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Alternative Credit Options

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

To find out if you are a good candidate for Prior Learning Assessment, click here.

Click here for PLA registration form.

Ursuline College offers several alternative credit options that allow you to earn college credit outside of the traditional classroom setting. In keeping with Ursuline's personal approach to education, we recognize your unique learning experiences by providing you with the opportunity to receive credit for what you already know. You can earn academic credit by examination through CLEP and/or our Test-Out options. Through Portfolio-Based Assessment, you have the opportunity to receive credit for what you have learned through employment, volunteer service and/or personal experiences. Finally, you may be eligible to earn college credit for formal military and/or workplace training that has been evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE).

A few features of Ursuline's Prior Learning Assessment options include:

  • Fast track your path to degree completion.
  • Earn a maximum of 43 semester hours.
  • Significantly reduce your overall tuition expenses.
  • Be rewarded for your prior accomplishments.

Please refer to the Ursuline College Undergraduate Catalog 2017-2019 for additional details regarding all these options.

CLEP - College Level Examination Program

CLEP is a national, standardized testing program that is recognized by colleges all over the country.

  • Ursuline College accepts most of the 29 subject exams as elective credits and some can be substituted for specific Ursuline College requirements.  Click here for a list of CLEP exams accepted by Ursuline College.
  • A minimum score of 50 is required to earn credit for an exam.
  • CLEP tests are not permitted during your final semester at Ursuline.
  • CLEP exams may not be taken for a class that a student has failed at Ursuline and needs to repeat.
  • If you don't pass the CLEP exam, you are eligible to retake that exam again in 6 months.
  • Each CLEP test costs $85.00 to take with an additional testing site fee that varies by location.  To post the credits earned to your transcript, an additional $10.00 fee is charged to your account after the official score results are received by Ursuline College. 
  • Preparation for taking a CLEP exam:
    • Discuss CLEP possibilities with your advisor.
    • Do not take General Exams; we accept only Subject Exams.
    • Do not take the essay portion of any test.
    • Create an account on the CLEP website to register for an exam and pay your test fee. Ursuline is not a testing center. 
    • When you go for your testing session, be sure to indicate that you want your scores sent to Ursuline College (College Code: 1848).
    • STUDY RESOURCES: Annual CLEP Official Study Guide published by the College Board (also available for short term loan at Ursuline's library). While other publications are available, you should make every attempt to review material provided in the College Board's study guide. Use the website collegeboard.com to find test descriptions and other valuable resources and information about preparing for CLEP. Also go online to ursulinelibrary.wikispaces.com/CLEP for other resources in our library.
    • A series of free online courses in some CLEP subject areas is available through the Modern States Education Alliance. 


As a validation of prior learning, Ursuline College also offers students the option of taking challenging exams based on specific catalog courses.  This option is primarily intended for students who took a similar course at a non-accredited institution, or who took a class that didn't transfer in. It is also for students with substantial knowledge in a particular subject.

  • All currently enrolled, degree-seeking students are eligible to test out of authorized courses.
  • Students are not permitted to take a test-out during their final semester.
  • Students are not permitted to register for a test-out and the course simultaneously.
  • A minimum grade of "C" or better (76%) on the test is required in order to earn credit.  A grade of "P" (passing) is posted on the transcript and is not calculated into the GPA.
  • If you pass, you are assessed a $35.00 fee per credit hour ($105 for a 3-credit course)
  • If the attempt is not successful, there is no opportunity to re-take the exam.
  • Preparation for taking a test-out:
  •     o    Discuss test-out possibilities with your advisor.
  •     o    Contact URSA's Office of Academic Support (440.449.2049) to register for and schedule the test-out.
  •     o    Check the College website for study guides.
Portfolio-Based Assessment

Through Portfolio-Based Assessment (PBA), you have the opportunity to receive credit for what you have learned through employment, volunteer service and/or personal experiences.  Students are eligible to register for PBA if they have successfully completed at least one semester/term at Ursuline College with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.

  • Credit is awarded for learning that has occurred outside the traditional classroom setting for which the student has not received previous college credit.
  • Credit earned may not replace Ursuline Core requirements.
  • Credit may be earned for major course requirements with department chair approval.
  • Credit may be earned as general elective credit.
  • You must show depth of knowledge by covering a variety of issues within the topic and you must show theoretical knowledge of the topic.
  • You will have one calendar year to complete the PBA; also it must be completed 6 months before you graduate.
  • There is a non-refundable $100 registration fee for the PBA. If credit is earned, the registration fee is applied to the first credit hour. 
  • If you receive credit for your portfolio, you are charged $100 per credit hour.
  • Students may earn a combined total of 20 credits through PBA, military training, and/or workplace training.

Military Training

In order for a student to receive credit for military training in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, the student must have a Joint Services Transcript (JST) that can be accessed by the college registrar.  Joint Service Transcript for Air Force military transcripts, the USAF, through the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF), provides a transcript detailing ACE recommended credit.  Ordering a CCAF Transcript  Both of these transcripts are reviewed and credits are awarded by the college based on the American Council on Education (ACE) recommendations posted on the transcript

  • Credits cannot replace Ursuline Core requirements, but may be used as elective credits. 
  • If the department chair determines that a student's military training duplicates a course required in the major, s/he may approve that training to replace the course.
  • All JST credits must be posted to the students' permanent record before they register for their final semester of classes.
  • No posting fee is required.
  • Students may earn a combined total of 20 credits through PBA, military training, and/or workplace training. 
 Workplace Training

If you work for a company that requires that you attend formal professional development workshops or training, you may be eligible to earn credit through Workplace Training. This option requires that your training has been previously reviewed by the American Council on Education (ACE) and that you submit a transcript from the ACE Registry of Credit Recommendations.

  • Credits cannot replace Ursuline Core requirements and major requirements, but may be used as elective credits. 
  • There is a $10.00 fee per course to post the credits to the student's permanent record if the transcript is submitted to the college after matriculation.
  • Credits must be posted before the student registers for their final semester of classes.
  • Students may earn a combined total of 20 credits through PBA, military training, and/or workplace training.