What prior learning is eligible for RPL?
You can apply for RPL concerning your prior learning acquired through study, at work, through your hobbies or through continuing education. Or anywhere! What matters is your learning: If your prior learning is equivalent to the learning outcomes of the courses or study modules of the degree you are currently pursuing, you can apply for RPL. You can also apply for inclusion of your prior studies completed at another higher education institution even if the studies are not equivalent in terms of content with those of your current degree.
When should I apply for RPL?
There is no specific time frame for submitting your RPL application. However, if you plan to apply for RPL for a specific course, it is advisable to submit the application in good time in order to receive the decision before the course starts. RPL applications are generally processed within one month of receiving the application. It is recommendable to discuss with your teacher tutor your plans to apply for RPL when you are making your personal study plan. The best way to go about the process is to prepare all the applications at once, for example at the beginning of the autumn term.
What are the advantages of RPL?
If you receive a positive RPL decision, you do not need to spend time studying things that you have already learned. This saves you time to focus on other studies and, thus, RPL may help you progress faster towards graduation. Preparing RPL applications also helps you reflect on and describe your own learning, which is an asset in the labour market, for example.
Whom should I contact if I need further information on RPL?
The faculties and units have persons in charge of RPL listed under www.ulapland.fi/rpl. They provide assistance with questions related to the RPL process. If your question concerns an individual course, you may also contact the teacher responsible for the course in question.
What are the steps involved in the RPL process?
Complete the RPL application form carefully and add the relevant attachments to your application. The RPL guidelines are available at www.ulapland.fi/rpl. Please note that the person to whom the application is to be addressed depends on the type of RPL application you are about to submit. Your RPL application may concern: 1) substitution, 2) inclusion or 3) recognition of prior learning acquired in other ways. See the web page mentioned above for the names of the addressees. Within one month of submitting your application, you will receive either the approved RPL credits entered in the study register, or a request to supplement your RPL application, or a notification of non-acceptance. The instructions provided on the university website help you grasp the RPL process.
I have completed some Master's Degree studies at another higher education institution. How can I take advantage of those studies in my current degree?
You can substitute some of the studies of the degree you are currently pursuing with prior equivalent studies completed within higher education. Other prior studies, which do not substitute for the studies of your current degree, may be included in your degree as minor subject studies, provided that they are in line with the degree requirements. For further information, please contact the person in charge of RPL at your faculty or unit
I have completed a Master's thesis at another institution of higher education. Can I use this to substitute for the Master's thesis of my current degree programme?
Theses must be originally written within the higher education institution and degree programme in which you are currently studying. You cannot use your previously completed Master's thesis to substitute for the Master's thesis of your current degree programme.
I have already completed one Master's degree and am now pursuing another one in a different field. Can I use the same minor subjects for both degrees?
From a previously completed higher education degree, you may receive RPL credits for the methods studies and a maximum of 30 credits of minor studies, provided that these are in line with the degree requirements. For further information, please contact the person responsible for RPL at your faculty or unit.
I have studied Chinese as a foreign language, lived in China and I am a fluent speaker of Chinese. Am I eligible to apply for RPL credits for this learning to substitute for the Chinese language courses offered at the University of Lapland?
Basic language courses are not officially included in the degrees offered at the university, and thus, they are not eligible for RPL. The first language proficiency level eligible for RPL is B1. If you already have reached that level in your language studies, you may apply for RPL for the advanced Chinese language courses offered at the Language Centre. You can include your prior language learning and your residency in China in the same application. Alternatively, there may be a possibility to include some of your completed basic language courses in the Chinese language and culture minor subject module. For further information, please contact the Language Centre!
I have substantial work experience from several different jobs. I am not sure which parts of it would be eligible for RPL. Can I submit my CV, certificates of employment and job descriptions to the faculty to be assessed for eligibility for RPL?
RPL applications cannot be submitted as open applications. They must be specifically targeted to a particular course(s) or study module(s). Please familiarise yourself with the structure of your degree and the study modules, courses and learning outcomes as presented in the study guide. Match your prior learning against the degree requirements, and if you identify units of prior learning, you may target your application based on these. It is the student's responsibility to demonstrate the equivalence of their prior learning to the learning outcomes of their currently pursued degree. This allows us to ensure that everyone graduating from the University of Lapland meets the minimum degree requirements.
I have worked as a department manager at my workplace for several years and my duties have included preparation of various kinds of reports and other documents on the company's operations. In my view, the level of expertise required in undertaking these tasks is such that it can be deemed equivalent to Master's Degree requirements. Is it possible to substitute the advanced studies of my degree with my work experience described above?
The advanced studies of a subject studied at the university level have a strong scientific focus. In this case, in order to be eligible for RPL you are required to demonstrate that you have pursued scientific research or applied results of scientific studies to practice in your work. If you have conducted or otherwise participated in scientific studies as a researcher, you may attach proof of this to your application. However, entry into positions in which scientific research is conducted at a level equivalent to the requirements of a university degree is rather unlikely if you do not have such a degree, and thus, substitution of advanced studies is rarely granted through an RPL process. If you, however, believe that your experience might be eligible for RPL, please feel free to submit an RPL application.
The admission criteria for Master's Degree programmes include completion of a minimum of 60 credits of studies of certain study subjects. I have completed only a few university-level courses in the field in question, but I have an extensive work experience and have completed different kinds of continuing education courses in the field. Is my prior learning in this case eligible for RPL so that I would meet the admission criteria?
The RPL process only concerns students with an admission status "Admitted", i.e. students whose right to study is already active. Thus, RPL applications are not processed in advance, prior to the completion of the admissions procedure. It is thus not possible to take advantage of your prior learning in the admissions phase.
I have been admitted to a Master's Degree programme that starts in the autumn. I already have an extensive work experience and skill set. I have been planning to use some of my prior learning to substitute some of my studies through an RPL process. I would like to start the autumn term as effectively as possible. Is it possible to apply for RPL already in the summer or at least to get an idea of the extent to which my prior learning is eligible for RPL?
You should start the process by discussing your RPL plans with your teacher tutor. It is also worth bearing in mind that during summer the RPL decision-makers (the teachers) are on holiday. In addition, your right to study enters into force only at the beginning of August. In the light of the above, you should wait until the beginning of the autumn term before officially initiating the RPL application process. The issues related to RPL will be covered during the orientation phase during the first week of studies, which means that you will have plenty of time to apply for RPL before your courses begin. To speed up the process, you may, of course, familiarise yourself with the structure and content of your degree and prepare your RPL applications beforehand, and present them to your teacher tutor right at the beginning of the autumn term. Please familiarise yourself with The RPL Guidelines of the University of Lapland prior to writing your applications.
I have attended the first lecture of a course and noticed only now that my prior learning matches the course content. Is it still possible to apply for RPL?
You should, in principle, apply for RPL well in advance, at the latest one month prior to the start of the course in question. Once the course has begun, your teacher may not have time to process your RPL application. Please note that if you receive a positive RPL decision after having completed the course in question, this does not entitle you to receive double credits for the same course.