Earn College Credit for Prior Learning

You Deserve Credit for What You Already Know

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) at DeVry

With years of experience working in your field, you may already know how to do many of the things taught in our required classes. We think that knowledge should count toward your DeVry University degree.

Prior Learning Assessment allows students to earn college-level credit for prior learning outside a traditional classroom. The PLA program at DeVry University provides you the opportunity to demonstrate that you have mastered the competencies of one or more specific DeVry courses by creating a portfolio for credit evaluation.

The number of portfolios that can be submitted depends on the residency requirements of your academic program. Portfolio submission, evaluation and documentation is administered by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) through its LearningCounts program.

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How Prior Learning Assessment Works

Learning happens in many places outside of the traditional classroom—and you could potentially earn college credit for it. For an overview of PLA, watch this video.

Prior Learning Assessment Step By Step

  1. Find a DeVry course
    Find a DeVry course that relates to your previous experience and knowledge and fits into your degree program. Your advisor can also assist you with identifying an appropriate course.
  2. Talk to your student support advisor.
    Discuss with your advisor whether you are a good fit for the Prior Learning Assessment program. Confirm with your advisor that this course is PLA-eligible and fits into your degree program, enabling you to earn credit for prior learning. This step will ensure you have satisfied the DeVry University residency requirement or have enough required DeVry courses remaining to satisfy the requirement after PLA credit has been awarded. Your advisor will provide you with an application to complete. Once you’ve completed it, the advisor will contact you to discuss your eligibility. If approved, your advisor will provide you with the Authorized PLA Copy of the terminal course objectives to reference as you prepare your portfolio.
  3. Take the online portfolio-building course.1
    Complete Developing Your Portfolio for College Credit before submitting your portfolio. This online, self-paced class consists of 8 modules that walk you through the steps to developing your Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio.
  4. Create a portfolio that showcases your knowledge.
    The goal is to demonstrate how your previous work and life learning meet the course objectives. There are many types of learning that can be assessed in a Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio, including learning from:
    • Work experience and job skills
    • Employer training programs
    • Military service
    • Independent study
    • Volunteer or community service
    • Open source courseware study or other self-study
    • Other training or skills
  5. Submit your Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio for evaluation.
    CAEL faculty members with expertise in your field from across the country will evaluate your learning portfolio and recommend whether you earn credit for prior learning. In approximately two weeks, you should receive an email informing you whether your portfolio has been approved for credit.

Are You Eligible?

If you're an actively enrolled DeVry University undergraduate student studying in the U.S. who has demonstrated basic English proficiency, and have met program residency requirements or have enough required DeVry coursework remaining to satisfy the residency requirements, you may be able take advantage of this program (see full policy for details Opens a New Window.). Transfer students must have requested transfer credits from all previously attended institutions before applying for the Prior Learning Assessment program.

Questions? Check out our PLA FAQs to learn more.

Interested in the Prior Learning Assessment?

1Successful completion of the "Developing Your Portfolio for College Credit" course does not guarantee credit will be awarded for submitted portfolios. Submission of portfolio does not guarantee credit will be awarded.
2We recommend trying the complimentary module first as there are no refunds once you purchase the course.