UNISA RPL: An Opportunity to Study

Unisa RPL – it stands for Recognition of Prior Learning. This is a system designed to allow students who already have most of the relevant knowledge for a particular qualification to gain credit for that knowledge. This allows students to gain up to 50% of the credits needed without completing the modules.


Does UNISA Have RPL?

Yes, UNISA does have RPL. You can apply for RPL and gain up to half of the credits needed for your qualification, depending on how much knowledge you have.


How Does RPL Work At UNISA?

RPL at UNISA requires that you apply, and have proof of what you know, such as a certificate from a training course, or a letter of reference from your employer stating what it is you learned through company training. This is usually in the form of proof of at least 5 years of experience in the relevant field.


Can You Obtain A Full Qualification Through RPL?

No, you cannot get a full qualification using only RPL. You can get up to 50% of the credits needed for your qualification, but no more than 50%. This means you will still need to do at least half of the required modules to be able to get your qualification.


Also, 50% credit is not guaranteed. The number of credits you can receive through RPL will be up to the discretion of the UNISA Academic Staff. If you do not get 50% of the credits, you will need to do more than half of the modules.





How Long Does An RPL Application Take At UNISA?

There is no precise timeframe for the RPL process, but it is recommended that you begin the process at least three months before the planned registration dates open for your qualification.


Who Qualifies For RPL?

You can qualify for RPL if you meet the following requirements:

  • You are 23 or older
  • You have at least 3 years of work experience in the relevant field


You must also have gained learning experience in at least one of the following ways:

  • Workplace learning
  • Informal studying for recreational or personal interest reasons
  • Company-based or industry-based training
  • Working with experts


Is RPL Certification Worth Applying For?

Yes, if you believe you have enough knowledge to gain credits for your qualification, it is worth applying for RPL. If your application is successful, this will mean you have fewer modules to study.


As a result, you can complete your qualification faster, and you can focus on getting the best possible results for the modules you do take.


How Do I Apply For RPL?

For an undergraduate course, you must first apply to study the qualification, and see if you are accepted. Once you have been accepted, you can find out which modules you could get credit for.


Then, begin the application process for RPL by sending an email to [email protected] and then contacting the RPL Academic Coordinator.


You can find out who your Academic Coordinator will be and how to contact them on the UNISA Contacts page.


Once you have contacted your Academic Coordinator, you will be given the application form, current fee, and banking details, along with instructions on how to complete and submit your application with the correct supporting documents to the Academic Coordinator.


If your credits are granted, you can register for the remaining modules. If your credits are not granted, you will have to study the full set of modules to get your qualification. If you are told that further assessment is needed, you will need to accept further assessment to get a final decision.


The entire process is explained in the following image, which is from the UNISA RPL process page:





However, if you are applying for RPL for a Master’s or Doctoral Degree, the process may be different. Be sure to check out the RPL process for Master’s and Doctoral programmes.




What Have We Learned?

  • UNISA does offer RPL
  • You cannot get a full qualification through RPL, you can get a maximum of 50% of the required credits
  • It is recommended that you begin the RPL application process at least three months before the planned registration dates
  • You must be 23 or older and have at least 3 years of relevant work experienc
    e to qualify
  • RPL is worth applying for if you believe you have the necessary experience
  • You can apply for RPL through the Academic Coordinator for your qualification


Also Read: Unisa Applications 2023


Author: Chloe Bydawell
Editor: Sive Ncanywa
Date: August 30, 2022

18 thoughts on “UNISA RPL: An Opportunity to Study”



    I applied for RPL at UNISA for a number of LLB modules, but need guidance on how to properly provide evidence of my competency, skills knowledge and experience to demonstrate what I acquired is equivalent to the module claimed for credit.
    According to the coordinator I have only informed them of what I have done or achieved in the past without demonstrating the outcomes of what I learned. How do I do this, as someone advised that I could provide documentary evidence such as court applications drafted by confirmed by attorneys I worked with in the past. Is there a particular format used to provide outcomes of what I learned. Please advice .

    1. In order to prove that you have learned from your prior work experience, you need to compile the following documentation:

      Portfolio of Evidence
      The following documentation must be contained in your POE:

      • Personal details and contact information
      • Table of contents listing the various sections of the portfolio
      • Full curriculum vitae expanded to include a detailed work history
      • Include a print out of the SAQA qualification you wish to be awarded
      • List of learning outcomes / standards for the award
      • Details of analysis recorded as COMPETENT / NOT YET COMPETENT with identified evidence referenced
      • Referenced / indexed listing of evidence – referenced to learning outcomes. For example, draw up a table, in one column list each specific outcome, in the next the assessment criteria, in the third your evidence, and finally the page number where the evidence is found
      • Copies of correspondence / application forms etc
      • Details of meetings with mentor
      • The POE must also contain a combination of direct and indirect supporting evidence.

      Direct Evidence

      Sometimes candidates must attend training to close specific gaps in knowledge and skill areas. Include your formative and summative evidence in your POE.

      • Project or work based assignments
      • Evidence of work based assessment – on the job assessment for work skills
      • Job specifications
      • Company organisation charts
      • Personnel records of in-house training and development
      • Accounts of personal experiences
      • Employer endorsement and / testimonials
      • Prior qualifications, Certificates of Education & Training etc
      • Training, assessment and test results
      • Curricula /course descriptions / outcomes
      • Staff training records / personal records
      • Products of work, samples of documentation / work undertaken, photographs

      Indirect Evidence

      Not all evidence needs to be created during learning programs. You can use evidence from the past 2 -3 years that shows what you already knew and managed to do before the program. (Check on valid time frames with your mentor. Some qualifications may only accept evidence from the past 12 months.)

      • Membership of related organisations and societies
      • General references
      • Newspaper cuttings
      • Other evidence – accounts of overseas experience, voluntary work etc

      1. I need assistance in applying for RPL. I have about 17 years in the industry am working at. Which 11 years as manager. Were do i start. I

  2. Good day I want to study for next year my department will pay if I have acceptance latter from you, I want to study Public management, I have Community Development Worker and Site Tour guide both from Unisa my ID number is 7206025733086

    1. Unfortunately we cannot assist you with regards to an acceptance letter as we are only a provider of online study groups and study resources to Unisa students.


    1. While it is possible to transfer credits from one institution to another, Unisa only offers a Diploma in Corrections Management and then a Honours in Corrections Management, no BA. You can view the moving credits from one university to another here.

  4. Hi. I completed the RPL process and received a latter from Unisa.
    “Your RPL assessment has been finalised by the relevant RPL assessment panel. I have
    pleasure in confirming that in terms of a UNISA Senate decision, you have been granted
    direct access to the following qualification: Bachelor of Arts in Community Development (98618) This means that you have been exempted from all prerequisite admission requirements and can register for this qualification at any UNISA Regional Office during the next official registration cycle. Congratulations on this achievement.”
    However, I am bit confused, does this mean I have to follow the traditional routes to complete the degree or use deferent methods. please help me understand.

    1. You would have to register as per normal in January 2021. You will have to follow the traditional routes i.e registering online or when and if available, register at your nearest Unisa Regional Office.

      1. Good day
        I am currently working as a constable for almost 6 years at saps and I’ve tried to apply with unisa and could not qualify because I didn’t meet the required APS.l would like to start the process of RPL for a course aligning to my current duties.please advice of its possible with 14 of APS score.

        1. APS does not come into play when it comes to RPL. If you are going that route, please make sure that you provide everything needed from Unisa. Make sure that your work and life experiences are relevant to the qualification it is that you want to do.

          RPL would not work if, for example, you want to apply for a BSc if you work in law enforcement. You can try the RPL route but if you do not qualify, then I can suggest that you rewrite your Matric (Adult Matric) so that you can improve your marks and APS, giving you a better chance at applying for the qualification of your choice

  5. Hi,

    I wish to thank you for your advice and guidelines in the process of claiming RPL for law modules.May I send you one or two of the modules claimed which I strongly believe I have acquired the knowledge, skills and extensive practical experience of more than a decade of legal work as owner of a paralegal company.
    I can provide portfolio of evidence, verified by attorneys, advocates, judicial officers as being personally and independently drafted court applications confirmed by all the above. I need to use a proper format according to UNISA requirements to demonstrate and prove learning outcomes being in line with the specific outcomes and assessment criteria of that module, which are largely procedural law, substantive law and the Constitution.

  6. Hi I Sicelo Ndlovu, studied community development at Unisa with 26 Modules passed but not finished my Degree, I am a Community Development Worker for the past 15 years and wish to be considered for RPL

    1. You could either try to study at a TVET college and work your way towards studying a qualification at Unisa or improve your Matric results via doing your Adult Matric

  7. Hi,
    I want to apply for RPL for 2022 for a Post Grad Diploma. I’m currently unemployed and unable to provide the company aspect of the requirements i.e. company motivational, training records, company org charts, job spec etc. I do however have a Bachelor’s degree and over 6 years of experience in my field of study and pending PGDip. I also plan on enrolling for short courses in my field of studies/work later on this year and hopefully use those courses in time to apply in a timely manner for the 2022 RPL.
    Will me not having the company info. impact my application?

  8. good day
    I want to start the RPL process in mining. I have 10yrs in the mining industry. where do I start cos on the website it stays complete RPL assessment which I can’t find. please help

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