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Receiving Transfer Credit for Prior Learning

Tulane School of Professional Advancement recognizes that many of its students come with extensive professional and other experiences that have the potential to translate into advanced standing or exemptions from certain academic requirements and coursework in both undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs. Credit for prior learning can be awarded for learning outside of the classroom, to include work experience, previous education, military or other post-secondary training, or by examination such as the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST).

Prior Learning Assessment

SoPA undergraduate students may receive up to 24 prior learning credits from portfolio assessment, examination, and military and post-secondary training. The total of all prior learning credit, to include transfer credit, cannot exceed 60 credits. Prior learning credit does not count toward the School's residency requirement, and may not be transferable to other divisions within Tulane. SoPA graduate students may receive up to 6 prior learning credits from portfolio assessment. Please consult your academic advisor for additional information about the process.

Transfer Credit for Undergraduate Students

SoPA will transfer only those undergraduate credits earned at another college or university that were accredited by a regional accreditation authority (such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) at the time the courses were taken. Up to 60 credits may be transferred from a regionally accredited college or university. For the General Legal Studies program, only courses taken at an American Bar Association-approved paralegal program may be transferred. Coursework from foreign universities will be referred to the World Education Services for evaluation and translation, if necessary. Accepting the transfer of credit from institutions not belonging to a regional accrediting body will be done at the discretion of SoPA.

Transfer Credit for Graduate Students

Graduate students who wish to transfer credits earned from other colleges and universities must have official transcripts sent directly to SoPA. SoPA will transfer only those credits earned at another college or university that was accredited by a regional accreditation authority (such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) at the time the courses were taken. Students in good academic standing may transfer up to 9 credits from a regionally accredited college or university. Coursework from foreign universities will be referred to the Center for International Studies for evaluation and translation, if necessary. The transfer of credit from institutions not belonging to a regional accrediting body is at the discretion of SoPA.

Work from such regionally accredited colleges is transferred at the value in credits/hours for which it was awarded if a grade of B or higher was earned and if an equivalent Tulane course exists.

Transfer Credit By Examination

For students with extensive experience and knowledge in particular fields, SoPA offers credit for successful completion of two examinations: the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST). Eligible students may earn up to 24 credits through these testing methods.

CLEP: Administered by the College Board, the CLEP examination allows students to illustrate a mastery of college-level introductory topics, including subjects such as financial accounting, American government, natural sciences, and much more. Students must achieve the minimum passing score to be eligible for credit at SoPA.

DSST: This exam is focused on non-traditional learners, including adult students and military personnel. Achieving the minimum required passing score in exams that cover topics such as human resource management, principles of public speaking, and organizational behavior can grant students credit for their knowledge.

Portfolio Assessment Credit

At SoPA, we're dedicated to helping working adults advance their careers through flexible degree programs that align with their goals and schedules. For those who are returning to school with a repertoire of professional experience, portfolio assessment offers students an opportunity to earn credit for life and work experience. Students build a portfolio that demonstrates what they have learned through professional and prior life experience. The portfolios are assessed by a qualified faculty member.

For students seeking undergraduate degrees, Tulane SoPA will award up to 24 portfolio credits. Graduate students can earn up to 6 portfolio credits. Undergraduate students can earn an additional 3 elective credits for completing PAPL 1000, Prior Learning Portfolio Development Course.

SoPA has partnered with the Council on Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), a nonprofit organization based in Chicago, to offer the portfolio course and portfolio assessment. Founded more than 40 years ago, CAEL is the most established supporter of access to postsecondary opportunities for adult students in the U.S.

Here is what you need to know about portfolio assessment at SoPA:

  • The portfolio development course, PAPL 1000, is offered through CAEL and will be Pass/Fail.
  • Students must have approval from an academic advisor or program director in order to have a portfolio evaluated.
  • Portfolio credit can only be earned for courses in one of SoPA's applied academic programs, including General Legal Studies, Business Studies, Emergency & Security Studies, Kinesiology, Digital Design, and Applied Computing.
  • Portfolio credit will not be permitted for capstone courses, practica, internship courses, and courses with labs.
  • Undergraduate students must have been enrolled at SoPA for at least one semester prior to registering for the portfolio assessment course, have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA, and have received credit for ENGL 1010 or an equivalent.
  • The maximum number of credits a student can earn may be subject to limits based on SoPA’s transfer credit maximum and residency requirement.
  • Graduate students wishing to develop and have a portfolio evaluated may audit the portfolio development course, or develop a portfolio through a self-guided process.

SoPA faculty have thoroughly reviewed undergraduate coursework in the applied majors to create master course syllabi with learning objectives. These learning objectives will make it possible for faculty to map the portfolios against course objectives to award students credit for courses in their majors. The portfolio assessments will be conducted either by SoPA full-time and adjunct faculty trained to do these assessments in their areas of expertise or by vetted contract experts hired by CAEL.

Why Does SoPA Offer This Opportunity?

Portfolio assessment represents our ongoing goal to meaningfully and rigorously expand access to postsecondary credentials for working adults. We want to work with you to find a path that fits your schedule and helps you succeed in the job market. You can schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to get started.

Military and Public Safety Training

SoPA students can be awarded up to 12 elective credits to individuals who are graduates of training academies for police officers, firefighters, and paramedics. Individuals applying for these credits must be able to document their graduation from a training academy and/or certification as a firefighter, police officer, or paramedic.

Learn more about transferring to SoPA, or, if you have any questions about credit for prior learning, please contact SoPA at (504) 865-5555.