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Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Approved by the Management Group 21 March 2014

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a study method, where a student completes a course / courses by showing his/hers prior learning. By utilizing the RPL method, students can complete their studies faster and they do not have to study topics/skills they already know/have.

The student can use the RPL method for completing both compulsory and elective/free-choice studies through the academic year. The amount of credit points completed via RPL is unlimited and it is recorded to the student’s study register. For transfer of credit, the grade, time and place, where the student has completed the studies is also recorded.

The RPL process begins always from the student’s own initiative. More exact instructions about the process can be found from the student’s MyNet portal >> (link requires log in). Those students who are beginning their studies, will get the instructions on their confirmation letter and during the orientation days.

There are two ways to utilize the RPL method - direct transfer of credits and demonstration. The following principles are adhered on them:

Direct transfer of credits

The credits completed at the following places can be transferred to be part of the student’s degree at Haaga-Helia, if they fulfil the requirements set by the degree programme:

  • Another Finnish university/university of applied sciences
  • Foreign university/university of applied sciences
  • Open/summer university

The studies can be completed either before or during the studies at Haaga-Helia and the student needs a certificate or a degree of those studies. The credits can either replace the compulsory/elective studies or they be included in the free-choice studies.

When planning the transfer of credits, it is good to notice that Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, does not take into account the credits completed via direct transfer in their annual monitoring of study progress.


The student can complete either whole or parts of courses by demonstrating his/hers knowledge/skills learned via the following experiences:

  • Courses/degree in a vocational school
  • Work place
  • Own company
  • Free time, e.g. hobbies

The student and the teacher responsible of the course negotiate the best way to demonstrate the learning. The studies completed via demonstration are evaluated with the same criteria and grading as other studies. If the student does not pass the demonstration, (s)he can complete the course in the regular way.

Work placement

The student can also complete his/hers work placement via RPL. The work placement can be completed either by transferring credits from a work placement completed in another institute of higher education or by demonstrating prior work experience.  The use of RPL method is agreed with the degree programme’s Work Placement Coordinator.


Bachelor’s/Master’s thesis cannot be completed via RPL method.