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Course Credit


PIA is committed to maintaining the integrity of its academic courses in alignment with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and grants advanced standing accordingly. Advanced Standing is to be awarded on the basis of completed formal academic studies that an authorised institution has assessed and certified (i.e. units of learning that are “quality assured” against known standards). Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is based on “prior experiential learning”, that is, “a process through which learning is achieved outside formal education or training.”

Types of Advanced Standing

Advanced Standing (AS) is recognition of achieving a portion of the required knowledge, skills and understanding of units in a course of study, expressed as an equivalent unit and is given an ‘AS’ grade on the student’s academic transcript. It can be awarded in the following ways:

Specified Credit

Specified credit is credit granted towards particular or specific components of a qualification or program of learning.

Unspecified Credit

Unspecified credit is credit granted towards elective components of a qualification or program of learning.

Block credit

Block credit is credit granted towards whole stages or components of a program of learning leading to a qualification.

Credit without Advanced Standing

This may be awarded where students have completed similar subject material in another award, and thus are exempted from the unit, but receive no credit point recognition as they will be required to undertake substitute or alternative units.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

This is an acknowledgement of learning outside of formal education and training, including knowledge, skills, competencies, and attributes which may have been learned through work experience, community involvement, or through general life experience. This will usually be given in exceptional circumstances and will be approved by the Dean.

Limits on Advanced Standing

PIA limits the award of Advanced Standing to the following:

  • Up to 50% Advanced Standing for an Advanced Diploma or Associate Degree linked to a 3-year Bachelor Degree; or
  • Up to 33% Advanced Standing for a Diploma linked to a 3-year Bachelor Degree.

Compulsory Studies

It is the responsibility of the Course Coordinator to identify and publish those subjects provided in an approved course which do not attract credit transfer.

Currency of Prior Learning

Unless the Dean otherwise approves on the basis of evidence of subsequent development and life or work experience in the discipline, only evidence of formal and informal learning completed in the previous eight (8) years will be considered.

Determination of Credit

Advanced Standing credits are determined on the basis of equivalence of the:

  • learning outcomes;
  • volume of learning;
  • program of study, including content; and learning and assessment approaches.

Actual credit awarded may be less than the theoretical maximum established in this policy and procedure.
In determining the applicability of RPL, PIA will assess that students have met the unit learning outcomes or standards or competencies prescribed for a unit. This may require that assessment include, but not necessarily be limited to, methods such as:

  • Relevant professional training;
  • project work;
  • practice related learning;
  • independent research;
  • a piece of scholarship;
  • a portfolio with examples of previous work;
  • letters from employers or community leaders explaining applicant experience, responsibilities, skills and capacities;
  • work-based assessment;
  • examinations;
  • interviews;
  • demonstrations; or
  • a combination of some or all of these methods.

Applying for Advanced Standing

A formal application must be submitted using the online Advanced Standing Application Form plus the provision of supporting certified documentation.
All applications must be submitted during the application process, and not after commencement of studies. If a document that is required for the application is not available at the time of application for admission to the course, students may apply within the first two (2) weeks of commencing studies. Applications after the first two (2) weeks will be automatically rejected.
Students must substantiate completion of studies cognate to the subject(s)/unit(s) for which exemption is sought. Failure to provide all the required documents with the application will result in the applications being rejected. Students may reapply as long as it is within the stipulated time frame. There are no extensions to the timeframe.
Where studies were taken at an international institution, the Australian Government Country Education Profiles assessment tool will be used to correlate the award against the AQF.

Decisions on Advanced Standing applications

Decisions on applications for Advanced Standing are to be made by the Dean in consultation with the Registrar. All decisions should be informed by careful professional judgment that is transparent and fair.

Appeals Procedures

Any student who wishes to lodge an appeal as a result of an unsuccessful application for Advanced Standing should follow the procedure referenced in the Student Grievance Handling Policy and Procedure.


  • Advanced Standing Application Form
  • Advanced Standing Guidelines
  • Student Admissions Policy and Procedure Student Grievance Handling Policy and Procedure
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