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

ProviderExamCreditsEquivalent Course
DSSTPrinciples of Financial Accounting4ACT 101
CLEPFinancial Accounting4ACT 101
CLEPIntroductory Business Law4BUS 204
DSSTBusiness Law II4BUS 405
CLEPChemistry4CHM 211
DSSTPrinciples of Public Speaking4COM 214
DSSTIntroduction to Computing4CSC 106
CLEPInformation Systems and Computer Applications4CSC 106
DSSTManagement Information Systems4CSC 300/400 elective
CLEPPrinciples of Microeconomics4ECO 201
CLEPPrinciples of Macroeconomics4ECO 202
CLEPCollege Composition & Composition Modular (2 courses)8ENG 101/ENG 102
DSSTTechnical Writing4ENG 204
CLEPAmerican Literature4ENG 244
CLEPAnalyzing and Interpreting Literature4ENG 244
CLEPEnglish Literature4ENG 244
DSSTPrinciples of Finance4FIN 324
DSSTBusiness Ethics and Society4HRL 340
CLEPAmerican Government4HST 274
DSSTIntroduction to Business4MGT 114
CLEPPrinciples of Management4MGT 114
DSSTPrinciples of Supervision4MGT 274
DSSTHuman Resource Management4MGT 284
DSSTOrganizational Behavior4MGT 344
CLEPPrinciples of Marketing4MKT 114
CLEPCollege Mathematics4MTH 101
CLEPCollege Algebra4MTH 201
DSSTFundamentals of College Algebra4MTH 201
DSSTPrinciples of Statistics4MTH 202
CLEPCalculus4MTH 300
DSSTIntroduction to World Religions4PHL 244
DSSTEthics in America4PHL 464
DSSTIntroduction to Law Enforcement4PSA 160
CLEPIntroductory Psychology4PSY 214
DSSTLifespan Developmental Psychology4PSY 274
CLEPHuman Growth and Development4PSY 274
CLEPIntroductory Sociology4SOC 214
Course-Level Bypass

Course-Level Bypass Examination

Currently, bypass examinations are offered by several academic units. Credits earned through course-level bypass examinations 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 examination 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 examinations.

ExaminationCreditsEquivalent Course
Principles of Accounting4ACT101
Keyboarding Essentials4AOM 105
Basic Culinary Theory4BFS 104
Basic Culinary Skills Laboratory6BFS 106
Garde Manger Theory4BFS 214
Garde Manager Laboratory6BFS 216
Advanced Culinary Techniques Laboratory4BFS 264
Food Service Sanitation4CAM 134
Basic Nutrition4CAM 174
International Cuisines6CAM 256
Food and Beverage Control4CAM 284
Computer Concepts4CSC106
Computer Applications 14CSC 118
Computer Applications 24CSC 218
Composition 14ENG 101
Composition 24ENG 102
Advanced Writing4ENG 204
College Mathematics4MTH 101
Principles Of Mathematics4MTH 115
College Algebra4MTH 201
Baking Science4PBA 124
Baking Fundamentals6PBA 126
Introduction to Law and the Legal System4PLS 114
Legal Research4PLS 134
Legal Writing4PLS 144
Criminal Law4PLS 200
Estate Planning and Administration4PLS 214
Litigation4PLS 224
Real Estate Law4PLS 234
Domestic Relations / Family Law4PLS 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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