Undergraduate Policies

Credit for Prior Learning


This policy identifies the sources of collegiate and non-collegiate learning outside of registered courses that may be considered for credit at Thomas Jefferson University and sets forth the protocol for awarding credit from those sources.


Matriculation: Enrolled in a degree or certificate program at Thomas Jefferson University.

Residency Requirement: Credits that must be earned at Thomas Jefferson University via coursework.

Transfer Credit: Credits awarded for college-level courses previously taken and awarded with grades of C or higher from other institutions of higher learning with accreditation recognized by Jefferson. See Transfer Credit Policy.


Thomas Jefferson University awards academic credit for previous learning achieved through multiple sources including collegiate and non-collegiate settings.

In all instances, prior learning is assessed to determine achievement of outcomes based on minimum university standards. 


This policy applies to all undergraduate programs; exceptions noted within policy.


Source of Learning & Measurement

Advanced Placement (AP)

College credit may be awarded to students who participated in the advanced placement program sponsored by the College Examination Board in high school and who took and achieved specific levels of learning on the Advanced Placement Exams. A detailed list of AP equivalencies and required scores are updated annually and identified in the policy entitled “Advanced Placement (AP)”.

Challenge Exam

Students may be awarded college credit who provide demonstrated evidence of course content proficiency.  Upon approval of the student’s academic advisor and payment of the associated fee (sum of 1 credit) a faculty content expert will design and test the student’s mastery of course content. Students who demonstrate proficiency on the examination receive college credit and grade of “credit”, which does not impact GPA. Students who are unsuccessful receive a grade of “no credit” which does not impact GPA.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

College credit may be awarded to students who participated in the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams prior to matriculating into the University and achieve a minimum score of 50 on the specific area tests. Students in CPS programs may request a maximum of 6 additional credits after matriculation.

DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST)

College credit may be awarded to students who participated in the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) exams prior to matriculation into the University and in accordance with the American Council on Education (ACE) credit recommendations.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

College credit may be awarded to students who participated in the honors IB program in high school. Students must have completed the honors level courses with a minimum score of 5.

Licenses, Certifications, & Training

College credit may be awarded to students who have earned certain licenses, certifications, and training. Examples include licensed paramedic, Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP), and PA Municipal Police Officer Basic Training. Appropriate documentation must be provided. 

Military Experience

College credit may be awarded to students with documented military training courses and experience in accordance with the American Council on Education (ACE) guidelines.

Examples of acceptable documentation for military experience include, but are not limited to: Joint Services Transcript (JST) or Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) Transcript.

Prior Learning Portfolio

Portfolio assessment is an academic process wherein students articulate learning acquired through work or life experiences orally or in writing. A subject matter expert evaluates each portfolio. This faculty evaluator determines if the learning shown and supporting documentation meets the learning objectives of the identified course. Credit is awarded with a score of 70% or higher for a maximum of 12 credits. Students in CPS programs may pursue prior learning portfolio credits only after matriculation.

Transfer Credit

See Transfer Credit Policy.

Requirements for Credit Consideration

  • All potential sources for Credits for Prior Learning must be presented by the student during enrollment process and assessed by the University prior to matriculation (see CLEP and Prior Learning Portfolio exceptions for students in CPS programs)
  • Collegiate and non-collegiate experience requires outcomes and level of achievement measurement to be considered for credit at the University
  • Students may be required to provide artifacts such as design work, final papers, academic portfolios, or other evidence of achievement for credit consideration
  • Credit granted are in the form of credit only and do not include letter grade or factor into Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • Score reports and transcripts will be reviewed for credit award by Office of Admissions prior to matriculation and by the Academic Success Center/Academic Advisor after matriculation

Limitations to Credit for Prior Learning

  • Only credits that apply toward a student’s program of study will be considered for awarded credit at the university. Excess credit beyond need for the degree will not be considered
  • Credit will only be awarded once regardless of the number of majors, minors, concentrations
  • Credit for Prior Learning does not count toward the meeting the Residency Requirement with the exception of “Challenge Exam”; see Residency Requirement Policy
  • Credit for Prior Learning will not be considered for failed course or course in progress
  • Students may not pursue Credit for Prior Learning in their final term.