Validation of prior formal education or of work experience to a study program

There are several examples from different higher education institutions and countries on how to provide access for non-traditional students and how to validate their prior formal education.

Welcoming students, who have prior learning or work experience, and allowing them to validate this knowledge to be part of their degree can enhance the diversity of the student body in the respective university/study program.

Special programs can be designed that are reserved for this kind of students. For example, students with field-specific prior education can get permission to directly start with semester 2 or 3 after completion of schooling, or they can be offered an alternative way of access.

  • FH OOE provides an example of a program for students who attended a technical secondary level school. The students can join some study programs in semester 2 instead of doing all from the beginning: Mechatronics & Business Management
  • At Brandenburg UAS, up to 50% of prior learning experience from outside the university can be validated for a study program: Studieren ohne Abitur (page only in German).
  • In Finland, students with vocational qualifications of three years or more have a similar access opportunity to higher education as students with a Finnish matriculation examination or an equivalent, international qualification. Read more at

Sources: University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, University of Applied Sciences Brandenburg,