Can I Pursue a Degree with Only Working Experience?

The Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) assessment has been implemented to enable working adults to apply for Certificate, Diploma, Bachelor Degree, Masters (coursework & mixed mode) and even PhD  (coursework & mixed mode only)! This means that those who chose to work right after SPM are now given an opportunity to obtain higher education qualifications. Some may wonder if they can do a degree while working full time through APEL, but the assessment has more to do with helping adults to use their work experience to get a university degree.

What’s the Difference Between APEL (A) and APEL (C)?

Below is a comparative table to understand better APEL (A) and APEL (C) for working adults who want to pursue a degree programme [1]:

PurposeRecognise the learning regardless of how and where it was acquired for the purpose of gaining access to a course programme.Recognise the learning regardless of how and where it was acquired for the award of credits in an academic programme pursued.

Application for



Candidates are required to

submit the application for

APEL (A) certification to MQA or Pusat Penilaian APEL.

Students are required to submit the application for APEL (C) assessment to the HEPs.



1. Only applicable to Malaysians.

2. Pass the Aptitude Test and


3. Minimum age requirements:

a) Certificate: 19 years of age

b) Diploma: 20 years of age

c) Bachelor Degree: 21 years of age

d) Masters Degree: 30 years of age

e) Doctoral Degree: 35 years of age

1. Open to Malaysians and non-Malaysians.

2. Require to either have the academic qualification or APEL (A) qualification.

3. No minimum age requirements.

** APEL (A) can only be used at UNITAR International University. Students cannot use this qualification at any other institution.

Utilise Your Work Portfolio to Gain Degree Programme Entry

Even though you have completed your secondary school education or a Pre-U course, possessing a tertiary credential will definitely add value to your present-day job. You can do so by compiling all your work experience into a portfolio when applying for a degree course via APEL (A). The majority of employers and recruiters would usually factor in the candidate’s higher ed background during the hiring process.


Skip Undergraduate Studies and Pursue a Postgraduate Degree

Feeling shy to enrol for an undergraduate programme as an older working adult? Don’t worry, you can actually bypass that stage and do a postgraduate study through APEL (A). If you’re 30 years of age, you can enrol for a masters degree programme with relevant work experience in addition to having STPM/Diploma/A-Level/equivalent certification. A doctorate candidate, on the other hand, needs to be at least 35 years of age. But be mindful that postgraduate courses are more demanding and you may need to consider studying part-time while working full-time.

Accelerate Your Study Period via Credit Transfer

Did you know you can use your work experience and convert them into academic credits? This means that you can complete a degree programme faster than your peers! APEL (C) allows such credit transfer for working individuals. UNITAR is an Accredited APEL Assessment Centre that provides an academic opportunity for people with working experience who lack higher ed qualifications to stand a better chance of getting a job promotion or having more career options. Contact us today for more information.





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