in the calculation of the student’s cumulative GPA.

19.   The University is committed to working with the vocational and technical Education sector, and professional organizations who offer internationally-accredited certification, to establish a range of pathways through which UD’s courses are linked with these sector courses within in the QF Emirates Grid.

20.   The initial requests for RPL shall be handled by the Admissions Department.

21.   The Registrar shall be the data custodian for all awarded cases.

22.   A note regarding the possibility of acquiring RPL will be mentioned in all related UD publications in addition to the Application for Admission.

23.   The colleges must regularly review the progress of the students awarded credits for prior learning, and make any needed adjustments to the transfer rules.

I.     Procedures

  1. An applicant for admission wishing to receive credit for RPL must submit his/her request through the Admissions Department along with the supporting evidence.  
  2.  The following items may be required from the applicant (if applicable): 

a.   Student Portfolio (work experience letters, CV, internship agreement (if applicable), professional certificates, official transcripts of previous study, official job descriptions.

b.   Syllabi of previously taken professional courses or a description of non-formal programs followed.

c.    Sample of work performed.

d.   Published research and articles.

e.   Workplace projects.

f.    Reference letters from employers detailing the applicant’s skills and experience.

g.   Membership in professional organizations.

h.   Third party testimonies.

i.     Listing of trainings and attended workshops.

j.     Any additional documents to demonstrate knowledge, skills and competencies.

  1. The Admission department shall forward the request to the concerned College.
  2. The College Dean will assign a committee to evaluate the case within a week from the receipt of the application.
  3. The assigned committee will review the application and make a recommendation on whether or not to accept the request based on the submitted documents, within two weeks. If the request is accepted, the committee shall prepare and schedule a challenge exam to the applicant. 
  4. The Admissions Department shall announce the result to the applicant within a week from the exam date.