Credit for Prior Learning (Prior Learning Assessment) Policy
11/13/18 Note: Credit may be awarded for prior learning beginning in Spring 2019.
Prior Learning is a term educators use to describe learning and experience that an individual acquires outside of a traditional academic environment. This nontraditional learning is typically not indicated on a college or university transcript and can be acquired through: work experience, workshop participation, in-service training, or involvement in professional organizations. Credit may be awarded for verifiable learning gained through experience—not for the experience itself. Alternatively, students may opt to pursue credit by examination options. This policy pertains to Prior Learning that is not available from one of the credit-by-exam options.
The University of Arizona utilizes the credit recommendations from the American Council on Education (ACE). Prior Learning will be assessed using the following methods:
- Workforce training documentation,
- Portfolios, or
Students must meet the following standards if they are interested in receiving credit for prior learning: they must be admitted to the University, enrolled in a degree program, and need the credit to satisfy a degree requirement.
Students may receive up to 6 credits maximum, as determined by the appropriate department faculty. In addition, the prior learning credit must be deemed college level by the faculty evaluating the course, and must meet or exceed “C” level work. The credit for prior learning will not be calculated in the student’s GPA, cannot duplicate any previously awarded credit, and cannot be used to satisfy University residency requirements.
Further restrictions on prior learning credit:
- It cannot be used to satisfy course or program pre-requisites or General Education requirements.
- It will only count as lower division general elective credit.
- In general, credit for prior learning completed over eight (8) years ago may not apply to a student's current degree program unless otherwise approved by the major department (as reflected in the Time Limits policy).
Students interested in receiving credit for prior learning must first consult with their major Academic Advisor for degree applicability. Prior learning materials (proof of verifiable learning) should be submitted to the Office of Transfer Credit & Articulation for evaluation of credit by the faculty in an appropriate department or college. Prior learning materials should detail the content learned (i.e. hours, subjects, texts, relevant documents, completed work, etc.). The Office of Transfer Credit & Articulation will notify the student on the outcome of the evaluation process.
If awarded, credit for prior learning will be distinguishable on a University of Arizona transcript as lower division transfer credit with a grade of pass, as explained on the University of Arizona’s grade policy.
Related Guidelines and Links
* Please note that sections titled Frequently Asked Questions, Related Guidelines and links, Related Policies, Information for Advisors and Revision History are provided solely for the convenience of users and are not part of the official University policy.