Credit for Prior Learning

Prior Learning Assessment

Credit for Prior Learning

Credit for Prior Learning

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a series of nationally and internationally-recognized methods where learning outside the traditional college classroom can be assessed for college credits. These methods include credit by examination, evaluations of credit for workplace learning, and by prior learning portfolio assessment. As a career-focused university by mission, Sullivan University recognizes that student learning may be acquired through non-traditional means and that college-level competencies can be attained by means other than through institutions of higher education.

Credit by Examination

Credit by Examination

The university recognizes prior learning by accepting a full range of direct examinations, such as those offered by the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP®) and DSST® examinations sponsored through the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) program. Sullivan University accepts scores of 50 or above as a credit-granting score for each CLEP® or DSST® examination. Credits earned through CLEP® and DSST® examinations are recorded as transfer credits on a student’s transcript and do not count in GPA calculations. Descriptions of the examinations can be found at  and

Provider Exam Credits Equivalent Course
DSST Principles of Financial Accounting 4 ACT 101
CLEP Financial Accounting 4 ACT 101
CLEP Introductory Business Law 4 BUS 204
DSST Business Law II 4 BUS 405
CLEP Chemistry 4 CHM 211
DSST Principles of Public Speaking 4 COM 214
DSST Introduction to Computing 4 CSC 106
CLEP Information Systems and Computer Applications 4 CSC 106
DSST Management Information Systems 4 CSC 300/400 elective
CLEP Principles of Microeconomics 4 ECO 201
CLEP Principles of Macroeconomics 4 ECO 202
CLEP College Composition 4 ENG 101
DSST Technical Writing 4 ENG 204
CLEP American Literature 4 ENG 244
CLEP Analyzing and Interpreting Literature 4 ENG 244
CLEP English Literature 4 ENG 244
DSST Principles of Finance 4 FIN 324
DSST Business Ethics and Society 4 HRL 340
CLEP American Government 4 HST 274
DSST Introduction to Business 4 MGT 114
CLEP Principles of Management 4 MGT 114
DSST Principles of Supervision 4 MGT 274
DSST Human Resource Management 4 MGT 284
DSST Organizational Behavior 4 MGT 344
CLEP Principles of Marketing 4 MKT 114
CLEP College Mathematics 4 MTH 101
CLEP College Algebra 4 MTH 201
DSST Fundamentals of College Algebra 4 MTH 201
DSST Principles of Statistics 4 MTH 202
CLEP Calculus 4 MTH 300
DSST Introduction to World Religions 4 PHL 244
DSST Ethics in America 4 PHL 464
DSST Introduction to Law Enforcement 4 PSA 160
CLEP Introductory Psychology 4 PSY 214
DSST Lifespan Developmental Psychology 4 PSY 274
CLEP Human Growth and Development 4 PSY 274
CLEP Introductory Sociology 4 SOC 214
Course-Level Bypass


Currently, bypass assessments are offered by several academic units. Credits earned through course-level bypass assessments are recorded on a Pass/Fail basis and are reflected on a student’s transcript as “P” to indicate a passing score. Credits earned through bypass assessments do not count toward GPA calculations.

CLICK HERE to access a PDF document with the learning outcomes, exam format, passing score, suggested resources, exam schedule and contact information for each of the bypass assessments.

Examination Credits Equivalent Course
Principles of Accounting 4 ACT101
Keyboarding Essentials 4 AOM 105
Basic Culinary Theory 4 BFS 104
Basic Culinary Skills Laboratory 6 BFS 106
Garde Manger Theory 4 BFS 214
Garde Manager Laboratory 6 BFS 216
Advanced Culinary Techniques Laboratory 4 BFS 264
Food Service Sanitation 4 CAM 134
Basic Nutrition 4 CAM 174
International Cuisines 6 CAM 256
Food and Beverage Control 4 CAM 284
Computer Concepts 4 CSC106
Computer Applications 1 4 CSC 118
Computer Applications 2 4 CSC 218
Composition 1 4 ENG 101
Composition 2 4 ENG 102
Advanced Writing 4 ENG 204
College Mathematics 4 MTH 101
Principles Of Mathematics 4 MTH 115
College Algebra 4 MTH 201
Baking Science 4 PBA 124
Baking Fundamentals 6 PBA 126
Introduction to Law and the Legal System 4 PLS 114
Legal Research 4 PLS 134
Legal Writing 4 PLS 144
Criminal Law 4 PLS 200
Estate Planning and Administration 4 PLS 214
Litigation 4 PLS 224
Real Estate Law 4 PLS 234
Domestic Relations / Family Law 4 PLS 244
Workplace Learning Credit

Credit for Workplace Learning

Sullivan University accepts credit recommendations made by the American Council on Education (ACE®) and the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS®) for military training, corporate training, licensures, and professional certifications. Credit recommendations made by ACE® and NCCRS® are evaluated on a student-by-student basis and are typically approved for transfer when equivalent to courses offered by Sullivan University. Credits earned by virtue of ACE® and NCCRS® credit recommendations are recorded as transfer credits on a student’s transcript and do not count toward GPA calculations. To see the list of ACE-approved training, license and certifications, visit the National Guide to College Credit for Workforce Training at  To find out more about the National College Credit Recommendation Service, visit

Prior Learning Portfolio

Prior Learning Portfolio

Sullivan University students may challenge undergraduate courses for which they believe they possess the requisite knowledge and skills by completing prior learning portfolios that demonstrate mastery of the learning outcomes required for each challenged courses. Students will complete either a for-credit or non-credit course on how to build a portfolio and may submit one or more portfolios to challenge Sullivan University courses.

What do I have to do to submit a prior learning portfolio?

1. Determine which course(s) you wish to challenge.
2. Meet with your academic advisor to verify that the course(s) are part of your degree/certificate/diploma.
3. Complete the online portfolio training course.
4. Create the portfolio
5. Pay the portfolio evaluation fee ($250 per portfolio) and submit the portfolio.

How do I complete the portfolio training course?

There are two versions of the portfolio training course, a free, non-credit, self-paced course and a 4 credit-hour elective course.  Both are offered fully online each quarter and both train you how to develop a portfolio to challenge a course in which you already possess the knowledge and skills required for the course.

The free course can be completed in a few weeks, does not show up on your transcript, and cannot be used as part of your course load (e.g. for financial aid purposes).  The 4 credit-hour course (PLA 301X) is a “regular” 11 week course with assignments and due dates and is part of your course load and counts as elective credit toward graduation on your transcript. The tuition for PLA301X includes the evaluation fee for your first portfolio. Your admissions officer should be able to help you sign up for either course.

How is the portfolio evaluated?

A member of the faculty who teaches in the discipline and has been trained in portfolio evaluation and the CAEL Standards (above) will be given your portfolio to evaluate.  If it is determined that your portfolio demonstrates that you have the knowledge and skills equivalent to someone who has successfully completed the course, then the evaluator recommends that you be given credit for the course. An administrative officer of the University then approves the portfolio evaluation and the course and credit is added to your university transcript.

How is portfolio credit listed on my transcripts?

Credits earned through assessment of a prior learning portfolio are recorded on a Pass/Fail basis and are reflected on a student’s transcript as “P” to indicate a passing score. Credits earned through prior learning portfolios do not count toward GPA calculations.

Can I submit more than one portfolio?

Yes.  You may submit multiple portfolios for up to 75% of your degree, certificate or diploma program.

How does PLA differ from what diploma mills do?

Most diploma mills award degrees based on “life experience” or “work experience” that is not independently verified to see whether the student actually knows anything. The diploma mill may ask for a resume or may ask the student to take an online open book test that anyone could pass.  In reality, as long as your check clears, you can get a degree from a diploma mill.  However, going this route has ruined the careers of thousands of individuals whose bogus degrees have been exposed.

In contrast, one receiving credit by PLA will have either: 1) taken a nationally recognized exam, such as CLEP, from an authorized testing center; 2) received credit for corporate or military training or certifications that have been evaluated previously by the American Council on Education and are recognized nationwide; and/or 3) created a portfolio documenting prior knowledge and skills in a particular course that is reviewed by an expert in that field based on criteria from The Council on Adult and Experiential Learning (

How do I learn more about PLA Portfolios?

For questions or further information regarding prior learning portfolios, contact Dr. Anthony Piña at

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