Is there a limit to the amount of credit transfer I can receive through Advanced Standing?

One purpose of Advanced Standing is to eliminate duplication of learning and the number of units you need to study to earn your degree, by recognising what you already know, understand and can do. It's pointless to relearn that which you've already mastered!

It's rare, but possible to be awarded an entire qualification through an Advanced Standing assessment to recognise your current knoweldge and skills and attributes. Generally, credit transfer amounts are granted up to limits, which ensure a portion of the units in the Southern Cross course are formally studied.

Credit transfer limits for Southern Cross courses

Schedule 1 of the Advanced Standing and Recognition of Prior Learning Procedures prescribes typical limits for recognising the highest level of prior learning achieved in the same or similar study discipline/field, or branch of learning as your Southern Cross Course (cognate learning). 

Limits include:

  • no credit transfer for levels of learning at or below AQF Level 3 - Certificate III, or equivalent;
  • no credit transfer into postgraduate coursework for undergraduate levels of learning, with one exception that reduces the duration of study to 1.5 years for a 16 unit (2 year) Masters Degree**; and
  • the following credit transfer thresholds per qualification:

Table 1: High level summary of Schedule 1 credit transfer amounts for cognate formal learning into Southern Cross courses

Highest level of learning achieved in an Australian qualification, or equivalent General credit transfer limits Southern Cross destination course
AQF Level 4 - Certificate IV 4 units (6 months) Diploma, Associate Degree or Bachelor Degree
AQF Level 5 - Diploma 8 units (1 year) Associate Degree or Bachelor Degree
AQF Level 6 - Advanced Diploma 12 units (1.5 years) Associate Degree or Bachelor Degree
AQF Level 6 - Associate Degree 16 units (2 years) Bachelor Degree

AQF Level 7 - Bachelor Degree

4 units (6 months) 16 unit (2 year) Masters Degree* 
AQF Level 8 - Bachelor Honours Degree or Graduate Certificate 4 units (6 months) Graduate Diploma or Masters Degree
AQF Level 8 - Graduate Diploma 8 units (1 year) Masters Degree

Allowable variations to credit transfer limits

Variations may only occur from Schdule 1 amounts due to:

  • divergent disciplinary relationships (partially cognate prior learning);
  • external/professional recognition requirements that limit the amount or type of credit transfer;
  • constraint of a mandatory study plan that identifies units for which Advanced Standing is not available; or
  • greater alignment of learning outcomes and graduate attributes resulting from collaborative course development; or
  • limits on credit transfer being waived by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic).

If any variations apply for your Southern Cross course, you'll find them by selecting the 'Course structure' tab of your Southern Cross course and scrolling to the heading Advanced Standing.

Nevertheless, Southern Cross University will provide the maximum possible credit transfer in recognising your prior learning, via Advanced Standing and reserves the right to make the final decision on appropriate levels of credit transfer.

Credit transfer limits if you exit early, with a lower qualification

Unless limits on credit transfer have been waived by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), if you choose to exit from your Southern Cross course early, with a lower qualification (award), some of the credit transfer will be rescinded, so that the total amount of credit transfer meets the threshold in Table 2 for the lower qualification. 


  1. Higher education qualifications from Australian Higher Education Providers (HEPs) are comparable to qualifications at the same level from Australian Universities. For example, a Diploma from a HEP is equivalent to a Diploma from a University;
  2. Vocational qualifications/accredited courses from Australian private Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) are comparable to qualifications at the same level from Australian TAFE Institutes. For example, a Certificate I from an RTO is equivalent to a Certificate IV from a TAFE.
  3. Australian vocational and Australian higher education qualifications at the same level are comparable. For example, a vocational Graduate Certificate from an RTO or TAFE is equivalent to a higher education Graduate Certificate from a HEP or University.
  4. The University will establish the comparability of overseas qualifications to Australian qualifications using the Australian Education International Country Education Profiles (CEP), or equivalent system such as the UK National Recognition Information Centre (UK NARIC).

If you are applying on the basis of informal learning and wish to know more about the minimum skill levels and number of years of service that may substitute for a formal qualification, view comparability of informal experience to formal qualifications.

Still have questions? contact us