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Tampere University Student's Handbook

Recognition of prior learning

Tampere University and TAMK

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is a process that allows you to gain academic credits from prior learning or experience that meets the learning outcomes of your degree. You can apply for RPL based on your prior certificated learning completed at another educational institution or prior experiential learning achieved outside formal educational settings. RPL may take the form of either substitution or inclusion.

Proceed like this

  1. Familiarize yourself with the instructions below. Do you have prior certificated learning completed at another educational institution or prior experiential learning achieved outside formal educational settings?
  2. If you have prior certificated learning completed at another educational institution or prior experiential learning achieved outside formal educational settings, consider, whether substitution or inclusion is appropriate for your situation. If you are unsure, please contact the educational specialist of your degree programme. If you are going to substitute a single course unit, you can also contact course's teacher.
  3. You can do the applications in Sisu. Add necessary information and attachments to your applications. You can find the specific instructions at the bottom of this page.

When can I apply for the recognition of prior learning?

All students who are registered as attending and hold a valid right to study at Tampere University are eligible to apply for RPL. You can apply for RPL throughout the year and at any stage of your programme of study.

You can submit your RPL application after you have successfully completed the prior learning. However, you can create a study draft to plan, for example, the courses you will take during an exchange period that will be counted towards your degree later.

What are the types of learning that can be recognised?

You can claim credit for certificated learning that you have completed at another educational institution in Finland or abroad or for experiential learning that you have gained outside the formal educational system. Examples of experiential learning include work experience, positions of trust, hobbies, continuing education and non-degree adult education programmes.

To be eligible for RPL, your prior learning must meet the expected learning outcomes of your degree and specific courses counted towards your degree.

From the perspective of RPL, it makes no difference whether your prior learning is already counted towards a previous degree or not. The types of prior learning that may be recognised include credits from a previous qualification, an unfinished qualification or courses completed at an open university, among other things.

Credits that you have previously earned by completing a thesis or a maturity test cannot be used to meet the requirements of your Tampere University degree. Likewise, it is not possible to put credits from a bachelor's degree towards a master's degree in the same field of study.

Example:

  • A student is studying for a master's degree in administrative sciences. The credits she earned while working towards her Bachelor of Administrative Sciences degree cannot be counted towards her Master of Administrative Sciences degree.

Credits you gained while working towards a previous qualification, which was one of the requirements for admission to your current programme, cannot be used towards your current degree. If you are unsure about your eligibility for RPL, please contact the educational specialist of your degree programme.

When to apply for substitution?

You can apply for substitution if your prior certificated learning or prior experiential learning meets the learning outcomes of a course included in your study plan. If your application is accepted, the course included in your study plan will be substituted for the course you have already completed, and the credits will be transferred towards your current degree.

Example:

  • Your study plan includes a course titled Introduction to Business Management (5 ECTS) and you know the expected learning outcomes of the course.
  • You have previously completed a course* with similar learning outcomes at another higher education institution or have otherwise acquired prior learning that enables you to demonstrate that you have already achieved similar learning outcomes.
  • You can apply for substitution via Sisu. If your application is accepted, the credits carried by the course Introduction to Business Management (5 ECTS) will be counted towards your current degree.

*there may be more than one course which, when combined, meet the expected learning outcomes of an individual course included in your programme of study.

The number of credits you receive depends on the credits carried by the Tampere University course that is substituted. If the learning outcomes of the previously completed course match the learning outcomes of the Tampere University course, a difference of no more than one credit between the two courses is acceptable. The number of credits carried by the Tampere University course is the maximum number of credits that may be transferred towards your current degree.

Example:

  • You have previously completed a course that carries 4 credits. You apply to use this course to replace a Tampere University course that carries 5 credits. If your application is accepted, you will receive 5 credits towards your degree.
  • You have previously completed a course that carries 6 credits. You apply to use this course to replace a Tampere University course that carries 5 credits. If your application is accepted, you will receive 5 credits towards your degree.

How to apply for substitution via Sisu

When to apply for inclusion?

You can apply for RPL based on inclusion if your prior certificated learning or prior experiential learning does not match any specific course included in your study plan but is still suitable to be counted towards your current degree. Inclusion means that your prior learning is accepted as part of your degree as such.

Example:

  • You have completed a course titled Political Geography (6 ECTS) at a different institution. Your study plan does not include any courses that match the learning outcomes of this course. However, you want the course to be counted towards your unfinished degree at Tampere University.
  • You can apply for inclusion via Sisu. If your application is accepted, the course Political Geography (6 ECTS) will appear in your academic record under its original name and the six credits will be counted towards your current degree.

How to apply for inclusion via Sisu

Grading RPL credits

As a rule, the original grading scale of 1-5 will be used when accrediting prior learning towards a Tampere University degree. If your prior learning was assessed using a different scale, grading will be on a Pass/Fail basis. If multiple courses are counted towards a single award of credit under the RPL framework, the grade will be Pass.

Who can I contact with questions?

If you have any questions about RPL, please contact the educational specialist of your degree programme.

RPL principles

The general RPL principles set out in the Degree Regulations of Tampere University and the Guidelines on the recognition of prior learning and other competence at Tampere University will apply to the recognition of prior learning as of 1 August 2020.

Created: 25.2.2019
Updated: 12.8.2022