Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Overview
If you do not have the required formal educational qualifications specified by the degree in which you are interested, but you believe that your age, work and life experiences have provided you with equivalent levels of learning, you can enquire about applying for admission through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process. This does not mean that you will be accepted for study in the programme of your choice, but it does ensure that a broad range of your knowledge and skills will be taken into account when considering your application.
Applying using the RPL method means a considerable amount of work for the candidate in the preparation of materials, completion of various exercises and sometimes taking admissions tests - the specific requirements will be determined by the staff of the faculty to whom you will be referred. It also needs to be done in good time before the year in which you wish to register - at least 4 to 6 months in advance is a good guideline. The RPL admissions process has to go through the faculty in which you want to study – but you will also need to apply through the central admissions process at UCT. Please note that if you are a working person, there are very few part-time or after-hours full degrees offered at undergraduate level, there are many more available for post-graduate study.
If you are interested in utilising the RPL method for admission to UCT, we suggest the following:
- Establish what course, degree or programme you are interested in and find out exactly what the entry requirements are. To do this, look up the programme details on the UCT website or download a student prospectus. You can also contact the Departmental Secretary, or the Faculty Office in which the Department is based.
- If you are uncertain about what course of study to undertake, or you would like general career advice, you can make an appointment with the UCT Careers Service advisors (there is a fee charged for a consultation) – please contact them on email: Careers Service or telephone: (0) 21 650 2497 to schedule an appointment.
- Compile all the documentation about your existing education qualifications and identify on which grounds you do not currently qualify.
- Write a 2-3 page letter of motivation which outlines:
- a profile of yourself,
- why you are interested in this particular course of study,
- in what way your work or life experiences have prepared you for this course of study.
- Identify the faculty into which you will be applying and contact the relevant person (see links below) to clarify whether there are particular entry requirements, and the steps you need to follow:
- HUMANITIES FACULTY – Contact Khwezi Bonani or follow the detailed steps for candidates described on their undergraduate website or postgraduate website
- COMMERCE FACULTY (except the Graduate School of Business) – email the Faculty Office
- GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS (Commerce Faculty) – email the Admissions Department or call: (0)21 406 1338/9
- ENGINEERING & THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT (EBE) – email the Faculty Office or call (0) 21 650 2698
- HEALTH SCIENCE FACULTY - email Adri Winckler or call (0)21 406 6327
- LAW FACULTY – email Patricia Phillips or call (0)21 650 5409
- SCIENCE FACULTY – email Amy Rooks-Smith or call (0)21 650 2082
Please make sure you follow these steps well in advance of the University’s application deadlines which are usually in September preceding the year you wish to start studying.
For more information on RPL generally at UCT, download the UCT RPL Policy.
For general RPL enquiries or for assistance in completing the RPL process, please contact staff in the Centre for Higher Education Development.