Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is when formal recognition is given for what you already know prior to starting on a programme or module. With recognition of prior learning the focus is on learning and not on experience as such. You can apply for RPL in any MTU accredited programme or module. Programmes which are accredited by professional bodies or any external awarding bodies may have their own procedures for RPL which you should refer to.
The best advertisement for the Recognition of Prior Learning is the accounts of our own graduates who have used it to help them succeed in college and in their careers and businesses.
Brian (former Carpenter and now a Company Director)
Brian availed of RPL to gain advanced entry onto the Degree in Civil Engineering (level 7).
After completing my Junior Cert, I went straight into an apprenticeship in Carpentry and Joinery. Part of the apprenticeship included studying two modules at the Munster Technological University. During my time there the lecturers were very helpful and recommended me to further my education in Civil Engineering. At the time I chose to continue my career in Carpentry. I continued for several years to work as a carpenter until a recurring back injury forced me to take some time off. Whilst off work, I called into the college and met one of my former lecturers. Over a cup of tea, I told him I was off due to an injury to which he replied, ‘Let’s get you into that engineering course!’ Before leaving I was introduced to the Head of Department for Construction Engineering and the course content was explained in detail and how I would be eligible to attend the course even without having the traditional requirements for entry.
After a few weeks, I was called for an interview where I was assessed for eligibility to enter the course and coupled with my qualification as a Carpenter with additional work experience, I was offered a place.
After three years full time I graduated with a Degree in Civil Engineering. The education I received both in Engineering and Carpentry has been integral in developing my career and I am now the Managing Director of a construction company. I would like to thank the staff at MTU. Without their goodwill, knowledge, and approachability I would not be in the position I am in today. I did not have the qualifications for the traditional means of entry for a third level education. Getting recognition for my Carpentry and Joinery qualification coupled with my years of practical experience, gave me a route into Third Level Education. Having furthered my education through the recognition of prior learning scheme it has opened numerous options for my career development including the ability to travel abroad with a recognised qualification. The recognition of prior learning application could not have been easier. The process was explained in detail by the staff, and they were always at hand to help along the way.
If you have any aspirations to attend higher education, you should go for it. The recognition of prior learning process makes entry to the course of your choice much more achievable than you might think and having a qualification at your disposal will open up a lot more options for you. The recognition of prior learning application could not have been easier. The process was explained in detail by the staff, and they were always at hand to help along the way.
Pat (Manufacturing Engineer in Electronics/Automotive Sector)
Pat completed the BSc (Honours) Automotive Manufacturing Engineering Programme.
I used RPL to gain advanced entry which allowed me to move straight to a Level 8 from Level 6. As I was working as a manufacturing engineer, I knew that I needed a Level 8 Degree to have an opportunity to apply for senior engineering roles. I had a level 6 obtained in the past and 26 years of experience in the automotive electronics industry. During the years I had often thought about earning my Degree, but the right course was not available at the right time for me. A former colleague became a lecturer at MTU (Kerry Campus) and from speaking with him I chose to apply for Automotive Manufacturing which had modules which could be utilised in many environments, including Project Management, Machine Control Systems and Quality Management.
RPL was the right choice for me as I had many years of experience working as a supervisor, technician and engineer but did not have the formal qualifications to go with this. It was an easy choice to make in the end as my experience was considered when I was given a place on the Level 8 course. Undertaking a Level 8 degree with modules which captured my attention ensured that I learned many new techniques which can be applied in my current work setting. It has also opened further opportunities down the line such as more senior roles and different manufacturing systems. The process of application was very easy and involved writing reports on the learning achieved from my work experience and courses I had completed in the workplace. This was a real benefit as it was a beginning of my learning and introduced me back into report writing.
Padraic (former business owner, now a Researcher with MTU)
Padraic used his experiential learning to springboard from year 1 of B.Sc. in Computing with Software Development onto a H. Dip in Applied Computing and then onto an M.Sc., gaining a significant number of module or subject exemptions along the way. Having completed a B.Sc. in Applied Physics in 1993 I held a number of positions in the electronics industry, predominantly working with computer hard drives. Around 1999 I decided to venture into web development, partnering in a new business in Tralee, creating hi-end designs and web development for several industries. The business collapsed during the recession around 2010. I found it difficult to gain employment in the private sector, I think possibly because I didn’t have a formal computing qualification. It was then that I decided to return to third-level in Tralee. I completed first year of Software Development, then a H. Dip in Applied Computing and finally an M.Sc. in Artificial Intelligence. The lecturing staff in MTU immediately recognized the value of my previous learning and prompted me to apply for exemptions. RPL was the right fit for me because it freed me up to spend more time on subjects I hadn’t previously studied. It also recognized that I had a certain level of understanding of the exempted modules. RPL allowed me to bypass three years of a B.Sc. and gain a H. Dip. at the same level as a B.Sc. This in turn allowed me to complete an M.Sc. I commenced year 1 of a BSc in computing and I was able to use RPL to gain exemptions from a number of modules. Having completed year 1 I got the opportunity to pursue a H. Dip in Applied Computing. This course was only accessible to applicants who had already completed a degree in another discipline which could be considered under RPL. I was also exempted from some modules in the H. Dip. because of RPL.
I now work in MTU as a researcher.
Without RPL I may never have pursued an M.Sc. and that qualification has enabled me to apply my research knowledge to the position I am in now. It has given me opportunities to present at colloquiums and conferences and travel abroad to present my research. I have also had the opportunity to author several papers, and these have been published in peer-reviewed publications. The application process was seamless and with the help of the lecturing staff proved painless and expeditious. It is an advantage to use RPL. It frees up time that would otherwise be spent going over old ground and ultimately allows a student to solely concentrate on learning new material.
Consult with the lecturing staff as they are in a position to gauge the level of prior learning that a student has achieved.
Simon (Outdoor Activity and Education Instructor)
Simon used RPL to get access into year 2 of the Bachelor of Arts in Outdoor Learning (Level 7). This programme was specifically designed to give applicants who were employed in the sector, the opportunity to complete an RPL process to the value of 60 credit as identified in the European Qualifications Framework for Outdoor Animators.
Before starting the course, I had only a level 5 certification in outdoor pursuits along with some other minor awards/ qualifications. I had been working in the “outdoors” for nearly 10 years and was running a small climbing business. I heard about the course from a friend who had reassured me that it was still possible to apply even with the level 6. My main motivations were up skilling and furthering my own understanding of my practice as an outdoor instructor. I was curious about the academic side of things which until then I hadn’t the opportunity to try. I completed an application form documenting my prior learning and although at first it was intimidating, it was in fact very manageable. Staff were great at answering any questions and pointed me in the right direction where needed. RPL worked for me as I thought getting a third level education would be very hard to access. The whole process of looking at my previous learning and courses helped me feel ready to take on the BA in Outdoor Learning.
Higher education opened up my own practice to a whole new viewpoint and approach to the job I do and helped bring new life to the work that I do. It also helped to give me a professional edge and I felt more confident after taking the time to broaden my own view on Outdoor Education.
Margaret trained as a nurse in England and achieved her Nursing Certificate (RGN) and Children’s Nursing (RSCN Higher Diploma). She worked in Accident & Emergency and went on to achieve the ENB Accident & Emergency nursing in the UK.
She came back to Ireland in the early 2000’s and became very interested in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) through caring for children presenting with the disease and family members getting a diagnosis of IBD. She applied for the Certificate in IBD at MTU.
Due to family commitments and there being no academic pathway for nursing in IBD until now, I had not taken an academic course in 22 years. I attended numerous study days and short courses yearly in those 22 years.
My previous study had been at level 7 and the course that I wanted to study was at level 9.
Margaret was able to commence her level 9 course in IBD by gaining advanced entry through RPL. She completed an application form and assignment questions which were assessed. She was under a lot of pressure to get the application ready as she was working night shifts at the time, but it was worth it in the end. She is currently completing her studies at MTU, and she believes the RPL process gave her the confidence to participate in the course she is on.
Had she not gone through RPL it would have taken her several years to do the Level 8 as she is also working full time as a nurse.
You have to do it. It’s a great way to access the course/further education path you want to take. I’d highly recommend it. I would not have been able to access the Course in MTU on IBD, had it not been for the Recognition of Prior Learning pathway.
Claire (former Special Needs Assistant and now a Social Worker)
She previously completed the BA in Health and Leisure at Level 8 in Tralee. She used RPL to gain exemptions for ten modules across three years of her Level 8 Honours Degree Programme in Social Care at MTU (Kerry Campus).
RPL was a valuable experience for me as it allowed me to gain the credits for material already completed and focus on new material and modules. As a mature student, I was also working and had other responsibilities so freeing up some time for work, etc. was critical. As I had already completed 5 years at Tralee and was also a qualified SNA, I felt it was important my prior learning should be acknowledged, especially considering the overlap in a number of the modules on those programmes. I felt it was important to get credits for what I had already achieved, and not have to repeat credits already gained. My higher education journey continued after Tralee as I went on complete a Masters in Social Work in UCC. It was essentially all the strands of my education up to that point coming together. My social work career began immediately afterward and is as a direct result of my third level qualifications.
Will you be the first person to gain a full academic award at MTU Kerry Campus?
Applications for RPL are dealt with on an individual basis once a student has registered on a particular course or programme.
Even before registering for a course, it is a good idea to read through our courses available through the course search. You will learn more about our courses and the breakdown of subjects that are taught across the semesters, and you will find full descriptions of each subject or module. As you read the modules, you might start drawing parallels between the module(s) on the course and your prior experiential learning and or prior formal learning.
If you think that RPL might be a good fit in relation to your experiential learning and/or prior formal, we recommend that you contact the relevant Head of Department of that area as early as possible, who can advise on the best way to proceed and identify any additional supports you may need and of any deadlines.
The application process includes the evidence you must put together, and the assessment process will be explained to you. The assessment examines how well the learning you gained from your experiential learning or other formal/non-formal learning, matches the learning we expect an attending student to gain from completing a module(s) or subject(s) at MTU.