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Recognition of Prior Learning

What is Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)?

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 and non-formal learning. 

Step 1: Decide What to Study

Decide what you would like to study and which qualification you are interested in studying.  Ideally, that should be in line with the work, interest or hobbies you have. 

For RPL all you learning is taken into account this can include, but is not limited,  to formal and informal work, voluntary work, sport, hobbies, interests and other activities that lead to learning of a substantial nature. 

  •  RPL is done against qualifications offered by CPUT. 
  • Only a limited number of academic departments accept RPL applications into one or more of the qualifications they offer. 
  • To see if the qualification you are interested in is listed, click here 
Closing date for all RPL Applications is 30 June every year


Step 2: Type of RPL you want to apply for? 

 CPUT offers three options for RPL:

  • Access into first-year for applicants older than 23 years  with at least five years relevant working experience
  • Exemption from certain subjects/courses – Exemptions – RPL
  • RPL for advanced standing into post diploma or postgraduate studies.

2.1 Gaining access into first-year

If you have considerable work experience – more than five (5) years – that is related to the course you want to study, but you don’t meet the academic requirements for entry into the first year of the programme, you may want to apply for RPL for access. 

Think carefully about the course of study you would like to study; this is your career that you are building for yourself. Select one qualification that you want to pursue. You might find that your work experience falls within the scope of two qualifications. In this case, you may apply for access into both qualifications. Motivate your reasons for applying for two qualifications in your application and indicate your preference.  

2.2 Exemption - RPL

You might have gained knowledge in specific areas through informal learning and non-formal learning. If this knowledge is closely related to the learning outcomes of part of a CPUT qualification that you want to enrol for, you may want to apply for exemption RPL. In this case, your knowledge will need to be compared to the learning outcomes of a particular subject(s) to be recognised. Once the assessment is done, the University might give exemption from some subjects, but not for the entire qualification. 

Difference between Exemption RPL and Exemption Credit Transfer

Exemption Credit Transfer: you may have successfully completed subjects at another Higher Education Institution in South Africa (another University of Technolgy) - that are similar to subjects of the CPUT qualification you want to study,  which is referred to as formal learning. In this case, you may apply to be exempt from having to redo the subjects and have the credits transferred to your CPUT qualification. Contact the relevant Faculty Office. 

Guidelines govern the maximum number of subjects for which Exemption RPL and Exemption Credit Transfer can be granted. In terms of the residency clause, students must complete at least 50% of the subjects in any programme at the institution awarding the qualification – i.e. at CPUT. Guidelines apply to all higher education institutions. 

 2.3 Advanced Standing into the Advanced Diploma (once implemented) 

You may apply for advanced standing into one of the Advanced Diploma (replacing the BTech) if you don’t meet the entry requirements of this qualification. This type of RPL provides for the recognition of knowledge at a higher level than you as an RPL applicant qualifies for. The qualification at the lower level, the Diploma,  is never awarded to you if you apply for this type of RPL. However, on the successful completion of the higher level qualification,  the Advanced Diploma, that qualification will be awarded.  

The RPL assessment takes place against the qualification at the lower level. When applying for RPL for advanced standing into an Advanced Diploma, you complete the screening questionnaire for the Diploma underpinning the Advanced Diploma.

2.4   Advanced Standing into postgraduate studies such as Post Graduate Diploma, Bachelor Honors degree, M-level studies and D-level studies

 If you are interested in postgraduate studies, for a Postgraduate Diploma, Bachelor honours M-level or D-level studies, send an email to RPL enquires at, and you will be referred to the correct person. 

2.5 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). If you wish to complete your degree and you have been working within the discipline you originally studied for, you may want to apply for RPL.

Send an email to for portfolio requirements. The portfolio requirements for this type of RPL will be sent to you. You have to submit this portfolio with a CPUT application form to the Admissions Office before the end of June the year before you wish to recommence your studies.  Tick the RPL box on the front page of the application form.

2.5 International students and International Qualifications

International applicants should have their qualification evaluated by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), Unit for Evaluation of Foreign Qualifications before you submit your RPL application. (Go to  

If your qualification has been evaluated but you don’t meet the entry requirements of the programme you are interested, or you want credit for what you already know, you apply for RPL as described above. In addition, you also submit your SAQA evaluation of your qualification(s) with all the other documentation required for RPL by the end of June the year before you would like to undertake your studies if you are not a South African you are required to follow the instructions for International Students as stipulated on this website.


Step 3: Submitting Your RPL Application 

 Follow these steps: 

  • Complete the CPUT application form - Downloadable from this website. (hyperlink) _ Must this be a hard copy or online
  •  On the front page, you’ll find the RPL box, tick it.
  • Attach the letter of motivation to the application and sign it!
  • Decide on one qualification you want to study. If based on a clear motivation, you want to be considered for two qualifications; you are required to explain this in your letter of motivation. 
  • Make sure you attach ALL the screening information required as specified by the academic department click here.  If you want to be considered for two qualifications, you submit the screening information for both qualifications. Please make sure that you submit all the information required to avoid unnecessary delays.

Submit  all the documentation to the Admissions Office on the Bellville Campus (preferably) or the District 6 Campus, or you may post it or sent it by courier.  

Account Name: CPUT
Bank: ABSA
Account number: 011 625 10521
Branch code: 632005
Reference: RV01/52422  with your name or ID number


Step 4: Payment for RPL

 RPL Applications are done manually; you are required to make two different payments:

  • R 100 Application fee to CPUT and you will find the payment details on the CPUT application form.

You are also required to pay the RPL fee:

  •  R 350 for advanced standing per subject in a Diploma
  • R 500 for access into a qualification


Step 5: The RPL Process

Upon receiving your RPL application, the relevant academic department will determine, based on the information that you have submitted, whether your RPL application is feasible. 

Feasibility depends on the nature of your work, experience and knowledge developed throughout your life, in relation to the qualification you are applying for. If the department has determined that this is not the case, you will be notified, and the academic department will suggest alternatives and/ or the RPL Unit.

If the department is of the opinion that your RPL application is feasible, you will be invited to participate in the rest of the RPL process. The process is qualification specific, and the academic department and/ or the RPL unit will inform you. 

It might involve one or more of the following:

  • Development of a portfolio of evidence and you will be invited to a portfolio building workshop or given information by the academic department
  • Workshops to upgrade your knowledge in relation to the entry requirements of the qualifications followed by tests
  • When submitting a portfolio, you might be asked to attend an interview and/ or do a presentation
  • You might be asked to submit examples of your work, do a demonstration or participate in an OSCE (in Health Qualifications)


Step 6: Submission of evidence

RPL is a complex and lengthy process, and the timelines within the process are as follows:



Submission of portfolio  August
Interviews/ Demonstrations August/ beginning of September
Workshops and Tests August/ beginning of September
Feedback on application November


Step 6: Decisions made by the University

  • The decision to grant a person RPL is an academic decision made by the University. The decision is primarily made by the academic department and confirmed (or not) by the Senate of the University.  If the University approves your application, you will receive an email from CPUT guiding you through the online registration process that commences at the beginning of January, the start of the academic year.
  • If your RPL is not approved, you will receive a letter from the University informing you. Either the academic department or the RPL Unit will give you reasons and make suggestions regarding your future education.

Applicants, have a right to appeal if you are not satisfied at any stage of the RPL process. You are required to contact the RPL Unit if you want to appeal   In the email, please explain the grounds and reasoning of your appeal.