ELAP (Experiential Learning Assessment Program)

The ELAP program provides currently enrolled students in good academic standing the opportunity to validate college level knowledge acquired through study, work and other life experiences. PLS offers this 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 (ELAP) 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 outside the classroom. Approval of an ELAP request is at the discretion of each academic department. This process, including portfolio preparation and academic department/faculty review, may take about two to three months for completion. If the student is awarded 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 PLS.

Policies and Procedures

  1. Students must be fully-accepted and matriculated into an Associate or Bachelor degree program to be eligible for ELAP.
  2. Students may not submit a portfolio assessment for courses for which testing options already exist (e.g., CLEP).
  3. To be considered for ELAP, your learning should possess the following characteristics:
    1. It must be measurable. This includes learning that has resulted in licenses or certificates for on-credit training programs, and training or experiences leading to demonstrable skills, such as CEU's.
    2. It must be both theoretical and practical. Learning which can be described as leading to both understanding and demonstrable skill is more likely to be deemed worthy of college credit.
  4. The student will develop the content of the portfolio under the guidance of a faculty mentor in the appropriate discipline.
  5. The department chair and/or faculty mentor in the appropriate discipline will evaluate the portfolio and make the decision about awarding credit.
  6. Students are encouraged not to use ELAP for any of the last 10 courses needed to complete degree requirements.
  7. The residency requirement for Associate and Bachelor degrees is fulfilled by the satisfactory completion of 10 courses at Saint Joseph's University Professional and Liberal Studies Program immediately preceding the date of graduation. The 10-course residency requirement may not be satisfied by credits earned through CLEP or ELAP (portfolio assessment). 

The current fee is $250; however, it is subject to change.  No refunds will be given for credits not awarded.


Suggested Portfolio Contents

A portfolio is an organized folder or binder of information compiled by a student, detailing past accomplishments, experiences and learning. Each portfolio will be unique, reflecting the competencies, knowledge, and experience particular to each applicant, but will follow a prescribed format. To help you organize your documentation in a clear, concise manner, a completed portfolio should consist of the following sections 

  • Completed ELAP application form.
  • Section I: Cover or Title Page, and Table of Contents
  • Section II: Resume
  • Section III: Course Syllabus
  • Section IV: Personal Statement, and Letters of Recommendation
    To help you determine whether your knowledge and abilities earned through experience qualify for academic credit, here is a list of self-evaluation questions for you to consider:
    • Do you have mastery of a knowledge or skill greater than mere rote ability?
    • The learning must be equivalent to college-level work in terms of quality.
    • It must have a subject matter or knowledge base. You should not expect to receive college credit for mere application of a manual skill or a narrowly prescribed routine or procedure.
    • Can you apply the knowledge or use the skill elsewhere?
    • The learning must have a general applicability outside of the specific situation in which it was acquired.
    • Can you verify it? You must be able to demonstrate to mastery in the field that you possess the learning, which you have claimed, and such an expert should be able to objectively measure and evaluate the learning, which has occurred.
    • Can you demonstrate that you know the relationship between what you have learned, your own goals, and your proposed degree program?
  • Section V: Supporting Documentation
    The provided documentation validates the experiences described in Section III. Documentation may include job descriptions and/or classifications, example/samples of work, awards, audiotapes and videotapes, citations or other examples of achievement recognized by others, books, papers or manuals written, edited or significant contributions made, experiences as a lecturer, panelist, instructor, trainer, etc., performance evaluations, professional licenses or certificates, dates and times of participation in the activity, letters or memos supporting participation, or anything else that would help to prove/confirm prior learning.

If interested  in prusing ELAP, please contact the PLS Advising Office for additional information.

You may not CLEP or ELAP a course that you are presently taking. You are required to “drop” or withdraw from the course, according to the catalog and schedule procedures, before seeking to CLEP or ELAP the course. You cannot normally earn credit by exam in a course when you have completed a more advanced course in the same subject.