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Prior Learning Assessment Opportunities

For many Adult Degree Completion students, the fastest and most affordable way to complete the necessary degree requirements is through a combination of prior coursework (commonly referred to as transfer coursework), courses completed at Dominican, and demonstration of learning that has occurred outside the classroom (Prior Learning Assessment or PLA).

Adult Degree Completion Prior Learning Assessment Options

To graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Dominican, students must complete a total of 124 required units.

There are five ways for Adult Degree Completion students to demonstrate prior learning. A student can earn no more than 45 total units from PLA demonstration and the actual number and type of credits (General Education or electives) that can be earned will depend on the actual number and type of credits needed for degree completion as determined by the official transcript evaluation.

Experiential Learning Portfolios

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. A student is required to enroll in ENGL 3442: Critical Inquiry and Reflective Writing to prepare the Portfolios. In the Experiential Learning Portfolio a student documents the learning situations, describes and analyzes the learning experience, and demonstrates the knowledge and practical skill competencies as required by the awarding academic department(s). After completion of ENGL 3442 and the first Portfolio evaluation period, a second opportunity for Portfolio development is granted.


Standardized Exams

A student may earn college credit by way of standardized exams including Advanced Placement (AP), the College Level Examination Program (CLEP)*, the Excelsior College Examination Program (formerly Regents PEP), and DSST (formerly known as Dantes). A student may earn 3 to 12 units (depending upon the specific test) for each examination passed with a satisfactory score if the student has not received full college credit for that subject area. A maximum of 45 units may be earned from AP (lower division units), CLEP (lower division units), Excelsior College examinations (lower or upper division units), and DSST (lower and upper division units). Students must submit an official transcript to the Registrar’s Office to receive credit.



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.


Course Challenge

If eligible, 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. An academic adviser will determine eligibility.


Military Credit

Confirmation of active duty service must be made by either a DD214 (for retired military personnel) or a DD295 (for active duty personnel). Students must submit a DD214 or a DD295 to receive activity units for their basic military duty. (A maximum of 8 units, which includes physical education activity courses, will be applied toward graduation). Beyond credit for basic training, students may be able to receive credit for military coursework or training, if the American Council on Education (ACE) recommends it for credit.

*Dominican does not charge a CLEP administrative fee for military personnel or family.

For Prior Learning Assessment questions, please contact Lisa Haydon, Director of Prior Learning, at 415.257.1317 or


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