Bachelor of Professional Studies (B.P.S.)

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)


What is prior learning assessment?

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) defines Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) as one way that colleges and universities can evaluate a person’s college-level extra-institutional learning for the purposes of awarding college credit or advanced standing.


How does Winthrop use prior  learning assessment?

Winthrop recognizes that many adult learners have acquired significant knowledge through work experience and personal enrichment.  In order to determine if these experiences can be awarded academic credit, the Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) program has instituted a PLA Portfolio process. 

The portfolio method enables the student to demonstrate that a past learning experience warrants course credit.  The student assembles materials documenting past training experiences and composes an argument that they satisfy the learning outcomes of a specific course offering. Each PLA portfolio must correspond to a course that is currently offered at Winthrop. 


When do I submit my portfolio?

The PLA portfolio process will be covered in your first BPS course, PFST 301.  During the course, students will identify and document their learning experiences and assesses whether the option for obtaining credit by portfolio assessment is appropriate to pursue.  

If you decide to pursue PLA credit, your professor will assist you in documenting your learning experiences in a comprehensive portfolio. Once the portfolio is complete, it is then evaluated by faculty members from the relevant discipline – and course credit is granted or not based on that evaluation.


How many portfolios can I submit?

Students may create up to five portfolios for a maximum of 15 credits awarded by PLA.


Is there a fee for submiting a PLA Portfolio? 

Yes. Details are currently pending.