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Credit for Prior Learning

CLEP (College Level Examination Program


Clep provides the opportunity to earn college credit by the successful passing of tests in general or subject areas. These tests measure learning acquired outside as well as in the classroom setting. Students must be in good academic standing and must get approval from

an academic advisor

in the CPLS before taking a CLEP exam in order to ensure the applicability of CLEP credits to a CPLS program. A listing of tests and passing scores is available in the CPLS office (Room 117 BL). Saint Joseph’s University is a national CLEP testing center. Please contact the CPLS for CLEP test dates.

ELAP (Experiential Learning Assessment Program)

ELAP provides currently enrolled students in good academic standing the opportunity to validate college level knowledge acquired through study, work and other life experiences. The College of Professional and Liberal Studies offers a portfolio assessment process by which prior learning can be documented and assessed for credit. ELAP applicants may apply for portfolio assessment credit for experiences that are similar to the course content for a particular course.

Portfolio assessment involves compiling pertinent information into a portfolio and submitting it for faculty review. It is a process that enables students to demonstrate college-level learning from experiences gained outside the classroom. The process of portfolio assessment requires that students demonstrate knowledge equivalent to a college-level course. It is the student’s responsibility in consultation with an academic advisor to identify courses(s) for which he or she would like to document identification of appropriate courses. Portfolio assessment is not "an easy way to earn credits," but rather a formal process that enables students, through careful reflection and documentation, to prove learning equivalent to a SJU course. Approval of all ELAP requests is at the discretion of each academic department. This process, including portfolio preparation and academic department/faculty review, may take about 2 to 3 months for completion. If the student is awarded formal credit as a result of the assessment, that credit will be recorded on the student’s permanent record as a transfer course with a grade of TR. ELAP applications may be made after a student has been fully accepted and has enrolled in the College of Professional and Liberal Studies.

Credit cannot be earned in Business courses through the ELAP Program. However, an academic department may administer a challenge exam for certain business courses.

Challenge Tests

Students making satisfactory academic progress may also earn credit by passing departmental challenge tests to determine competency in a given subject in which the student has gained knowledge equivalent to that learned in a classroom. Students must receive a grade of


or better in this test to be awarded credits. Applications for challenge tests may be made after students have been fully accepted in the CPLS. Department chairs must approve all challenge requests. Comprehensive written challenge tests, prepared and evaluated by CPLS faculty, can be arranged by contacting the Associate Dean. Credit will be recorded on the official transcript with the grade of



A student may not challenge, CLEP, or ELAP a course that the student is presently taking. A student is required to drop or withdraw from the course, before seeking to challenge, CLEP, or ELAP the course. A student cannot normally earn credit by exam in a course when he/she has completed a more advanced course in the same subject. If a student fails a challenge exam, the student must wait six months before challenging the same course again. Business courses can only be challenged once.

Students are encouraged not to use a CLEP test or ELAP for any of the last 10 courses before graduation.

Awarding of Credit by Assessment through American Council on Education (ACE).

A student may receive credit for courses evaluated and approved for college credit by the American Council on Education (ACE). Listings of ACE approved courses and credit recommendations are contained in two publications:

A Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Forces


The National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs.

Credits received are subject to the same policies as those of any other transfer credit.

Military Credits

Credit may be granted for college-level coursework earned while in military service if it is recommended by the American Council on Education (ACE) and if the course meets the content equivalently of a three-credit course offered at Saint Joseph’s University. ACE recommendations for 1-credit courses may not be transferred to fulfill a three-credit course requirement. Credit is not awarded for Basic Training or for vocational/technical level recommendations. To initiate an evaluation of military credits, a student must request an official military transcript from their respective service branch.

You may access additional information regarding military transcripts and ACE evaluations at