Credit for Prior Learning

Dominican University of California acknowledges that college-level learning may be gained from sources other than the traditional college classroom, i.e., prior learning. Students may apply a maximum of 45 units toward completion of the undergraduate degree through the options from prior college-level learning. Units are applied toward a bachelor's degree based on required documentation of the college-level learning. Units awarded through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) cannot duplicate units earned through transfer courses or through courses completed at Dominican.

Such learning must:

  1. Be related to the educational goals of the student
  2. Be consistent with the educational goals and programs of the University. The student applying for credit must be admitted and matriculated at the University. For most PLA, the process for obtaining credit for prior learning may be initiated as soon as the student has registered for his/her first semester of coursework
  3. Be documented by submitting official results of PLA Experiential Learning portfolios by April 22 in order to participate in commencement
  4. Be documented by submitting proof of registration for Excelsior CLEP, and/or DSST exams by April 22, test(s) to be taken before the following December in order to participate in commencement. Participation in commencement with 6-8 outstanding units includes PLA units.

Units earned through prior learning assessment are recorded as proficiency units and receive the grade of 'P' (Pass) and may be lower or upper division units. These units are not units for which a student is registered since no tuition is paid for them and they are not counted toward financial-aid eligibility requirements. Pass/Fail and credit-proficiency units are not included in the computation for graduation honors. Lower division units earned through prior-learning options are added to any other lower division units transferred from a regionally accredited college or university and are not subject to the rule of a maximum number of lower division transfer units. Units earned through prior learning options are not subject to the policy that 28 out of the last 36 units must be taken at the University.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Excelsior College Examinations, and DANTES Subject Standard Test (DSST)

A student may earn college credit by earning the ACE-recommended score or higher (minimum 'C' (2.0) level of proficiency) on any examination offered through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) of the Educational Testing Service. The Excelsior College Examination Program (formerly Regents PEP), or the DANTES Subject Standard Test (DSST). A student may earn 3 to 12 units (depending upon the specific test) for each examination passed with a satisfactory score. A maximum of 45 units may be earned from a combination of CLEP (lower division units), Excelsior College examinations, and DSST examinations (lower or upper division units). Students must submit an official CLEP, Excelsior College, or DSST transcript to the Registrar's Office to receive credit. Prior Learning Assessment exams do not apply to the 30-unit residency requirement, but do count as residency units after the first 30 units of residency have been met. See the Transfer Credit Policies section of this catalog.

Challenging Courses

A student may earn up to 12 units of credit by challenging courses offered by the University provided the student has not previously taken or audited the course. Not all courses can be challenged. Students should check with the Registrar's Office to determine if a particular course can be challenged. A Course Challenge form including the course title, the date on which the challenge examination (or other required activity) will be completed, and the signatures of the student, the Chair of the Department, and the Dean of the School must be filed in the Registrar’s Office by the end of the third week of the semester in which the examination will be taken. A challenged course must be completed before the student’s final semester. An administrative fee is charged per unit challenged. Appropriate units will be granted upon successful completion of the challenge and will be considered a part of the 30-unit residency requirement. Students may not petition or receive partial course credit for challenged courses. Up to a 12-unit maximum of challenged coursework may apply toward residency. Exceptions to the 12 units maximum may be made in the case of students with majors with unusually large numbers of skills-based units.

American Council on Education (ACE)/National Program on Non-Collegiate Sponsored Instruction (PONSI)

The American Council on Education (ACE) and the National Program on Non-Collegiate Sponsored Instruction (PONSI) review courses offered through corporate, industry, government, and military organizations. These courses may receive lower or upper division transferable credit according to ACE/PONSI recommendations. These units may fulfill elective requirements with a limit of 30 units of transfer credit. See the Transfer Credit Policies section of this catalog.

Experiential Learning Portfolio

Students may earn up to 30 units of University credit for college-level learning which is documented through the satisfactory preparation of Experiential Learning Portfolios. Such learning must:

  1. Have occurred after the student’s completion of secondary school
  2. Have occurred at least one year prior to the creation of the portfolio

A student is required to enroll in ENGL 3442 Critical Inquiry and Reflective Writing to prepare the Portfolio. In the Experiential Learning Portfolio a student documents the learning situation, describes and analyzes the learning experience, and demonstrates the knowledge and practical skill competencies as required by the awarding academic department(s).

University credit is granted only for college-level learning (minimum ‘C’ level of proficiency) which links the prior learning experience with the theoretical constructs of the appropriate academic discipline. Credit for experiential learning cannot be awarded for duplicate courses completed through other learning sources. Prior to enrolling in ENGL 3442, a student must meet with an academic advisor to determine the applicability of Portfolio units within the student’s degree plan, confirm the availability of evaluators, and discuss the proposed topic areas. No guarantee regarding the availability of Portfolio evaluators is made. Evaluation is dependent on departmental resources.

A student may complete two submissions of the Experiential Learning Portfolio. The first is prepared in ENGL 3442. The instructor reviews the Portfolio, awards a grade for the course, and forwards the Portfolio for evaluation by the appropriate Dominican University faculty. Up to 30 units of academic credit (usually 1-3 units per portfolio) is awarded by course number, title and academic department and may be lower or upper division. The proficiency units earned through Portfolio may be applicable as electives and for some General Education areas.

The second Portfolio submission may be prepared independently or in conjunction with an optional course, ENGL 3443 Portfolio Redevelopment. The second submission may include new experiential learning essays or revisions of essays as recommended by the evaluator(s) of the original essays.

It is recommended that a student planning to use the Portfolio process enroll in ENGL 3442 at least three semesters prior to expected graduation. This gives sufficient time for the preparation and evaluation of two portfolio submissions.

Experiential Learning Credit is posted to the student’s transcript as proficiency units after the student has completed the 30-unit residency requirement.

Eligibility for the courses ENGL 3442/3443 and for the Experiential Learning and Assessment program require that students have a minimum of six years of life experience since completing high school and completion of ENGL 1004 Expository Writing or an equivalent.

Approved Areas for Experiential Learning Essays

For discussion of how life experience can be incorporated into a specific topic area, please contact the Director of Prior Learning Assessment.

Anthropology Languages
Anthropology Language Translations
Art/Art History Music and Performing Arts
Art Portfolios Composition
Art History Dance Performance Past or Present
Art Historical Subjects Drama Performance Past or Present
Employment Experience at Art Historical Settings Music Performance
Ensemble Work
Biology Philosophy
Biology Ethics
Cancer Logical/Critical Thinking
Female-Male Physiology, Sexuality and Sociology Philosophy
Infectious and Non-Infectious Diseases
Business Psychology
Business Counseling and Communication
Employee and Labor Relations Death and Dying
Employee Development and Training Parenthood
Inventory Control Psychoactive Drugs: Use, Misuse, and Abuse
Merchandising Psychology of Personal Trauma and Crisis
Negotiation and Mediation Psycho-Social Aspects of Abuse
Office Management Psycho-Social Dimensions of Aging
Organization Development and Change Small Group Interaction
Personal and Family Finance  
Personnel Administration Religion
Production/Operations Management Christian or Catholic Theology
Property Management Cross-Cultural Study of Religion
Small Business Management Religion
Supervision Selected Topics in Biblical Studies
Theory and Practice of Sales  
Communications Social and Cultural Studies
Communications/Journalism Cultural Anthropology
  Interpersonal and Sociological Aspects of Family and Marriage
Education and Teaching Social and Cultural Studies
Education and Teaching Sociology of American Multiculturalism
  Sociology of American Subculture
Health Sciences Sociology of Sport
Health and Wellness Sociology of Volunteer Organizations
Stress Management and Effective Coping Women and Work
Job-Related Project in History
Participation in an Historical Event