Credit for Prior Learning, Previous Coursework, or Work Experience

A common question we receive is whether a student can apply work experience, prior learning, or previous coursework to a current degree. The answer is, a student may be eligible to apply credit from previous coursework or work experience to a currently enrolled degree.

Previous Coursework at UWG

Coursework completed for a degree awarded at the University of West Georgia may be applied to a new degree, if the previously completed courses are the same as the currently enrolled degree. For example, if degree 1 required ABCD 7000 and currently enrolled degree 2 also requires ABCD 7000, then it may be applied toward the currently enrolled degree with program faculty approval.

The number of hours allowable will depend on specific degree requirements, but may not exceed 25% of the new degree plan of study and will be determined in consultation with the program director and approved by the Graduate Dean.

Coursework from a previously earned degree may only be applied once toward any subsequent degree(s). It should not compromise the integrity or rigor of the degree to which it is applied. If the program faculty approve, a petition must be submitted by the program faculty in WolfWatch.

Prior Learning or Work Experience

A student may request credit toward a graduate degree for extensive prior learning or work experience in an area that may meet the learning outcomes of a particular course if specific criteria are met. The amount of credit awarded from prior learning or work experience cannot exceed 25% of the total semester hours required for the degree and counts towards the 25% transfer limit. Additionally, the credit applied cannot exceed the course credit being replaced.

For example, suppose the program is 30 credit hours, a student request cannot exceed 7.5 credits assuming no other credit hours have been transferred or applied to the degree from another institution or prior coursework. Additionally, if the student is requesting two courses at 3 credit hours each, the total allowable credits applicable for prior learning or work experience is 6 credit hours.

There is currently no cost or fee associated with assessing prior learning or work experience.
  • The student must be enrolled in a graduate degree program.
  • The work experience must be reflected in the enrolled graduate program's curriculum.
  • The work experience must align with and exceed the learning outcomes of the course for which the credit will be applied.
  • The program faculty must evaluate the prior learning or work experience to determine the amount and applicability of credit. Examples of submissions for evaluation include, but are not limited to, a portfolio, comprehensive exam, or oral defense.
    • In the event a certification is being used for prior learning, the faculty may use the certificate as the assessment and may require additional documentation.
  • The program faculty determine how many, if any, credits will be awarded and how, or if, those credits will apply to the program.
  • Content taken through University of West Georgia's Continuing Education may qualify for Prior Learning Assessment.
  • Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading will be used for prior learning or work experience.
  • The assessments must be thorough and demonstrate how the work experience significantly exceeds the learning outcomes of the course.
  • Assessments include one of the following:
    • A portfolio with evidentiary sources outlining the work experience significantly exceeds the learning outcomes.
    • A written examination.
    • An oral defense.
  1. The student should discuss their prior work experience with their program or faculty advisor and determine which courses could apply.
  2. If the program or faculty advisor believe the work experience could exceed the learning outcomes of a particular class, the student should email and request PLA consideration.
  3. The Graduate School will collaborate with the academic program's department and assign a faculty member to work with the student.
  4. The faculty member and student will identify the course that is being assessed and agree on one of the following methods of assessment.
    • A portfolio that demonstrates the work experience significantly exceeds all the learning outcomes of the course.
    • A written examination evaluating how the work experience significantly exceeds the learning outcomes.
    • An oral defense assessing the student's work experience as it relates to the learning outcomes.
  5. The faculty member will evaluate the above assessment and either approve or deny the request for a student's work experience to be applied to a course.
  6. If approved, the Prior Learning or Work Experience Form must be signed and submitted to the Graduate School for approval.
  7. If the request is denied, the student has the right to appeal in writing to the Graduate School Dean.
  • Credit for prior learning or work experience may not be awarded for any course a student previously attempted or completed at UWG as a student or audited.
  • Credit cannot equate to more than the course being replaced. (e.g. 3 hours to 3 hours)