Accreditation Of Prior Learning (APL)

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is a process through which an individual may be awarded credit for previous formal learning.

Matrix, in collaboration with Middlesex University and the UKCP, operate an APL scheme in relation to the Year 2 (DipHE).

We also offer in collaboration with Middlesex University an APL scheme in relation to Year 3 BSc (Hons) programme. UKCP registration is not available for those undertaking only Year 3.

The APL scheme is intended to provide equal opportunities to people to enter the DipHE and BSc (Hons) with varying qualifications and learning experiences.

The underlying principle of APL is that all learning which can be judged to be at higher education level can be assessed and quantified in terms of academic credit, and capability to progress to the next level of learning – integrating knowledge and understanding, skills and personal development.

Stages in APL

1. Application with Portfolio

Candidates develop a portfolio that evidences their prior learning. This will include a reflective written document that relates to the learning outcomes of the course. The portfolio will include:

  • Photocopies of certificates from previous trainings
  • Letters of validation from former tutors, concerning skills and performance
  • Signed off practice logs (by a supervisor)
  • Signed off evidence of personal therapy or experience of group work (by a therapist or facilitator)
  • Any other supporting evidence e.g. essays or transcripts of clinical work

The portfolio of evidence is added to the full application and submitted at the same time as the application.

2. Assessment and Accreditation

Before Interview a senior Matrix tutor will review the application together with the portfolio. If the evidence is sufficient the interviewing tutor will:

  • Recommend credit based on the agreement of the APL process with Middlesex University and the UKCP and accept and approve the application for a place on the relevant year

If the evidence is not sufficient then the candidate will be advised of the steps which might be taken to improve the portfolio which might include developing or providing additional evidence; undertaking additional therapy, learning, skills or other development.

An agreed deadline for the submission of further supporting evidence will be agreed and confirmed with the applicant.


APL for entry to Year 2 (FHEQ level 5)


Evidence of learning must be shown in three areas:

  • Listening and communication skills that relate to the course learning outcomes (FHEQ level 4)
  • Counselling theory
  • Self-development

This evidence must be covered by a portfolio covering the 3 sections as follows:

1. Evidence of acquired counselling and listening skills


One of below is required:

  • Certificate(s) in Counselling Skills amounting to 120 university credits
  • Counselling skills training of at least 100 hours. e.g. Certificate in Counselling Skills or similar
  • Combination of short courses of at least 100 hours

The materials covered must include:

  • Key counselling skills of empathy, unconditional positive regard, congruence, immediacy, mirroring, reflecting, paraphrasing and management of time boundaries
  • At least 20% of previous training to have been spent on experiential and self-awareness work

2. Evidence of academic achievement to support your application

  • Submission of a 1,000 word written assignment on a topic relating to the field of counselling, written at FHEQ Level 4

3. Evidence of self-awareness to support your application

35 hours personal therapy (within the last two years) is a compulsory requirement. Submit one of the following:

  • Professional reference by therapist
  • Therapy log (signed by your therapist)

APL for entry to Year 3 (FHEQ level 6)


Formal evidence of progressive learning at FHEQ level 5 must be shown in 3 areas:

  • Counselling theory
  • Skills - Counselling practice and work related experience
  • Self-development

This evidence can be covered by a portfolio in 4 sections as follows:

1. Evidence of counselling skills and theoretical knowledge

  • Diploma HE in counselling amounting to 240 university credits
  • Counselling training of at least 300 hours at level 5
  • Combination of short courses of at least 300 hours
  • Several certificated courses may be presented if it can be seen that they show a progression in learning

The materials covered must include:

  • Key counselling skills of empathy, unconditional positive regard, congruence, immediacy, mirroring, reflecting, paraphrasing and management of time boundaries. There must also be evidence of learning about the transferential relationship and the unconscious. There must be evidence of understanding of more than one orientation
  • At least 20% of all training spent on experiential and self-awareness work
  • Advanced counselling skills

2. Evidence of academic achievement to support your application

  • Submission of a 1,500 word essay on your theoretical understanding of counselling integration at FHEQ level 5
  • An academic reference to show you have an ability to cope with the academic expectations of training at degree level

3. Evidence of a counselling placement

  • A counselling placement agreement where you are in a formal counselling role to show a minimum of 100 practice hours with adult (post 18yrs) clients within two years prior to application
  • Supervision report or letter of support from the agency or current employment/voluntary work

4. Evidence of personal development to support your application.

  • 70 hours personal therapy (within the last three years) is a compulsory requirements

Submit one of the following:

  • Professional reference by therapist
  • Therapy log(s) signed by your therapist (s)

Please note that it is not possible to apply for UKCP registration as a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor if you enter Matrix at year 3.