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Learning Based Experience

Hard work pays off.

There is a lot you may have learned outside of a traditional classroom and we believe you should receive credit for that knowledge. Read below to determine if your life experience is eligible for either credentialed learning or prior learning.

Credit for Credentialed Learning

This option provides credit for a range of opportunities; recognition of military and workforce training, national examinations, and portfolio development. Earning credit for credentialed learning saves you both time and money by making your life experience count as credits toward your degree.

Credentialed Learning Details

If you can answer yes to one of the following questions, you can receive credit through Credentialed Learning:

Do you have an appropriate score on an AP, IB, or CLEP exam?

Look on the official score report from the testing agency or from your DANTES transcript and compare it to this list of scores that William Woods accepts. If your score meets our criteria, have the official scores need sent to the William Woods University Registrar’s office. There is a $75/credit hour transcription fee.

Were you able to skip ENG 101 due to your ACT/SAT sub score?

If you completed and passed ENG 102 with a grade of C or higher, you can earn credentialed learning credit for ENG 101. There is a $75/credit hour transcription fee. However, if you are planning to apply to veterinary or medical school upon earning your degree from William Woods, discuss this with your advisor. Many veterinary and medical schools are now requiring a grade for ENG 101 on a student’s transcript.

Were you placed into ASL II or Spanish II based on a skills assessment?

If you completed and passed ASL/Spanish II (or in some cases Spanish III) with a grade of C or higher, you are eligible for credential learning credits for the class(s) you skipped. There is a $75/credit hour transcription fee.

Did you serve in the military?

We are proud to welcome Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve service members, and Veterans and we thank you for your service.

William Woods University values the specialized training our military and veteran students gain throughout their service and the exceptional talent and extraordinary experience they bring to the William Woods campus. As such, we follow the American Council on Education's, "Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services" to ensure you receive appropriate transfer of credit for military education. Please check the American Council on Education's webpage for military training that you may be able to transfer into your William Woods degree program.

The University also accepts credit earned through CLEP/DANTES exams for military and veteran students.

Do you have some type of certificate (a programing language, responding to emergencies, CPA, professional certification of another type…building, electronics, etc.)?

Provide a copy of the certificate and indicate the credit you would like to receive. William Woods University will evaluate your certificate and if approved, you will be responsible for the $75/credit hour transcription fee.

Did you attended a Law Enforcement Training Institute?

The police academy must be certified by the Missouri Department of Public Safety Peace Officer Standards and Training program (POST). Out of state programs will be evaluated on a case by case basis. It’s possible that you can receive 15 credits that can be applied to your general elective credits. To see if you can apply any of these credits to specific courses in the Criminal Justice Department, you should contact the Department Chair of the Criminal Justice Department. A $75/credit hour transcription fee is applied to all credits.

Credit for Prior Learning

We award credit for verifiable learning gained through work experiences, volunteer work, in-service training, adult or continuing education, or involvement in professional organizations. We are proud to be a Missouri recognized leader in providing educational opportunities to adult learners for more than 25 years.

If you are currently a student at William Woods enrolled in a minimum of 3 credit hours of coursework you can petition to receive Prior Learning Credits. The learning must have taken place after you graduated from high school, it must be academically equivalent to college-level learning (developmental, remedial, or self-help courses are not applicable) and the credits may only be earned for courses listed in our Academic Catalog.

If you are a working adult interested in Prior Learning Credits, you may participate in the Prior Learning Process. Awarded credits will be transcripted once enrolled. Application to the university is required to begin the process. 

Prior Learning Process

Step 1: Choose your course/courses

Peruse the William Woods University Academic Catalog and choose the course/courses for which you feel you have acquired the knowledge and skills covered. Then email Angelette Prichett, Associate Dean of Academic Student Services ( Tell her you want to petition for Prior Learning Credits and would like the objectives for the course/courses.

Step 2: Create your portfolio

Your written portfolio must include examples and evidence of how you have met EACH of the objectives of the course. For each example provided, explain how it shows evidence of meeting the objective. Some examples may meet more than one objective, but it must be explained how the example shows that each of the multiple objectives have been met. Examples may include:

  • A link to a web site you built and maintain
  • Personal budget, loan application(s) and completed tax forms
  • A detailed business plan
  • A job description for the position wherein you acquired the knowledge and skills of the objective. Also, include a letter from your supervisor indicating your employment and the execution of those skills.
Step 3: Ask for an evaluation

Once you have chosen your course/courses and written your portfolio(s) complete this form (link coming soon) which indicates that you wish for your portfolio(s) to be evaluated by a faculty member in the area where the course is taught. Prior to the portfolio being assigned to a faculty member for evaluation, you will need to pay the $200 assessment fee. This fee pays the faculty member for their time and feedback. The fee includes ONE portfolio review, and if necessary ONE re-write (for the same course) review. The fee will NOT be refunded if credit is not granted.

From the date the course is assigned to a faculty member for assessment, a decision will be returned within 14 days. (the only exception will be the week between Christmas and New Year wherein the faculty member will be allowed 21 days).

If credit is not granted the student will be able to submit ONE rewrite and include anything that the reviewer indicates was missed the first time. Students will have 14 days from the date they learn that credit was not awarded (this is based on the date on the notification email is sent) (the only exception will be the week between Christmas and New Year wherein the student will have 21 days)to submit ONE rewrite. The course will be assigned again to the faculty member and another 14 days will be allowed for review.

If credit is granted, the student will then pay $75/credit hour for transcription of the course(s).


Is there a fee associated with applying for prior learning assessment?

Yes. Though credits themselves cannot be purchased, you will need to pay the $200 assessment fee. There is a $75 fee for each undergraduate credit hour transcripted for credentialed learning and $100 fee for each graduate credit hour transcripted for credentialed learning.

Is there a limit to the number of credits for prior learning that I can earn?

Yes. William Woods limits the number of hours granted through any combination of the above to 30 credits for undergraduate students and 9 for graduate students. In addition, no more than 12 credits will be granted for prior learning gained through vocational endeavors such as practical, industrial, mechanical or applied sciences.

Does it matter how much time has passed since I completed the prior learning for which I’m seeking credit?

Though there is no specific time limit on how long ago your prior learning was achieved, the learning experiences demonstrated and verified through the Prior Learning process must have taken place following the student’s graduation from high school. For more information see above requirements.

What if credit for prior learning is denied following review?

If credit is denied, the fee for the review of the Petition must be paid before the student can enroll in the next semester and/or obtain official transcripts.

What if I disagree with the Evaluator's assessment?

Students may request reassessment of a submitted petition. Evaluators may ask for an addendum at this time. Only one appeal per petition can be made. No partial credit will be awarded.

Are the contents of the petition kept confidential?


Can the credits for prior learning that I earn count towards financial aid or housing requirements?

No. Our policy regarding Prior Learning Assessment is that credits awarded through PLA do not fulfill residency requirements nor do they meet eligibility for financial aid or loan deferment.

Are there any other prerequisites before applying for PLA credits?

All students applying to earn credit for prior learning must be currently enrolled and pursuing a degree at William Woods University and must have completed 12 credit hours, must have taken and received credit for English 102 (either from William Woods or on a previous transcript which has been submitted to William Woods) and must have a current GPA of 2.0 or higher.

Are there any other ways I can obtain college credit outside of PLAs?

Below are a few ways you may earn credit. Each have different requirements. Please contact William Woods University for more information.

  • Advanced Placement Program
  • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
  • Dual Credit (DC)
  • Dual Enrollment (DE)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • Credit by Exam Summary

See a complete list of exam scores for credit for each of these exams. »