Prior Learning Assessment

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a way for students to earn UC credit for knowledge gained outside of the traditional classroom. PLA involves the identification, documentation, assessment and recognition of learning acquired through formal and informal study. This may include work and life experience, training, independent study, military experience, volunteering, travel, hobbies and family experiences. There are different ways to earn PLA credit.

How can I earn PLA credit?

There are several ways to earn PLA credit:

  • Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB): This option does not require a PLA Application. AP and IB scores are typically submitted to UC during the application process. Please visit the UC Admissions web page for additional information.
  • External Certification: This option does not require a PLA Application. External (non-UC) Certifications should be submitted directly to your program office. Please contact your Academic Advisor regarding External Certifications.
  • Credit by Exam:
    • External Exam: This option does not require a PLA Application, but may require examination fee(s), depending on the type of exam. External Exams include CLEP, DSST and other exams that are created by external (non-UC) organizations. Please visit the specific exam web site for registration information. Please visit the UC Admissions web page for CLEP and DSST Credit Keys.
    • Internal Exam: This option requires a PLA Application and Fee of $180.00. Internal Exams are created by UC academic departments and allow students to earn PLA credit by achieving a certain minimum score on the exam. Once you have submitted your PLA application and fee, via this web site, the Testing Services office will contact you to schedule your exam.
  • Portfolio Review: This option requires a PLA Application Fee of $180.00. A portfolio is a collection of documents that demonstrates evidence of knowledge gained by the student. This documented evidence of knowledge must be aligned with the learning outcomes of the course for which the student is seeking PLA credit. The following types of documents may be used to demonstrate the student's prior learning: letters from employers clearly stating skills learned from job duties, certificates of completion of workshops or trainings or of industry competencies, lists and documentation (links, screenshots, etc.) of completed projects and/or any other documentation required by the student's program or examples that the student feels demonstrates their knowledge of the course learning objectives.

Which UC courses are eligible for PLA credit?

Please click on the "Submit PLA Application" button to see a list of PLA eligible courses. If you do not see your course listed, you may email the PLA office to request the course.

Please Note: If you experience technical problems with the PLA application system, please email the PLA office.