Prior Learning Assessment Programs and Policies

  • Advanced Placement and Credit/Exemption Examinations

    Courses taken by students before college admission under the Advanced Placement Program of the College Entrance Examination Board may be recognized by the award of college credit or by exemption from required subjects. Those who earn a grade of 3, 4, or 5 in the Advanced Placement Examination will be granted credit toward the number of credits required for graduation.

    For students who have had other unusual opportunities for instruction or have advanced in a given field, an opportunity to gain credit and/or exemption from a course is afforded through examinations. University Testing Services offers credit options through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP).

    Students have an opportunity to gain exemption or credit through successful completion of comprehensive examinations by requesting from the academic department an exam as a substitute for completing all the usual requirements of the course.

    A student who passes an exemption examination will be exempt from taking that course in his/her academic program. When a student receives credit for a course by examination, the credit will be applied to graduation requirements just as though the course had been taken. If a student is granted exemption only (no credits) from a course, he/she will be permitted to take a free elective in place of that course. This enables the student to specialize further, correct weaknesses outside the major field, build knowledge in an ancillary area, or be introduced to an entirely different area.

    Courses for which credit or exemption are awarded by examination will not be used in the determination of grade-point averages.

    Internship/Cooperative Education

    Students may apply for an internship if they have completed 60 credits and have at least a 2.0 GPA. Internship sites are normally located within a 500-mile radius of the campus. Overseas placements are located near an IUP center. Internships are available in state and federal offices; businesses at the local, state, and national level; state-related agencies; corporations; and foundations.

    Students may apply for a co-op if they have completed 30 credits and have at least a 2.0 GPA. Two experiences are required. Sites are national and international. Placements parallel those of the internship program.

    Because internships are viewed as an integral part of the student’s academic program, students who are interested in specific internship programs should consult with the internship advisor in the department of their major. A maximum of 12 credits is applicable to an undergraduate degree program from any combination of co-op and internship experiences.

    Prior Learning/Portfolio Assessment

    IUP offers several methods for earning university credit for college-level learning gained through work and life experience. Through University Testing Services, the College Level Examination Program offers standardized examinations in general and specific subjects. In addition, departmental examinations are available in specific areas on a limited basis.

    Where examinations are not available, portfolio assessment may provide the student with the opportunity to present evidence of learning for evaluation by a university faculty member. Through portfolio assessment, work and life experiences are evaluated to determine their appropriateness and applicability for university credit. Credits earned through prior learning assessment may not be applied toward university residency requirements for awarding of degrees. In addition, no more than one-half of the credits required for a student’s major may be earned by CLEP, departmental examination and portfolio assessment.


    IUP has authorized a policy for assessment of prior learning that took place outside traditional classrooms in a procedure known as Portfolio Assessment. It is particularly designed for adults with extensive documentable knowledge from work experience, travel, independent study, or other out-of-class experiences.


    1. Credit awarded through portfolio evaluation must conform to specific course titles listed in this catalog. Credit awards for general broad areas (block credit) will not be permitted.

    2. To request a portfolio assessment, the student must be currently enrolled at IUP. Credit awarded must be intended for use as part of a degree or certificate program.

    3. Each department will determine the maximum number of credits to be awarded for prior learning for its major. In no case will more than one-half of the major be earned through CLEP, challenge examinations, and other forms of prior learning assessment.

    4. Credits earned through portfolio assessment may not apply as residency credit for the purpose of awarding degrees.

    5. Credits earned through portfolio assessment may be awarded only as regular course credit.

    6. If a related examination is available through CLEP or if a challenge examination has previously been established for the course, a portfolio assessment of those credits will not be accepted.

    7. Acceptance of portfolio assessment credits by the department will be indicated by the signature of the chairperson of the department offering the course. The dean of the appropriate IUP college and the director of the Office of Extended Studies must also indicate approval.

    8. Students may qualify solely for undergraduate (not graduate) credit.

    9. The title of the course, the credits, and the indication that credit was earned through portfolio assessment will be recorded on the academic record.


    1. Download and complete the application. Send the completed application to the IUP Office of Non-Degree Admissions, 104B2 Sutton Hall, 1011 South Drive, Indiana, PA 15705. Be sure to indicate the course for which you would like credit.

    2. Arrange an appointment to meet with Kristen O’Hara, director of Continuing Education,  to discuss your plans to demonstrate your eligibility for this program.

    3. Upon approval of the application, a faculty member will be assigned to meet with you to review the requirements that must be fulfilled to earn credit for the selected course(s).

    4. Complete and submit your portfolio to Kristen O’Hara and pay the assessment fee (one-half regular tuition) for credits to the Office of the Bursar in Clark Hall.

    5. The Registrar will list the course title, number of credits, and an indication that credit was earned upon completion of the program.