Prior Learning

Webster University’s students come to the institution from various backgrounds and experiences. As an international community united in the mission of providing high-quality academics, we’re committed to honoring those previous learning and training credentials.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

To receive credit for your nonacademic achievements, you must be able to show how these experiences demonstrate mastery of learning outcomes for a specific course. This is most often done through a formal portfolio, but it can also include approved equivalencies for military or corporate training, as well as thorough subject matter examinations.

Credit by Exam

The University also awards college credit for passing test scores on various exams such as CLEP, DSST, Excelsior College Exams, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and other designated 13th year international credentials. The following general policies apply for credit earned through external credit by exam:

  • A maximum of 32 credit hours will be awarded for first-year work earned through any combination of International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Placement (AP), Austrian Matura, French Baccalaureate, German Abitur, Netherlands VWO, Swiss Maturite, and other designated 13th year programs normally completed prior to enrollment at a University.
  • A maximum of 64 credit hours will be awarded for standardized tests (CLEP, DSST, Excelsior College Exams, Global Assessment Certificate), as this credit is normally designated as lower division.
  • Duplicate coursework is not permitted.
  • Credit awarded through exams does not affect a student's GPA.
  • Credit awarded through external exams does not count toward the University's residency requirement.
  • Degree-seeking students should speak with their academic advisor to discuss how the credit may apply toward degree requirements.

Click on the appropriate link below for policy and/or equivalencies for the selected exam or credential.

Getting Started

Before applying credit, you’ll need to apply for admission. We’re ready to assist you throughout this process. Once admitted, connect with your academic advisor about your career goals, available portfolio resources and how you might qualify for PLA credit.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Save Time and Money
Applying PLA credit to your degree plan can significantly shorten your degree-completion process. Fees for exams or portfolio completion are considerably less than the cost of tuition.

Gain Understanding
The PLA process can help you discover and better understand the many ways you learn and the ways you can apply learning throughout your life, in your jobs, your community involvement, or other activities outside the classroom.

Develop Your Resume
You can demonstrate to employers how your prior learning adds value to your skill set.

A portfolio is a collection of documents that show you have mastered the outcomes of a specific course. You may enroll in EDEX 1000 Educational Program Analysis to learn how to create your first portfolio. Webster faculty will then assess the portfolio for potential college credit. After that, you may create up to nine additional portfolios for credit.

No, the course is not required. Students may work on their portfolio(s) without taking the EDEX 1000 class and submit the portfolio(s) for credit. Students submitting a portfolio for credit outside of EDEX 1000 are enrolled in EDEX 1001 (a 0-credit-course with a charge of $350 for the portfolio review).

The fee for your first portfolio is covered through the completion of EDEX 1000, which is a 3-credit-hour course at our regular undergraduate rate, if you choose to enroll in the course. Otherwise, all portfolios are assessed a fee of $350 through enrollment in EDEX 1001, a 0-credit-hour course.

Yes, if that training shows mastery of a specific course. This can be done through the completion of a formal portfolio.

Webster has transfer credit and cooperative agreements with all major armed services organizations. The Office of Military Affairs website (webster.edu/military) has an extensive list of transfer courses, as well as other information to help veterans and active duty service members apply their military experience to Webster courses.

All undergraduate degree programs are available when utilizing prior learning assessment. Once you are admitted, you can work with an academic advisor to determine which program is the best fit and of interest to you. 

Webster has recently added a new Bachelor of Arts (BA) in General Studies, which is designed for students who need an efficient, flexible and custom-made pathway to an undergraduate degree. It is ideal for those who are interested in exploring multiple fields of study while maximizing prior learning and already-earned credits. Classes are available in a convenient, fully online format. Or blend your program by taking classes online and at one of our worldwide campuses.

Potentially, any undergraduate course can qualify for PLA if you can show mastery of the specific learning outcomes of that course.

Yes. Courses assessed and given PLA endorsement through the portfolio process will be placed on the student transcript as a Webster course, which would count toward residency.

Yes. Students may only submit a total of 10 portfolios for potential credit.

Yes, but seek advice from your academic advisor. It may be more beneficial to take the courses due to time constraints and your expectation toward the completion of your degree.

Students given a positive approval on their portfolio will see their work placed on the transcript as a Webster course. The course will be a pass/fail and will not count in the overall GPA.

PLA courses will appear as Webster courses on the transcript whether they are a required or elective course.

Yes, the EDEX 1000 Education Program Analysis courses is offered online.

Yes, as they will be on the transcript as a Webster course. However, students should check transfer policies of the other institution for eligibility.

Talk with your academic advisor to determine whether PLA is the right path in this case.

No. We’ve partnered with LearningCounts.org to provide outside assessment of prior learning. Fee structures will vary, and any credit awarded will be transferred to the university under our current transfer of credit guidelines. 

Speak with your advisor to determine if this option would be beneficial to you.

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