Prior Learning Portfolio Program

Prior Learning Portfolio Eligibility & Guidelines

The WSU Prior Learning Portfolio Program provides the opportunity for matriculated undergraduate adult students to complete a portfolio demonstrating knowledge that can be mapped to specific courses at Worcester State University. The portfolio is evaluated by university faculty members to determine the awarding of credit. 

Adult Students 

  • Only undergraduate matriculated students in good standing at Worcester State University with the designation of “Adult Learner” can access the Prior Learning Portfolio option. 

Definition of Adult Learner

  • Any matriculated student at Worcester State University who is 24 years old or older. 
  • Any student who is 24 years old or older at the point of admission to Worcester State University.
  • Any student, regardless of age, who is admitted to Worcester State University with less than 12 college credits and who has been out of high school for 3+ years. 


  • Students may request a Prior Learning Portfolio in any area of undergraduate work at Worcester State with some exceptions.  Academic departments have the ability to indicate courses in their departments that are not eligible for the Prior Learning Portfolio Program.
  • Major capstone courses can not be requested through the Prior Learning Portfolio Program.
  • Students may request a Prior Learning Portfolio to fulfill: 
    • free electives and major electives 
    • major, and minor requirements 
    • LASC requirements.
  • Students may not request a Prior Learning Portfolio for a course if they have previously taken the course and failed it or if a CLEP option is available and accepted at the institution. 


  • Students must have fulfilled the Writing I (WR1) and Writing (WR2) sections of LASC before starting the Prior Learning Portfolio option.


  • Students may request up to 18 credits through Prior Learning Portfolio. 
  • Awarded credits are considered institutional credits and are recorded in transcripts as “P”.
  • Awarded credits are not calculated in GPA or towards pass/fail total credits.

Deadlines and process 

  • If course credit has been denied, students may revise and re-submit their portfolio for a second review.  Students have 15 business days from the day they were provided with the denial letter to re-submit their portfolios. No additional reviews are allowed.
  • Portfolios are reviewed once in the fall semester (deadline is last day of September) and spring semester (deadline is the last day of February). If deadlines fall on a weekend or the university is closed, the deadline will be postponed to the first workday following the last day of September or February. 
  • Students have to pay the per credit Prior Learning Portfolio Fee before they can submit their portfolio for review. 
  • The professional letters of reference must be dated and signed and submitted directly to the Portfolio Coordinator from the source. 
  • Students might be required to produce originals of any copies of supporting documentation submitted for visual verification. 

Faculty Evaluators 

  • At the start of each academic year, no later than the second Monday after the first day of classes, the Portfolio Program Coordinator will contact Department Chairs for a list of full-time faculty interested in serving as portfolio Faculty Evaluators. 
  • The Portfolio Program Coordinator will compile and maintain a list of active portfolio Faculty Evaluators and will provide training to all new Faculty Evaluators.
  • Faculty Evaluators will have 15 business days to provide credit recommendations.
  • Faculty Evaluators will be compensated for their evaluation of the portfolio. 

Minimum Prior Learning Portfolio Contents 

  • Cover page 
  • Table of contents 
  • Certificate of attendance to the Portfolio Workshop 
  • Certificate of payment of portfolio fees (non-refundable) 
  • Copy of degree audit and Portfolio Request to Pursue 
  • Abstract 
  • Resume 
  • Syllabus for courses requested (obtained from a faculty member or area department at Worcester State University). If the course is part of LASC, the syllabus should include learning outcomes in alignment with the content area learning objectives 
  • Narrative and Skills inventory (resources from the annotated bibliography should be integrated into this section) 
  • Supporting documentation/Evidence of Prior Learning: performance evaluations, reports, certificates of attendance to workshops/trainings, etc. 
  • Two professional letters of reference sent to the program directly from the recommenders  
  • Annotated bibliography: 10 sources per course requested. The resources should be integrated into the narrative and skills section.

Prior Learning Portfolio Process 

  • Undergraduate students interested in pursuing the Prior Learning Portfolio option complete an online self-paced Portfolio Workshop to understand the portfolio policies and the portfolio creation process. 
  • Students identify the courses they wish to request through their portfolio and complete the Portfolio Request to Pursue. Students meet with their major academic advisor to ensure that courses fit their degree completion plan, and the portfolio coordinator to receive approval (through signatures). 
  • Students produce all the necessary documentation and narratives for portfolio submission.
  • Students pay portfolio review fees (a portfolio assessment charge is added to the students’ accounts before payment for the bursar’s office to process the charge). 
  • Students submit a portfolio. 
  • The Portfolio Coordinator sends the portfolio to the faculty evaluator(s)for review. 
  • Faculty Evaluators will return the Rating Rubric and Decision Letter to the Portfolio Coordinator within 15 days business days. 
  • Students are notified of the results and provided with the reviewers’ feedback.
  • If course credit has been denied, students may revise and re-submit their portfolios for a second review. Students will have 15 business days from the day they were provided with the denial letter to re-submit their portfolios. No additional reviews will be allowed. 
  • The Portfolio Coordinator sends the award letter to the Associate Vice President for Continuing Education for final approval. 
  • The Associate Vice President for Continuing Education submits an award letter to the Registrar’s Office for credit posting.