Prior Learning Assessment

Prior Learning Assessment (P.L.A.) is a mechanism whereby students who have acquired substantial experience in a non-traditional environment have an opportunity to challenge whether such learning is equivalent to a course(s) offered at the University. Note: P.L.A. will only be available to a student if sufficient evidence is provided that the course material was acquired outside a diploma program at a University. A request to challenge a course that has already been attempted at university will not normally be granted.

P.L.A. is not open to students who simply wish to challenge a course. Students will be required to sign a contract stating that the learning occurred other than in a university course. Not all courses are appropriate for challenge. Each department has the responsibility of determining which of its courses may be subject to a P.L.A. challenge. The challenge process could include one or more assessment methods, including standardized tests, written and/or oral examinations, performance evaluations, interviews, and portfolio assessment. All these assessments require that the individual demonstrate, to a qualified faculty member(s), that pre-determined knowledge and skills have been acquired.

The maximum number of credits a student can challenge is 5.00 for diploma programs, or 30% of the certificate requirement for open learners. Credits acquired through P.L.A. will be assigned credit status (CRD) and will be on the official transcript.

Students wishing to challenge a course(s) should contact Enrolment Services to obtain an application form. A request must include a clear statement as to the course(s) the student wishes to challenge, an explanation of how the knowledge necessary for the course was gained, and any relevant supporting documentation to validate the claim. Requests will be forwarded to the appropriate department(s) for evaluation.

If a challenge has been granted, the department will determine the nature of the assessment and the deadline by which time the work must be complete. Upon completion of the assigned task(s), the department will inform the Office of Registrarial Services as to the student's success or failure of the challenge.

Those students:

  1. whose application for a challenge is reviewed by the faculty members of the department concerned, and who are subsequently denied the opportunity to challenge or
  2. who fail a challenge examination,

may appeal the decision first to the chair of the department, and subsequently, if necessary, to the dean of the college.

Chapter VI Schedule of Fees outlines the applicable fees for Prior Learning Assessment.