School of Continuing and Professional Studies > Academics > Office of Prior Learning Assessment

Office of Prior Learning Assessment

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Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) recognizes that college-level learning can occur outside of the college classroom. Professional and life experiences are valuable for demonstrating high level learning. PLA also describes the process in which college credit is awarded for prior experience. Students have multiple options for PLA:

PLA Projects
DePaul students demonstrate college-level learning through a PLA project. This PLA project typically includes an academic paper in which the student explains how their experience is college-level. This explanation is supported by scholarly sources. When possible students supplement these projects with appropriate, relevant evidence (certifications, work product, etc.) For more information about PLA Projects, follow this link

Topic Guides for select topics are available to help students create PLA Projects.

Undergraduate students in the Individual Focus Area (or other competence degree programs scheduled to end 2023), should follow this linkPLA for students in the BAIFA or other competence degree programs will not be accepted after October 26, 2022.

Pre-approved PLA
Some professional certificates and Language Testing Institute Writing Proficiency Exams (for fluency in languages other than English) have been pre-approved for PLA credit and do not require a full PLA project. For more information about Pre-Approved PLA, follow this link.

Proficiency Exams
SCPS Students who would like to receive PLA credit for Quantitative Reasoning or Critical Thinking must take a proficiency exam. Students in Professional Studies programs may also receive PLA credit for Essay Writing by successfully passing a proficiency exam. ***BAIFA students are no longer eligible to take the proficiency exams.*** For more information about Proficiency exams, follow this link.

ACE Credit
SCPS recognizes credit from students who have non-military American Council on Education Transcripts. This opens up a range of professional training to a quicker PLA process. For more information contact the OPLA Assistant Director (

CLEP and ACE Military
Acceptance of College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and ACE Military Credit is managed at the university-level by the Transfer Articulation Center

SCPS has agreed to adopt the same articulations for CLEP exams as the rest of the university for students in the course-based professional studies degree programs.

Contact OPLA ( with questions and for additional information

Students who would like to use PLA credit to advance their degree progress should consider completing RPL 101. This class helps students construct PLA projects and develop a plan to complete future PLA projects independently. Read the current syllabus, here. There are topic guides to help students develop PLA Projects for certain experiences including

* Faith, Self Community

* Family Life

* Leadership

* LGBTQ+ Communities

* Social Justice

* Professional Communication

Students may also contact the PLA Advisor ( with questions about using PLA in their degree plans and/or for assistance with creating and submitting PLA projects.

OPLA also recommends that students completing course match and competence-based PLA projects schedule sessions with a writing tutor at the University Center for Writing-based Learning. In particular, OPLA recommends that students ask for help reviewing integration and citation of academic sources. Online appointments are available. For more information, follow this link

Federal Financial Aid (Title IV) can not be used to pay PLA processing fees. However, there is a PLA scholarship that students can apply for in order to cover the PLA processing fee.

You can find out more information about PLA policies (including the amount of PLA Credit you can apply to your degree, the RPL 101 fee waiver, the appeals process) here.