Recognition of Prior Learning for HM Forces Personnel

For further information on Recognition of Prior Learning please watch the video.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) can help you to access Higher Education (HE) by acknowledging the learning that has been developed as a result of your military experience and/or previous formal, non-formal and informal learning.

As well as the knowledge and skills gained from formal learning situations such as school, college, training courses and university, RPL can also credit the learning which can take place informally. This could include secondary duties undertaken during military Service, volunteering, or even through your hobbies.

RPL can be used to help you get back into education or identify academic credit points which can reduce the amount of time needed to achieve a Higher Education qualification. Alternatively, you may just wish to identify your knowledge and skills, to help with your Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

Service personnel can benefit from RPL if they:

  • have been out of the education system for a long time and have not had the opportunity to gain formal qualifications which recognise the learning undertaken throughout their career
  • are planning to return to education to improve their existing qualifications as part of their career development
  • are unsure about their ability to access Higher Education or are lacking in confidence as learners
  • want to re-train or change careers as part of their resettlement preparation and are keen to demonstrate their learning to prospective employers
  • have taken non-formal learning or training in the workplace or through other military learning and training providers
  • have gained a range of skills and knowledge through volunteering


You may not feel that you have a strong academic education, but to claim RPL you need to be keen to learn from and about your own experiences and about yourself. It is important to emphasise that recognition is not given for the learning experience itself, but for the knowledge and skills that have been gained and applied as a result of that experience.

RPL can help you to:

  • think about the learning you have achieved through your military service and plan how to build on this learning to meet your personal and career goals
  • identify and demonstrate your knowledge, skills, attitudes and experience against a relevant course to help you get a place if you don’t have the normal entry qualifications
  • collect valid proof of learning
  • map your prior learning in order to gain credit towards a relevant qualification to shorten the normal period of learning by evidencing that you already have the knowledge, skills and understanding needed for particular parts of the programme or qualification (e.g. units or modules)
  • improve your self-esteem by recognising your achievements in learning
  • plan your personal development pathway
  • identify areas of competence and areas on which you can improve.

What Can You Get From The Recognition of Prior Learning Process?

The University of Wolverhampton is keen to recognise the unique contribution and sacrifice that members of the Armed Forces, and their families, make to society as a whole.  Therefore, the University offers entry to courses at various points based on rank and experience, allowing serving, ex-serving, and Reserve Forces to capitalise on the valuable training and education they have already received, as well as utilising Standard and Enhanced Learning Credits and resettlement leave where appropriate. 

 Examples Include:

Course of Study

Military Experience Recognised

RPL Credit Awarded

Certificate in Education / PGCE

Defence Instructional Trainer Course and associated instructional experience

One semester of study reducing the course length to 18months.

BA(Hons) Business Management

Cpl / LH

Direct entry to year 1



Direct entry to year 2, or even year 3

WO/Flt Sgt/CPO

Expect to start at year 3 but potentially consider the MBA programme.


Should expect to gain entry to MBA programme

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

WO to SO2

May achieve direct entry onto the MBA programme

SO2 upwards

May be able to complete the 1 year MBA (top-up) programme.

BSc (Hons) Exercise and Health


BSc (Hons) Strength and Conditioning

  • Basic PTI training
  • Adventurous Training Instructor
  • Exercise Rehabilitation Instructor (ERI)
  • Parachute Jumping Instructor
  • A number of promotion phase courses.

Military personnel with the relevant experience and training will be eligible for advanced standing dependant on training completed and relevant experience.

PG Cert Emergency Planning Resilience and Response (1 year)

All military personnel, regardless of higher education of academic experience, are accepted onto the course, recognising the experience that members of the Armed Forces have already gained.


Direct entry into PG Cert for all personnel.

PG Dip Emergency Planning Resilience and Response (2 years)


MSc Emergency Planning Resilience and Response (2-4 years)