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You are here: University Policies > Admission, Enrolment, Assessment & Progress: Coursework Students > Academic Credit Arrangements Policy

Academic Credit Arrangements Policy


The University acknowledges the need for clear and effective credit arrangements to increase opportunities for students to access education, improve student mobility between sectors and institutions, and increase the pathways into and between qualifications through recognition of prior learning.

This policy sets out the principles for credit arrangements in coursework academic programs within the University of Adelaide.


This policy applies to current and prospective students seeking credit towards coursework academic programs.

Information about the credit application process and evidence required can be found on the Credit Procedures website.


Specified credit is awarded when prior learning achieves expected learning outcomes equivalent to those achieved in a course offered at the University.

Unspecified credit is awarded for work from another institution that is of a similar standard to work at the University, but for which there is no direct course equivalent.

Other definitions are as contained in the University Glossary of Terms.


1. Statement of commitment

a) The University will recognise prior learning, and grant credit for that learning, provided it is relevant, current and equivalent to the learning required for the University's academic programs and courses, and in accordance with this policy.

b) Determining equivalence requires academic judgement based on appropriate evidence provided by the student of the prior learning.

c) Giving credit should not compromise the integrity of qualification outcomes and discipline requirements.

d) This policy and any related procedures will be consistent with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

2. Types of prior learning

a) The University may grant credit for the following types of prior learning upon receiving evidence of such learning:

i. Formal learning, which includes successfully completed units of learning that take place during a structured academic program which would lead to either:

1.) an AQF higher education award or international equivalent; or

2.) an AQF Diploma or Advanced Diploma, provided the student has completed the program as well as the unit;

ii. Non-formal learning including successfully completed units of learning that take place through a structured program but does not lead to a formally recognised qualification; and

iii. Informal learning including but not limited to learning gained in work experience, volunteering, internships or workplace training. The University may require a student to undertake tasks to enable their learning outcomes to be assessed.

b) The University may grant credit for Certificate IV qualifications in accordance with any existing legal agreement with a pathway provider.

3. Specified and Unspecified Credit

a) When granted Specified Credit a student will receive the appropriate unit value in credit towards the completion of their program and be excused from the relevant course.

b) When granted Unspecified Credit a student will receive an appropriate unit value in credit towards the completion of their program but will not be excused from completing any core course.

4. Credit Limits

a) Subject to 5 below the maximum amount of credit for prior learning is fifty per cent (50%) of the total units of the program.

b) The Executive Dean may approve sub-limits for a specific type of prior learning up to the maximum specified in clause 4 (a).

c) The Executive Dean may approve sub-limits for the maximum amount of credit that may be granted towards a Major in a Bachelor degree.

d) The 50% maximum credit limit does not apply to current University of Adelaide students who are transferring from one program to another within the institution.

5. Credit Rules

a) The Executive Dean may reduce the maximum amount of credit allowed into a program from time to time. The Executive Dean shall report such changes to the University Learning Committee and shall ensure that the maximum credit amount is publically available.

b) Some courses, as determined by the Executive Dean and published in the University Calendar must be completed at the University even if prior learning of an exact course can be demonstrated.

c) Students who have completed a Diploma or Advanced Diploma (or equivalent) will be awarded credit at University level I or II only, subject to the availability of academic pathways in the students program, unless provided for in a formal University articulation agreement.

d) Where credit is sought for a sequence of prior study that equates to credit towards a Major in a Bachelor degree, there must be a direct equivalence between the prior study and an existing University Major.

e) No credit will be granted where the standard duration of the program is 6 units or less.

f) A lesser postgraduate award obtained at the University may be counted in full towards a higher award, where the lesser award is part of a suite of formal nested awards (e.g. Graduate Certificate/Graduate Diploma/Master's degree).

g) Students who have completed undergraduate courses may only be given credit towards a postgraduate coursework program if the courses were Honours level, or at University level IV or higher in an undergraduate academic program that is 96 units or more in length.

h) Credit will not be granted towards the thesis component of an Honours award or the dissertation component of a postgraduate coursework award, which shall be wholly completed as University of Adelaide courses, unless the credit relates to prior learning in a joint award approved pursuant to the Jointly Conferred Coursework Awards Policy.

i) Credit will not be granted for prior learning completed more than ten years before the application for credit unless there are exceptional circumstances approved by the relevant Executive Dean or the prior learning is for unspecified credit for an unrestricted elective course.

6. Study Abroad and Student Exchange, Articulation and Cross-institutional

a) Learning completed during Student Exchange and approved Study Abroad is considered to be directly equivalent to study completed at the University and University of Adelaide credit and is not subject to the 50% maximum credit limit.

b) Credit will automatically be given on receipt of a transcript or other satisfactory confirmation of completion provided the student recorded the learning in the Global Learning Application System (or other system specified by the University) prior to departing Australia to commence the learning.

c) Credit will be given in accordance with the articulation arrangement when learning has been completed with a University approved articulation pathway provider.

d) If an existing articulation agreement provides for credit in excess of 50%, and the parties wish to renew that agreement, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Vice-President (Academic) may approve an exemption to the 50% credit limit provided that the exemption does not compromise the integrity of the program, having regard to any change in curriculum or circumstances that may have occurred since the agreement was first executed.

e) Credit for cross institutional study (study at another institution that is concurrent with the student's enrolment at the University) will not be granted unless prior approval has been obtained for the cross-institutional study from the relevant Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) or equivalent. Approval for outbound cross-institutional study will only be given if:

i. the content in the selected course or courses is not provided by the University at any time during the relevant academic year, or

ii. there are, in the opinion of the relevant Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) (or equivalent), sound educational or personal reasons; or

iii. there is a formal cross-institutional agreement between the University and the selected course provider; or

iv. in other circumstances approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic).

7. Grading of Credit

a) Credit will not be given a mark or grade and will not be included in the calculation of a student's grade point average unless it forms part of a formal agreement between the University and another provider, and the other provider's courses and results are available.

8. Transferring Credit

a) If a student transfers from one program at the University to another, any credit approved for the original program will not necessarily be transferred to the new program and the student must re-apply for credit under the new program.

9. Admission

a) The availability or granting of credit for prior learning does not guarantee admission to any University of Adelaide program. The University may have requirements about the level of performance in a prior learning program or course for the purposes of admission, even where that learning may otherwise be given credit.

10. Timetable Clashes

a) Where the granting of credit causes timetable clashes or logistical problems with study combinations for a student, the University is under no obligation to make individual arrangements for that student.

11. Grievances

a) A student who is dissatisfied with a decision regarding an application for credit should follow the Students Grievance Resolution Process.



Authority Category


Delegation Holder



Academic Credit

Approve credit sub limits (clause 4)

Executive Dean

To a maximum of 50%


Academic Credit

Reduce the maximum amount of credit allowed in a program (clause 5.a)

Executive Dean

Decision reported to ULC.


Academic Credit

Determine courses which must be completed at the University even if prior learning is demonstrated (clause 5b)

Executive Dean


Academic Credit

Approve credit for learning completed more than 10 years ago in exceptional circumstances (clause 5i)

Executive Dean


Academic Credit

Approve exemptions to the 50% credit limit for articulation agreements (clause 5d)

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic)


Academic Credit

Approve additional circumstances when cross-institutional study may be approved under clause 6e.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic)

RMO File No. 2010/9414
Policy custodian Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic)
Responsible policy officer Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning)
Endorsed by Academic Board on 3 August 2016
Approved by Vice-Chancellor and President on 12 August 2016
Related Policies Coursework Academic Programs Policy
Effective from 12 August 2016
Review Date 4 September 2017
Contact for queries about the policy Dave Lamb, General Manager, Student Services and Administration, ext. 34001 or

Enclosed documents

Title Version Date uploaded
Academic Credit Arrangements Policy D2016/180057 15 Aug 2016
Show previous versions

Hardcopies of this document are considered uncontrolled. Please refer to the University Policy and Procedures website for the latest version.