Recognition of Prior Learning

What is Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)  provides an opportunity for you to identify your learning, have it assessed and formally acknowledged. The process involves the identification, mediation, assessment and acknowledgement of knowledge and skills obtained through informal, non-formal and/or formal learning.

At CPUT, RPL can only be done against qualifications offered by CPUT. As a University of Technology, CPUT has three options for RPL or a combination thereof, namely: “access into first year”, “exemptions – RPL”  and “advanced standing into post diploma studies”.

Gaining access into first year

If you have considerable work experience – more than five (5) years, but you don’t meet the entry requirements for the first year of your chosen course, you may want to apply for entry into the qualification. This is referred to as “access into first year”. The RPL application is evaluated against the entry requirements of the qualification. You may use this option if you are 25 years or older.

Exemptions - RPL

As an individual you might have gained knowledge in specific areas through informal learning and non-formal learning. When compared to learning outcomes against a CPUT qualification, your knowledge might cover some subjects. You may apply for recognition of these subjects called “Exemptions – RPL”. Once the assessment is done, the University might give recognition for specific subjects, but not for the entire qualification.

Difference between “Exemption RPL” and “Exemption Credit transfer” 

If you have successfully completed subjects with other Institutions of Higher Education in South Africa, including the former technikons, or professional institutions, you may apply for “exemptions – credits transfer”. This is handled by the Faculty Office.

There are guidelines governing the minimum number of subjects for which exemption RPL and Credit transfer can be granted -  in terms of the “residency clause”; 50% of a programme has to be completed at the qualification awarding Institution.  The residency clause requires the applicant to complete at least 50% of subjects as a student with CPUT.

Closing Dates

Please note the following closing dates:

  • Closing date for RPL is 30 June of each year, but has been extended to 18th July 2017 (for the 2018 in-take)
  • Design Qualifications is 31 July of each year

Advanced Standing into post diploma courses: Advanced Diploma, Post graduate diploma, M-level studies and D-level studies

You may apply for “advanced standing”  into our Post-Diploma studies if you don’t meet the entry requirements of these qualifications and you would like to be granted the “status”. This type of RPL, provides for the recognition of knowledge at a higher level than your formal qualifications do. If you are interested in this type of a RPL, send an email to Frederika de Graaff

Returning students

If you studied at Peninsula Technikon, Cape Technikon or CPUT more than 10 years ago, the validity of your subjects have lapsed (Point 4.1.3, p 10 CPUT Academic Rules and Regulations).  You may apply to the University to use the RPL process to complete your qualification. Provide required information to the RPL unit. Visit this page for a short guideline.

International students

If you have a qualification from abroad, please have that qualification evaluated by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), Unit for Evaluation of Foreign Qualification before you submit your RPL application. (Go to Once your qualification has been evaluated, and you don’t meet the entry requirements of the programme you would like to do, or you want credit for what you already know, contact the RPL Unit.

More information for international students.


  • For information on RPL in the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences, please send an email to Christma Lewis email:
  • For information on RPL in the Architectural Technology, please send an email to:
  • For information on RPL for Access in First year Nursing, please send an email to Leonie du Preez email:
  • For information on RPL in all other Faculties, post diploma studies and returning students please send an email to Frederika de Graaff email: