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Policy Title: Prior Learning

Boise State University Policy #3040
Effective Date: July 1984
Revised: July 2001; January 2008

To establish policy for students to receive credit for prior learning.

Applies to all credit for prior learning sought by students.

Responsible Party:
Provost’s Office, 426-1202


  1. Policy Statement
    This policy allows awarding credits for knowledge acquired from external study or experience that is equivalent to the learning outcomes of traditional college courses. Sources of this validation may include testing, military or other training programs, and the prior learning portfolio. Testing for which the university awards credit includes, but is not limited to Advanced Placement Examinations (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Proficiency Examination Program (PEP), DANTES, challenge examinations, and credit for prerequisites not taken. College level learning experiences that cannot be translated into credit by the programs listed above can be evaluated according to the portfolio process.
  2. Evaluation of Credits
    Credit for prerequisites not taken and for portfolio evaluation is possible at the undergraduate level only, contingent upon department approval. Credit for challenge exams is possible at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, contingent upon department approval. Credit for prior learning may be awarded for practica (excluding student teaching), contingent upon department approval. Academic departments determine specific course equivalencies, evaluation procedures, and credits awarded. BoiseStateUniversity generally will follow the guidelines provided in The ACE Guide to Educational Credit by Examination and The ACE Guide to Military and Other Training Programs. A department may choose, with justification, to award credit in a manner different from that recommended in the guides and will publish a current listing of credit equivalencies.
  3. Maximum Number of Credits
    The maximum number of credits earned in portfolio credit cannot exceed one-fourth (1/4) of the total credits required for a degree or certificate. The maximum number of credits that can be applied toward a degree from all forms of prior learning, including portfolio credit, cannot exceed one-third (1/3) of the total number of credits required for graduation.
  4. Graduation Residency Requirements
    Credits awarded for any form of prior learning cannot count toward the graduation residency requirement.
  5. Recording Prior Learning Credits
    A student must be enrolled at Boise State University when applying for prior learning credits. The Registrar will transcript credits awarded through this policy after the student has successfully earned twelve (12) credit hours in regular classes at the university. All credits passed will be awarded with a grade of PASS, except for certain challenge credits, which at the discretion of the appropriate academic department, will be awarded a letter grade of C or better. Grades of D or F will not be transcripted nor will the credits associated with them. A course cannot be challenged to improve the grade.
  6. Fees for Prior Learning Credits
    Fees for credits applied for through prior learning will be set by the Registrar’s Office.