Credit Transfer & Accreditation of Prior Learning at WUAS

Credit Transfer & Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences

Credit Transfer at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences (WUAS) is based on The Lisbon Recognition Convention, officially the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region, is an international convention of the Council of Europe elaborated together with the UNESCO. This is the main legal agreement on credential evaluation in Europe.

The Convention stipulates that degrees and periods of study must be recognised unless substantial differences can be proved by the institution that is charged with recognition. Students and graduates are guaranteed fair procedures under the convention. 

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. WUAS has systems in place to provide Credit Transfer for Periods of Study and exemptions in EC credits for much of the programme based on Prior Learning, both in education and in the workplace.

There are 3 types of APL considered at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences:

1. Credit Transfer for a Period of Higher Education Study

During the application procedure, students can apply for Credit Transfer based on a pervious period of recognised higher education study. Students must always be admitted  to the overall degree programme before Credit Transfer is considered. Credit Transfer is given on the basis of a completed previous period of study in line with a level according to the European Qualifications Framework, compared to WUAS undergraduate Phases. Students can apply for Credit Transfer into Phase 2 (80 EC Credit Transfer) and into Phase 3 (160 EC Credit Transfer).

The awarding of Credit Transfer into WUAS degree programmes is done by the Graduation and Examination Board (GEB) who officially mandate the Registrar and the Deputy Registrar to carry out the implementation of Credit Transfer and carry out the recognition of previous periods of study based on evidence provided through certificates, diplomas and results lists and subsequent verification by ENIC-Naric and Nuffic.

WUAS only accepts Credit Transfer for a period of higher education study into its undergraduate (bachelor's) degree programmes. Credit Transfer is not accepted into postgraduate (master's) programmes, unless students are studying in an institutional Transnational Education (TNE) partnership programme.

Students can apply for Credit Transfer for up to 75% of the degree programme, according to the Dutch Ministry of Education's regulations, as long as the prior period of higher education has been completed at a recognised partner institution or is part of a nationally recognised higher education programme at a nationally recognised higher education institution according to Nuffic in The Hague as the ENIC-NARIC national information centre.


ENIC-NARIC is a network of national centres which share information on foreign qualifications in order to support the mobility of students. The 57 centres are located in the countries which signed up to the Lisbon Recognition Convention, which first went into effect in 1999.

Nuffic in The Hague is the ENIC-NARIC national information centre in the Netherlands, and we report to the Ministry of Education. ENIC stands for European Network of National Information Centres, and NARIC for National Academic Recognition Information Centres.

2. APCL: Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning   -  Credit Transfer

Students can apply for exemptions from an individual module or multiple 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 applicants with a non-Dutch certificates and diploma's, a student’s portfolio is sent to the NUFFIC for certificate evaluation in terms of Dutch Higher Education, in line with above (1).

Students must submit a request for exemptions according to APCL during their application procedure before they commence their degree programme. APCL is only accepted for undergraduate (bachelor's) programmes, before entry into the programme, and this cannot be combined with Credit Transfer for a Previous Period of Study.

Applications for APCL (module exemption) are not accepted for entry postgraduate (master's) programmes in any circumstances.

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.

WUAS does not currently accept APEL for exemption from any module in any of its degree programmes, except under special circumstances for the exemption of the practical work part of a work placement module or an internship. Written submissions must in these cases always be fulfilled. Application for APEL for work placement can be submitted during the study programme.

Educational Method for successful careersApplying to Wittenborg University

Question - 180 or 240 EC's - 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.

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: "Fail – considerable further work required". The inclusion of failure rates in the Transcript of Records is optional.

Progression through the WUAS 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 80 Year 2 60 40
Phase 3 80 160 Year 3 60 100
Phase 4 80   Year 4 60 180
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