Prospective students who have earned credits in theological studies at university level may, in certain cases, transfer those credits to King's Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) and Master of Arts (M.A.) programmes. If granted, exemptions reduce the overall time, number of modules and tuition fees required to complete either the B.Th. or M.A. programme.

Exemptions based on previous studies elsewhere is known as Accreditation of Prior Credited/Certified Learning (APCL). In special circumstances it is also possible to secure some exemptions based on previous ministry experience. This is known as Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

Rules for Accreditation of Prior Credited/Certified Learning

1. APCL is only granted for previous theological studies, or theologically-related studies at Higher Education level. So you may not apply for exemptions based on previous studies in, say, mathematics, science or nursing. Studies in subjects other than theology but which contain a theological or religious element will be considered (e.g. a history module covering some aspect of Church history). Previous studies must be pitched at Higher Education level, so A-levels, High School diplomas, or training or vocational qualification pitched below Higher Education Certificate level do not count for APCL purposes.

2. Generally, when considering a request for APCL we make our recommendation to the university on the basis of like-for-like studies. For example, previous church history studies would secure exemptions against similar modules we offer. Thus, when an application for APCL is received the school will assess which modules an applicant is exempted from on this basis. Applicants are not permitted to choose which modules (if any) they do not need to complete.

3. Exemptions may be granted against modules, and in special cases, entire levels (thus permitting direct entry to, say, the Diploma stage of the degree). Direct entry to the final stage of the B.Th. degree is possible only in circumstances where an applicant has completed sufficient accredited studies elsewhere. Successful applications for APCL towards the M.A. (Theology) degree earn exemptions from modules with similar content.

4. APCL applications are made on the basis of previous formally accredited studies. Thus while studies at unaccredited institutions may be accepted as evidence of satisfying entrance requirements on to a course at King's, unaccredited studies cannot be used to seek APCL exemption.

5. We cannot accept credits from previously-completed awards (eg a Master's degree in Theology, or another Bachelor degree in religious studies) against the B.Th. or M.A. programmes, as this would entail credits being used twice. Therefore, applicants may apply for exemptions based on credits (or credit hours) earned from incomplete programmes. Where an applicant has completed an early exit award (eg Certificate, Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate, Associate Degree etc) for the purposes of APCL these count as incomplete programmes and can be claimed against a full award.

6. At undergraduate level, the maximum APCL (or combined APCL-APEL) is 240 credits (i.e. direct entry to Level 6, the last stage of the B.Th. degree. For the M.A. (Theology) the maximum amount of APL which can be granted is 120 credits (i.e. two-thirds of the degree, that is, the full taught element excluding the dissertation).

7. The 50% rule. For early exit awards (e.g. Certificate/Diploma of Higher Education) at least 50% of credits must be completed through Chester for an early exit award. So a student with APCL of 50 credits at Certificate Level 4 completing the remaining 70 credits through Chester qualifies for a Certificate award, as at least 50% of credits were completed through the university. However, APCL of 70 credits and 50 credits completed through the university (i.e. less than 50%) would not be entitled to a Certificate award. Meanwhile, APCL of, say, 150 credits (120 credits at Certificate level and 30 Diploma credits), together with 90 credits throughthrough Chester does not earn an early exit Diploma. In such cases the student receives a university transcript detailing modules completed, together with an attendance certificate from King's. Alternatively they may continue on the B.Th. programme and earn the full award, or else exit at the next exit stage where the 50% rule is satisfied. The 50% rule does not apply to direct entry to Level 6, where APCL of 240 credits at Diploma level is permitted (see 6 above).

8. Applications for APCL for studies completed more than five years ago must demonstrate currency of credit (see below).

APCL Currency Assessment

The University requires that the currency for APCL applications of accredited or certified learning achieved more than five years ago must be assessed. This means that where applicants completed certified work more than five years ago, evidence must be produced to demonstrate that the student has kept up-to-date with current developments in their field since completing thir studies. Therefore, in such cases APCL applicants must supply a statement demonstrating how they have remained current with developments in the field. The statement should consist of no more than 1-2 sides of paper listing evidence to prove a continued interest in and interaction with the field since completing studies. The assessor from King's may seek to discuss your statement with you by 'phone or Skype. Examples of evidence to list include the following:

  • Books and academic publications read since
  • Conferences, seminars, workshops, presentations, lectures attended
  • Any additional studies, courses, programmes attended (whether accredited or unaccredited)
  • Additional training
  • Ministry
  • Any other evidence demonstrating you remain current with developments in Theology

Rules for Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning

1. APEL applications are based on work experience specifically in the field of religious work such as church ministry, theology, biblical studies and so on. Non-theological work experience cannot be used to apply for APEL.

2. Previous work experience must be at a level which properly earns exemptions from studies at Higher Education level. This might include pastoral ministry, lecturing and so on. Administrative roles, Sunday School teaching of children, and other work/positions which do not involve critical theological reflection will not normally secure APEL. As such, APEL exemptions towards the B.Th. tend to be modest, typically 10-20 credits at Certificate level unless the applicant can demonstrate substantial critical theological reflection.

3. At undergraduate level (i.e. the B.Th.) a student may make an application for both APL and APEL at the same time. Both forms need to be completed and returned to the school office. It is not possible to apply for APEL towards the M.A. (Theology).

Please note that onced enrolled on the B.Th. programme any applications for APCL/APEL must be made within a month of enrollment. It is not possible to apply for exemptions once your studies are well underway.

How to Apply for Exemptions

To make an application for APCL/APEL please download and complete the form below, returning it by post (not email) to the school office. Be sure to include all the relevant sections and include copies of the relevant documents as requested. This form is to be used for both B.Th. and M.A. (Theology) applications for exemptions. The fee for assessing credit exemptions is based on the application you submit (for example, whether just APCL, APEL, or APCL/APEL combined). Details of fees are as follows: 

75 GBP per level or part-level

Example 1: Application for 40 credits at Certificate level - Fee 75 GBP
Example 2: Application for exemption from full Certificate stage - Fee 75 GBP
Example 3: Application for exemption from Certificate stage and 60 credits at Diploma level - Fee £150

To make payment visit the eShop (see navigation above) and select Other Fees and Payments. If applying for exemptions at more than one level add extra payments to your shopping cart.

King's APCL application form 

Please note that although King's will prepare a recommendation to the university based on the documentation supplied, the final decision concerning the award of APCL or APEL lies with the University of Chester.