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Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)


Applicants normally require a minimum academic qualification at primary degree level. It is recognised that learning can and does occur outside of traditional routes. The Department of Nursing and Midwifery is committed to the principles of equity and accessibility and facilitates entry to programmes through non-traditional routes. Applicants who do not meet the normal academic requirements may apply to have prior learning considered under the University of Limerick's policy on the recognition of prior learning (RPL).

RPL is an assessment process that determines the extent to which an applicant has achieved the required competencies and standards for entry into a higher-level programme of study. The prior learning may have been acquired by formal, non-formal or informal routes. In applying RPL, the University is cognisant of the need to ensure that the integrity of its awards is rigorously guarded and that academic standards are maintained. The accreditation of prior learning may be used only in the context of making an application for admission to a particular programme.


Non-degree-holder applicants to the department's masters' programmes need to demonstrate that they can perform adequately at this level. They also need to be aware that these programmes require a high level of commitment in terms of time and study. Applicants must have good academic writing and computer skills.

Applicants apply by submitting an application form and a supporting statement* to Postgraduate Admissions Office, Foundation Building, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland (fax. +353 61 233287; tel. +353 61 234377). Application forms are available from the Postgraduate Admissions Office.

Supporting Statement

The supporting statement should take the form of a reflective learning statement that identifies the applicant's prior learning and experiences. Assessors of applications will give due regard to professional and statutory accredited study.

The supporting statement must be presented in essay form and submitted as a word-processed document not exceeding 1,000 words. It must be written in an academic style and must include an introduction, a main section, a conclusion and, where applicable, appendices.

The introduction must specify why you want to undertake this programme of study and how you think the programme will contribute to your personal and professional development.

Main Section
The main section of the statement must describe an experience from practice and must demonstrate how learning has occurred through this experience. The main section must not exceed 800 words.

The conclusion should summarise the main points presented in the supporting statement. It can also be used to list references to any published works that you have referred to in the main section.

Use appendices to include evidence of having undertaken recent learning, such as completed courses, skills updates or study days attended. A photocopy of certification is sufficient.

* RPL applicants who have successfully completed a level 9 module are not required to submit a supporting statement. Instead, a transcript of the successfully completed level 9 module must be submitted with the application form.

Acceptance Criteria

Applications are considered under the following criteria:

Is the evidence genuine and clearly defended as your own achievement?

Is the evidence sufficient and does it support your claim?

Are the learning, knowledge, skills and achievements demonstrated through the evidence at an acceptable level?

Is the learning demonstrated through the evidence relevant to the programme of study you are applying for? This means that it will be considered in the context of the learning outcomes of the programme.

Is the learning current, or if not, is there evidence of appropriate updating?

Completed application forms should be submitted to Postgraduate Admissions, Graduate School, Foundation Building, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland (fax. +353 61 233287; tel. +353 61 234377). Application forms are available from the Postgraduate Admissions Office.

Contact Details.

Dr Owen Doody

Course Director Postgraduate Programmes,
Department of Nursing and Midwifery,
Health Sciences Building,
Northbank Campus
University of Limerick.
Telephone: +353-61-213367

Mobile: +353-86-8379781