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Credit transfer procedure

Last updated: April 2019


St Mary’s University Academic Regulations have provision for the importing of credit from other institutions, as well as from study previously undertaken at St Mary’s University.

Normally, such credits will fall into two categories:

1. Import of credits to allow admission with advanced standing

Applicants may apply for admission with advanced standing, having undertaken study or learning elsewhere, or previously at St Mary’s University. The maximum number of credits for which exemption may be given are as follows:

Undergraduate Level

Certificate of Higher Education - up to 40 credits

Diploma of Higher Education - up to 80 credits with no more than 20 credits at HE level 5

Foundation Degree - up to 80 credits with no more than 20 credits at HE level 5

BA / BSc Ordinary Degree - up to 200 credits at HE level 4 and HE level 5

BA / BSc or BA (ITT) Honours Degree - up to 240 credits with no more than 15 at HE level 6

Postgraduate Level

Postgraduate Certificate - up to 30 credits

Postgraduate Diploma - up to 60 credits

Master’s Degree - up to 90 credits


A maximum of 60 credits may be imported. Student must take their final school experience at St Mary’s University.

General Restrictions

Students who are given entry with advanced standing to a Masters programme may be exempted from taught elements only.

The minimum number of credits transferable for all modules shall be 5.

Students may only be considered for exemption from whole modules.

APL/Exemptions will generally only be awarded for previous study carried out within the last five years. Anything older will need to be approved by Head of Admissions and the relevant Programme Director.

Marks or grades will not be transferred with the credit and therefore any credit imported at admission will not be counted towards the classification of an award.

Import of credits for exemption against individual modules.

Applications for exemption from individual taught modules with Undergraduate or Postgraduate programmes are also welcome, subject to the limits stated above.

Other credit transfer: Importing credit from student exchange programmes.

St Mary’s participates in two different student exchange schemes:

Erasmus Exchange

St Mary’s has a number of Erasmus partners. In preparation for an Erasmus exchange, students must prepare a learning agreement and have this signed off by their Programme Director(s) in order to make sure that credits are matched to modules on the student’s St Mary’s programme.

Once the Erasmus exchange is completed, the student must provide an original transcript of their marks to Registry Services. Once received, the credits will be imported.

Erasmus exchange credits are imported as credit only. Marks received on Erasmus exchange will not be imported. Degree calculations will be adjusted in order to take this into account.

Erasmus credits will be imported in compliance with the rate set down by the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). ECTS credits are worth double the rate of St Mary’s credits eg. a 15 credits module under ECTS would be worth 30 credits when imported to St Mary’s.

Study Abroad Exchanges

St Mary’s has a number of exchange partners for Study Abroad.

Students must agree with their Programme Director(s) on the modules that they will be taking while on exchange prior to departure in order to make sure that credits and content are matched to module on the student’s programme at St Mary’s.

Once the exchange is completed, the student must provide an original transcript to Registry Services. Once received the credits will be imported.

Credits gained on exchange will be imported. Marks will be imported in accordance with the mark conversion rate for overseas institutions where agreed and will count towards final degree classifications where a conversion application has been agreed. Please see the Study Abroad handbook for further details.

Process for approved APL applications

Whether applying for exemption for entire levels or for individual module exemption, students must demonstrate clearly that their previous study covers the same material and learning outcomes as the module(s) for which exemption is being applied for.

There are two key areas to look at when assessing any transfer of credit:

  1. Does the previous study provide sufficient credit to cover the requestedexemption?
  2. Does the content of the previous study cover the module aims and learning outcomes sufficiently to allow exemption. (This is especially true with when seeking exemption from core modules and pre – requisite modules that will be built on later in the St Mary’s programme.)

Applications for advanced standing must be carried out during the admissions process. Applicants wishing to apply for direct entry (to levels five or six in undergraduate courses) should make this clear on their UCAS forms. Applicants will then be contacted by the Undergraduate Admissions Teams for further information.

Applicants wishing to be exempted from individual modules on postgraduate courses should indicate this on their application form. They will then be contacted by the Postgraduate Admissions Team, should further information be required.

Once a student has commenced their course at St Mary’s, further application for credit transfer would only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

First stage

Students will need to provide an official transcript showing the modules and credit gained on their previous course. This should be provided together with a module outline for the module(s) that has previously been passed. The latter is very important as this will allow a proper assessment of the content of the previous study. Once this information is received, the Programme Director of the programme for which exemption is being sought will make an assessment of the application, taking into account the credit being transferred and the content of the previous study.

Once this assessment has been conducted, the information provided by the student should be sent to the Head of Admissions, together with a memo providing the Programme Director’s recommendations.

Result stage

Once a decision has been made, the applicant will be informed in writing or via UCAS (depending on the nature of the request) by the Admissions Office.

The Admissions Office will also inform the Examinations Office to allow the APL to be entered onto the student record system and also the Fees Office should any fee remission be applicable.

APEL – Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning

What is APEL?

The University recognises that students, particularly mature students, enter university with an extensive range of expertise, skills and knowledge derived from a variety or professional, vocational, community, leisure and personal contexts. APEL provides students with the opportunity to have their prior experiential learning assessed and included within their degree.

This is distinct from APEL which is the accreditation of prior learning where credits have officially been awarded.

The University will not normally accept applications for accreditation of prior experiential or uncertificated learning. These maybe considered only for entry to masters or other professional programmes or as part of a structured work-based learning module or programme.


APEL claims can initially be discussed with the Head of Admissions or the applicant’s Programme Director in the first instance.

If needed, copies of the modular learning outcomes can be obtained from the relevant school office.

Once this information has been received, the student should prepare a portfolio of evidence. This must give evidence of experiential learning, which should then be linked to the learning outcomes of the modules for which credit exemption is being sought.

The portfolio should be initially given to the Programme Director for comment and then handed to the Head of Admissions.

Created: September 2006

Last updated: April 2019

By: Sarah Gibb – Head of Admissions