Skip to main content

Credit for Prior Learning 

Think you may be eligible for Credit for Prior Learning? Want to learn more?

What is Credit for Prior Learning?

Prior learning encompasses knowledge acquired outside formal educational settings, often gained through professional endeavors, continuing education, certifications, or other work/training experiences, as well as through community involvement, personal study, or travel. At Georgia Southern University, Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) offers a structured process for students to identify relevant learning from their experiences, document it, and submit materials for assessment toward earning academic credit aligned with specific course objectives.

College-level education aims to cultivate responsible, adaptable citizens capable of critical thinking and problem-solving. Students demonstrating proficiency in a course’s expectations and learning outcomes may receive credit through the Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) program. Eligibility extends to all students via exams like CLEP, AP, or IB. Additionally, credit via portfolio, licensure, or credential requires significant work experience, non-credit credentials, associate’s degrees, nationally recognized certificates, or licenses. Students eligible for CPL can register for a portfolio preparation course and seek credit upon successful completion of the PLA process.

The Benefit of Receiving Credit for Prior Learning 

Receiving CPL may reduce the repetition of relevant course-related material for students with prior learning (or with prior degrees) and may reduce the time and money required to earn their degree. PLA does require fees such as testing (e.g., departmental examinations, standardized tests) or portfolio assessment; however, in general, PLA should take less time and money to complete than taking regular classes.

IMPORTANT: The Office of Adult and Online Learning can assist with undergraduate Credit for Prior Learning requests. For assistance requesting Credit for Prior Learning towards a graduate program, please contact the College of Graduate Studies:

Ways to receive Credit for Prior Learning

Credit by Examination

Georgia Southern University awards Credit by Examination when scores on national standardized examinations (CLEP, DSST, CAPE, DANTES, AP, IB, or AICE) strongly indicate that the student has acquired the information or skills related to given courses of instruction offered by the university.

Credit awarded by examination can be given only for courses officially approved for academic credit by the university. The credit (noted with a grade of K) does not carry an academic grade or affect the grade point average. A student who has earned a grade other than a W in the course may not earn CLEP or DSST credit for the course. 

Click here to find a complete list of CLEP exams accepted by Georgia Southern.

When a national standardized examination is not available or accepted by the university, a proficiency exam may be administered. This is subject to approval by the appropriate academic unit. A $15 fee is associated with proficiency exam administration and assessment.

Credit by Military Service

Joint Service Transcript (JST), DD-214, or transcripts from the Army/American Council on Education Registry Transcript System (AARTS), Community College of the Air Force (CCAF), Coast Guard Institute (CGI), and other appropriate transcripts can be reviewed for possible credit based on recommendations by the American Council on Education (ACE) and course approvals by the Associate Deans at Georgia Southern University.

You can receive credit for the required KINS 1525: Concepts of Health & Physical Activity class and possibly additional credit, depending on your training, rank, and the requirements for your major. 

To have your transcript reviewed, please submit a request for an official Joint Services Transcript to be sent to Georgia Southern University on the JST Website. Instructions and contact information are available here. It is free, and we typically receive it electronically the next day. Prospective and accepted students who have prior military service should contact Military & Veteran Services to learn more.

Credit for Certification or Licensure

Georgia Southern can award credit for prior credentials (certificates, licenses, etc.) from a regionally accredited college or university or other industry or nationally accepted certificates. Credit awarded is at the discretion of the academic unit and is not guaranteed. 

Students who wish to receive credit for a certificate or license must do the following:

  • Complete the Credit for Prior Learning Inquiry Form.
  • The Office of Adult Learning will contact you with next steps. You will be asked to submit digital copies of your documentation.
  • Credential holders may be asked to take a proficiency exam, demonstrate specific competencies, or produce a portfolio to assure that the certification meets specific course and college level student learning outcomes.
  • Some academic units may require that the student complete the next level course successfully to award credit from prior credentials.

Credit by Portfolio

Credit by Portfolio requires students to prepare and submit a collection of documents that establish and support their claim that they have specific relevant skills, knowledge, values, attitudes, understandings, achievements, experiences, competencies, training, and certifications aligned with specific course objectives. The portfolio developed not only describes the relevant experience but must also identify the particular learning outcomes. Students must offer a critical self-assessment of what college-level learning has been acquired through selected non-traditional experiences. 

Students wishing to pursue the portfolio option must:

  • Complete the Credit for Prior Learning Inquiry Form.
  • The Office of Adult and Online Learning will contact the student with next steps. All students seeking Credit by Portfolio must enroll in the self-paced, online portfolio development course:  Prior Learning Assessment. 
  • Pay the $25.00 fee for the Prior Learning Assessment course and subsequent portfolio assessment.
  • Within six months of completing the portfolio development course, submit the final portfolio for assessment. Students may petition to submit a portfolio past the 6 month period, but before 1 year has passed. If it has been over one year since completing the portfolio course, the student must retake the portfolio course.
  • Once students complete and submit their portfolio, assessors will evaluate it to determine if the portfolio provides evidence that ties those skills to a specific course objective. Credit (K) may be awarded when assessors determine that the prior learning is acceptable and approved..
  • A separate portfolio must be prepared for each course for which a student is seeking credit. The $25.00 assessment fee must be paid for each portfolio submitted.

Students should be aware that medical, dental, and other professional schools may not recognize course credit by portfolio in their admissions processes. Students should check with their intended program to assure acceptance.

Credit by Third Party

We do a case by case assessment for third party courses to receive credit for prior learning for credit earned prior to enrollment at Georgia Southern University (i.e., Sophia Learning, Coursera, etc.).

Please fill out this inquiry form and someone from the Office of Adult and Online Learning will contact you with more information.

Learn more about the prior learning policy in the University Catalog.

Last updated: 5/15/2024