Advanced Placement & Credit Transfer

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

APL is a generic term covering the exemption of a student from a module or modules on taught courses at the university on the basis of prior achievement of the relevant learning outcome, whether certificated or by experiential learning. Wittenborg has systems in place to provide exemptions in EC credits for much of the programme based on Prior Learning, both in education and in the workplace.

There are two types of exemption available:

APCL: Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning   -  Credit Transfer

Students can apply for exemptions from modules based on evidence of learning formally assessed through certificated awards. Such applications will only be granted following a satisfactory mapping of learning outcomes for the modules and course aims for which exemption is sought. This will require an applicant to provide a portfolio of evidence. For non-Dutch nationals a student’s portfolio is sent to the NUFFIC for certificate evaluation in terms of Dutch Higher Education.

APEL: Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning   -  Exemption for work experience (EVCs in Dutch)

Applicants may apply for exemptions from modules directly related to work experience based on evidence of learning arising from professional experience and related study or training which may not be formally certificated.  This might require an applicant to provide a portfolio of evidence. Skills, Competencies and Knowledge acquired in the workplace will be mapped against the aims and objectives of Work Experience or modules in the chosen programme.

A Bachelor's in 3 Years or 4 Years?

  • Dutch bachelor's degree programmes at universities of applied sciences are generally 4-year study load programmes, weighted at 240 European Credits (ECs) of 60 credits per year.
  • Wittenborg offers its bachelor's degree programmes in 3 phases, allowing motivated students to complete modules in a minimum of 3 years with a higher study load of 80 ECs per year, or in 4 years at the standard pace of 60 ECs per year. 
  • The curriculum remains timetabled in a manner that allows dedicated students to follow the programme either in 3 years or 4.

Evaluation and Credits - ECs

What are European Credits?

European Credit provides an instrument to create transparency, to build bridges between institutions and to widen the choices available to students. The system makes it easier for institutions to recognise the learning achievements of students through the use of commonly understood measurements - credits and grades - and it also provides a means to interpret national systems of higher education.

The European Credit system is based on three core elements: information (on study programmes and student achievement), mutual agreement (between the partner institutions and the student), and the use of ECs (to indicate student workload).  ECs are a numerical value (between 1 and 60) allocated to course units to describe the student workload required to complete them. They reflect the quantity of work each course unit requires in relation to the total quantity of work necessary to complete a full year of academic study at the institution, i.e. lectures, practical work, seminars, tutorials, fieldwork, private study - in the library or at home - and examinations or other assessment activities. European Credit is thus based on a full student workload and not limited to contact hours only.

  • One European Credit equals between 25 and 28 hours of student workload. The total European Credits for passing a normal (4-year) study year are 60 ECs. Wittenborg offers full bachelor's degree programmes of study for three years, where the workload in ECs is increased to 80 credits per study year.
  • European Credits are a relative rather than an absolute measure of student workload. They only specify how much of a year's workload a course unit represents at the institution or department allocating the credits.
  • In European Credits, 60 credits represent the workload of a normal undergraduate academic year of study and normally 30 credits for a term. A postgraduate academic year of a full 12 months may have 90 credits.
  • European Credits ensure that the programme will be reasonable in terms of workload.

Example: In order to complete successfully the ‘Principles of Marketing’ subject, and gain the 5 European Credits assigned to it, the student has to spend 140 hours in workload for this subject. These 140 hours comprise of 24 contact hours/lectures and 116 hours in practical work, seminars, tutorials, fieldwork, examinations, and preparation time, etc.

The ECTS grading system for credit transfer

In cases where credits are transferred between countries (mainly in student exchanges) ECTS grades can be used. It is good practice to add an ECTS grade, particularly in the case of credit transfer. The ECTS grading scale ranks the students on a statistical basis.

Therefore, statistical data on student performance is a prerequisite for applying the ECTS grading system. Grades are assigned among students with a pass grade as follows:

A distinction is made between the grades FX and F that are used for unsuccessful students. FX indicates: "Fail - some more work required to pass", and F indicates: "Dail – considerable further work required". The inclusion of failure rates in the Transcript of Records is optional.

Progression through the bachelor's programmes by gaining European Credits

3-Phase Pathway Available ECs ECs Required at Entry 4-Year Pathway Available ECs ECs Required at Entry
Phase 1 80 0 Year 1 60 0
Phase 2 80 60 Year 2 60 40
Phase 3 80 160 Year 3 60 100
Phase 4 80   Year 4 60 180


Educational Method for successful careersApplying to Wittenborg University

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