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Recognition of Prior Learning

What is RPL?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process of identifying your knowledge and skills against a qualification or part thereof. The process involves the identification, mediation, assessment and acknowledgement of knowledge and skills obtained through informal, non-formal and/ or formal learning.

RPL provides an opportunity for you to identify your learning, have it assessed and formally acknowledged. At CPUT, RPL can only be done against qualifications offered by CPUT. As a University of Technology, CPUT has two options for RPL or a combination thereof, namely: “access” or “advanced standing”.

Gaining access

If you have considerable work experience, but you don’t meet the entry requirements of your chosen course, you may want to apply for entry into a qualification. This is referred to as “access”. The RPL application is evaluated against the entry requirements of the qualification. If access is granted, the qualification on the lower level is not awarded.

Advanced standing or credits

As an individual you might have gained knowledge in specific areas,. When compared to outcomes against a CPUT qualification, your knowledge might cover some subjects. You may apply for recognition of these subjects and this called “advanced standing” or “credits”.

Once the assessment is done, the University might give recognition for specific subjects, but not for the entire qualification. You will be required to complete the outstanding subjects, before the qualification is awarded.

There are guidelines governing the minimum number of subjects for which advanced standing can be granted and you are required to register as a student and complete the outstanding subjects in order to be awarded the qualification by CPUT. This is in terms of the “residency clause”; 50% of a programme has to be completed at the qualification awarding Institution. The residency clause requires RPL applicants to complete at least 50% of subjects as a student with CPUT.

Closing date for applications

The closing date for RPL is 31 July of every year.

Apply for access into a BTech-programme

If you want to apply for access into a BTech programme, you will be evaluated against the National Diploma (ND), underpinning the BTech. For example, if you want to do the BTech in Marketing and you are working as a marketing manager, you can “apply for advanced standing against the ND: Marketing, to obtain access into the BTech: Marketing”. Indicate this clearly on the application for and in your letter of motivation to the University. If you are successful in your application, the National Diploma will never be awarded. If you complete the Btech successfully, the Btech will be awarded to you.

Apply for access into the MEd or MTech programmes (Thesis based)

You may apply for access into our M-level studies if you have a Btech or Honors degree in an unrelated field. You may also apply if you have a specific research interest that we as a UoT cater for, but you don’t meet the entry requirements of the M-level degree.

As CPUT we will need information about your background and your research idea before the RPL process can start. We have uploaded a short guideline on this page to assist you to start your application.

Returning students

If you studied at Peninsula Technikon or Cape Technikon 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.

Difference between exemptions and advanced standing

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”. This is handled by the Faculty Office. However, especially if you have worked for a number of years, include your academic records from these institutions as part of your RPL application.

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 applicants

RPL for Tourist Guides in Cape Town and the Western Cape (GCM students only)

If you completed a short course in Tourist Guiding between 2000 and 2012 at the Graduate Centre of Management (GCM), and you would to register as a Tourist Guide, you may apply for RPL. Find out more here.

Contact us

For information on RPL in the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences, please send an email to

For information on RPL in all other Faculties please send an email to

Information about RPL for M-level studies and returning students (after 10 years) please send an email to