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Prior Learning Assessment

At Loyola, we recognize learning acquired from experiences outside a formal classroom setting. Students often come with extensive professional and other experiences; in many cases, these translate into advanced standing or exemptions from certain academic requirements and coursework. We offer students the opportunity to earn academic credit through Prior Learning Assessment. Credit can be attained through one or more Prior Learning Assessment pathways: College Level Examination Program, Departmental Credit by Exam, Credit by Industry Credentials, and Portfolio Assessment. Using a combination of these pathways, a student can earn a maximum of 30 credits toward their degree. The Undergraduate Bulletin has more detailed information.

Prior Learning Assessment Benefits

  • Saves time and money
    Credit for what students have previously learned may reduce the number of required courses helping to make college more affordable
  • Earn your degree faster
    By removing repetition of learning, credit for prior learning reduces degree completion time
  • Validate prior learning through work and other life experiences
    Recognize and value the learning students have gained through work and life experiences.

Do you have learning experiences outside the traditional classroom?
Complete this form to learn how you can take advantage of this opportunity

Prior Learning Assessment Form

Credit by College Level Examination

For students with extensive experience and knowledge in particular fields, Loyola offers credit for successful completion of two examinations: the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST). Eligible students may earn up to 30 credits through these testing methods.

College Level Examination Program Logo

CLEP: Administered by the College Board, the CLEP examination allows students to illustrate a mastery of college-level introductory topics, including subjects such as financial accounting, American government, natural sciences, and much more. Students must achieve the minimum passing score to be eligible for credit at Loyola.


DSST: This exam is focused on non-traditional learners, including adult students and military personnel. Achieving the minimum required passing score in exams that cover topics such as human resource management, principles of public speaking, and organizational behavior can grant students credit for their knowledge.

Credit by Departmental Examination

Students with extensive experience and knowledge in particular fields may ask the associate dean of a subject area for an exam on the content of a specific course or evaluation of an academic experience related to a specific area.

Credit by Industry Credentials

Working professionals may have received training for knowledge or skills equivalent to those taught at Loyola outside a formal academic framework and have credentials documenting this training. Business and Industry training credit can be awarded based on recommendations by the American Council on Education (ACE) National Guide to College Credit for Workforce Training. ACE transcripts can be requested through Credly or from the appropriate training organization for evaluation by the Prior Learning Assessment Program Coordinator and the Associate dean of the subject area.

Portfolio Assessment

At Loyola, we're dedicated to helping working adults advance their careers through flexible degree programs that align with their goals and schedules. For those who are returning to school with a repertoire of professional experience, portfolio assessment offers students an opportunity to earn credit for life and work experience. Students build a portfolio that demonstrates what they have learned through professional and prior life experience. Portfolio assessments are conducted by Loyola specially trained faculty, who will match your portfolio against “learning objectives” for Loyola courses.

For students seeking undergraduate degrees, Loyola will award up to 24 portfolio credits. Graduate students can earn up to 6 portfolio credits. Undergraduate students can earn an additional 3 elective credits for completing CITY 1000, Prior Learning Portfolio Development Course.