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Prior Learning Assessment

Your Journey Matters.

Learn how your past experience can help you earn credit towards your degree.

Every student has a different story. At Biola University, we are committed to helping you use the work and life experiences you’ve gained to earn credit towards your undergraduate degree. Through our Prior Learning Assessment, students can earn credit for past work experience, military training, ministry, volunteer experience, or independent learning through a PLA portfolio, ACE evaluated courses and occupations, CLEP standardized tests, AP/IB recognized exams, and/or Biola challenge exams.


How does a portfolio work?

Once you’ve enrolled in one of Biola’s degree programs, you will work with an advisor to determine your eligibility.

  1. Get connected. Meet with a PLA Specialist and/or make an appointment to see if your experience is eligible.
  2. Create a portfolio. You’ll take a portfolio development course to help you prepare a portfolio to be reviewed and assessed by qualified faculty.
  3. Earn college credit. If your portfolio is approved, your Biola transcript will be updated to reflect that you have successfully met the requirements for course(s) eligible for Prior Learning Assessment.

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Learn How Much Credit You Can Earn


Prior Learning Assessment Guides

You can check out our downloadable PLA Guides to see courses you can earn credit for through PLA. If there are courses not listed in the PLA guides that you’d like to inquire about, contact the PLA specialist. You are eligible to earn credit for courses outside of your major if you need general elective credit.


Frequently Asked Questions

How much credit can I earn towards my Biola degree?

  • Up to 25% of the degree may be fulfilled through Biola’s PLA (excludes external standardized examinations such as ACE, AP, CLEP, IB, etc.).

What are the steps for earning credit through a PLA portfolio?

Meet with an advisor

  • First discuss the potential to fulfill academic credit through PLA with an advisor at Biola (e.g. admissions counselor, academic advisor).

Submit the PLA Portfolio Application Form.

  • Application approval from the PLA coordinator and program director.

Create a portfolio

  • Enroll in the course GNST 106 - Portfolio Development for Prior Learning Assessment.
  • Submit the Official PLA Portfolio Submission Form to the Office of Educational Effectiveness, including the PLA Portfolio fee of $150.
  • After taking the Portfolio Development for PLA course one time, students may submit subsequent portfolios for additional credit to fulfill other course requirements.
  • The PLA Portfolio Application is required for subsequent portfolios, but the GNST 106 course is only required to be taken one time.

Assessment of the portfolio

  • A qualified faculty assessor will evaluate the PLA portfolio and determine if the portfolio presents sufficient evidence that a student has fulfilled the relevant course learning outcomes.
  • Faculty assessors hold the authority to determine any of the following outcomes:
    • Approval – Student fulfills a course requirement and earns credit associated with that course (typically, 3 credits per course/portfolio).
    • Approval – Student has a course requirement waived from requirements, but a student is still required to fulfill necessary units to graduate.
    • Needs clarification – Students will be provided comments and questions regarding the portfolio and are given 2 weeks to provide sufficient clarification to the faculty for reevaluation.
    • Denied – Student has not provided sufficient evidence of fulfilling course learning outcomes.
  • Approval will be displayed on the student transcript as course requirement fulfilled with credits earned or course requirement waived.
  • The process for PLA credit must be completed prior to the beginning of your last semester.
  • Learn How Much Credit You Can Earn

Are there additional course requirements?

Students interested in earning PLA credit will enroll in GNST 106 — a course offered online each semester which guides the student through completion of the PLA portfolio process. GNST 106 may be waived by the appropriate department chair.