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Credit for previous study

Previous study or work experience can be credited to your degree

If you’ve already completed university-level subjects or have relevant work experience, you may be able to get credit for previous study. This means you won’t have to repeat similar units and could graduate sooner.

When your faculty assesses your application for credit, they will be looking for study or practical experience equivalent to the skills, knowledge and understanding you’d otherwise get during your degree.


You can apply for credit if you have:

  • completed units of study at another university or higher education institution
  • qualifications from a higher education institution or vocational education and training institution (including TAFE and private providers)
  • relevant work experience.

Study completed within a graduate certificate or graduate diploma can be counted towards a master’s qualification. You can also begin a master’s course, and exit early (graduate) with a certificate or diploma if you don't want to complete the full master's program.

For further information about credit rules and criteria, see our Coursework Policy 2014 and faculty handbooks.


  • studies completed more than 10 years ago (and some faculties only consider studies in the last five years)
  • studies completed at another tertiary institution from which you were excluded
  • undergraduate units, if you’re enrolling in a postgraduate degree, or
  • units that are a course prerequisite.


Before making your application, click on one of the links below to view step-by-step instructions on how to make your application.

  • I am applying for a bachelor degree, graduate certificate, graduate diploma or masters course and have completed studies at the same level - view instructions (pdf)
  • I am applying for a masters course and have a bachelor degree or graduate certificate or graduate diploma in a relevant subject area or I have relevant work experience - view instructions (pdf)
  • I am a current University of Sydney student enrolled in a bachelor degree, graduate certificate, graduate diploma or masters course. View instructions on the Student website

If you have undertaken a Polytechnic diploma in Singapore, the University offers admission and credit for eligible students into many undergraduate degrees. For more information, refer to our 2019 Admission and Credit Guide (pdf, 68KB).


It depends on whether your application to study at the University of Sydney is being made through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC), or directly to the University through the 'apply' option on your individual course information page.

  • UAC applicants: Your application for credit needs to be completed after enrolment, but before semester starts.
  • Direct applicants (and internal course transfers): Your application for credit needs to be received at the same time as you apply for your course. If you receive an offer of admission with credit, you will then have the opportunity to accept or reject the credit.


There are three types of credit:

  • Non-specific credit: your previous study is equivalent to a certain number of credit points at a junior level of study. For example, you might have completed a first-year subject we don’t teach, which would be credited as 12 junior credit points. Or, your previous study is equivalent to a certain number of units that you won’t have to complete as part of your degree. These units may be allocated at a junior or senior level
  • Reduced volume of learning (RVL): a form of credit that some masters courses use to reduce the number of credit points needed to complete the course. It recognises prior qualifications and in some cases, relevant work experience.
  • Specified credit: your previous unit of study is an exact equivalent of a University of Sydney unit of study, in which case you won’t be required to take that unit.

For further information, see our Credit glossary of terms (pdf).


Accepting credit can change your study load, fees or course duration. This may also affect your eligibility for government assistance and full-time concession benefits.

International students, who are required to maintain a full-time study load at all times, need to be particularly aware that accepting credit could reduce the duration of their student visa.


If you are applying for credit for study completed at another university (external credit transfer), you need to include:

  • an academic transcript (not a results notice) along with detailed unit of study descriptions. Check the university handbook, or equivalent, from the year in which you completed the unit. For each unit of study, you need to provide their full name, subject code, academic level (eg, First Year), description, method of teaching and assessment, reading list, number of teaching hours, and any other relevant information.
  • an explanation of the grading system used at your institution
  • information on how many units of study (subjects) in total were required to complete the degree you were taking at the other university.

In some cases, you may also be asked to provide a portfolio of work.

If you’re applying for credit based on work experience (recognition of prior learning), you'll need to attach a detailed letter from your employer explaining your role, and how it relates to the credit you’re seeking.

Every faculty has its own credit transfer policy governing what constitutes recognition of prior learning. If you have any questions, we recommend contacting your faculty directly for advice or referring to your faculty handbook.


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