Prior Learning Assessments

Clayton State University recognizes that learning can take place in a variety of settings other than the traditional classroom. Within guidelines established by the University, credit may be earned for some classes by examination or experience. These non traditional sources of credit include nationally recognized standardized tests, certain military training, selected professional certifications, and in some cases, special examinations or portfolio options developed at the University. Information about possible credit by examination or experience is available in the appropriate academic school.

Prior learning assessment (PLA) involves the recognition of credit worthy activities which include:

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Clayton State University awards credit for several CLEP subject examinations. Some programs may limit CLEP credit. (The University does not accept the CLEP general examination.) CLEP examinations are administered by the Testing Center approximately twice per month. Scheduled times and other information are available in the Center. Students should consult with their academic advisors before exam registration.

Foreign Language Achievement Testing Services (FLATS)

Clayton State University accepts the Foreign Language Achievement Testing Services (FLATS) credit from Brigham Young University for 59 other languages not covered by CLEP. See the Testing Center for details. Students should consult with their academic advisors before exam registration.

Advanced Placement Program of the College Board (AP)

Clayton State University accepts the following AP exams. Students seeking credit must have their official scores sent directly from the College Board to the Office of the Registrar. (The University does not accept scores forwarded by high schools.)

AP Exam Score Course Credit Credit Hrs
Art 2D Design 3-5 ART 1104 3
Art History 3-5 ART 2301 or ART 2302 3
Biology 3-5 BIOL 1111/BIOL 1111L & BIOL 1112 7
Calculus AB 3 MATH 1113 3
Calculus AB 4-5 MATH 1501 4
Calculus BC 3 MATH 1501 4
Calculus BC 4-5 MATH 1501 & MATH 2502 8
Chemistry 3 CHEM 1151/CHEM 1151L 4
Chemistry 4 CHEM 1211/CHEM 1211L 4
Chemistry 5 CHEM 1211/CHEM 1211L & CHEM 1212/CHEM 1212L 8
Comparative Government & Politics 3-5 POLS 2401 3
Computer Science A or AB 3-5 CSCI 1301 3
English Lang/Comp 3-4 ENGL 1101 3
English Lang/Comp 5 ENGL 1101 & ENGL 1102 6
English Lit/Comp 3-4 ENGL 1101 3
English Lit/Comp 5 ENGL 1101 & ENGL 1102 6
Environmental Science 3-5 SCI 1901J 3
European History 3-5 HIST 1111 or HIST 1112 3
French Language 3 FREN 1001 & FREN 1002 6
French Language 4-5 FREN 1001, FREN 1002, & FREN 2001 9
Human Geography 3-5 GEOG 1000A 3
Macroeconomics 3-5 ECON 2105 3
Microeconomics 3-5 ECON 2106 3
Music Theory 4-5 MUSC 1011 3
Physics 1 3-5 PHYS 1111/PHYS 1111L 4
Physics 2 3-5 PHYS 1112/PHYS 1112L 4
Physics B 3-5 PHYS 1111/PHYS 1111L & PHYS 1112/PHYS 1112L 8
Physics C Mechanics 3-5 PHYS 2211/PHYS 2211L 4
Physics C E&M 3-5 PHYS 2212/PHYS 2212L 4
Psychology 3-5 PSYC 1101 3
Spanish Language 3 SPAN 1001 & SPAN 1002 6
Spanish Language 4-5 SPAN 1001, SPAN 1002, & SPAN 2001 9
Statistics 3-5 MATH 1401 3
US Government & Politics 3-5 POLS 1101 3
US History 3-4 HIST 2112 3
US History 5 HIST 2111 & HIST 2112 6
World History 3-5 HIST 1111 or HIST 1112 3

Credit by examination or experience may be available for a number of other programs, including the following:

  • As a Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOC) institution, Clayton State accepts Armed Forces training (including DANTES and USAFI). The University consults the American Council on Education (ACE) Guide and considers its credit recommendations. Clayton State University, however, reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of military training for credit at the University. Students seeking credit for Armed Forces experience and training must supply documentation to the Office of the Registrar for evaluation.
  • In certain instances, credit by examination is available through validation of previous registered nursing experience and nursing specialty certification. Additional information can be obtained through the School of Nursing).
  • Other Clayton State programs may develop validation examinations and procedures in order to grant credit for competencies learned in non-academic courses.

All credit awarded for prior learning must meet the academic standards and policies of Clayton State University, the University System of Georgia (USG), and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). As with all curricula, the development and oversight of all PLA options will be the responsibility of the academic department for the course for which credit is awarded, under the oversight of the corresponding college or school, university faculty committees, and the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

The following regulations apply to credit by examination or experience:

  1. Credit by examination or experience may be awarded only in areas that fall within the regular curricular offerings of the University, and any credit awarded must be appropriately related to the student’s current educational goals.
  2. A student must meet all prerequisites for a course before credit by examination or experience can be awarded for that course.
  3. All PLA’s must have outcomes that align with the Clayton State course for which the student is awarded credit.
  4. PLA for knowledge gained through learning using alternative methods (experiential or online) will be evaluated for possible credit by examination by the appropriate academic department. Acceptable methods for awarding credit in these cases are using CLEP, ACE, AP, FLATS, USAFI, DANTES, or challenge exams for existing courses. These must be approved by the academic department for the course being approved and by their college/school.
  5. Transfer PLA courses that do not have a Clayton State equivalent must have learning outcomes of courses that are widely included within the same major by peer institutions. Such decisions must be approved by the academic department for the course being approved and their college/school.
  6. PLA credit that is not transfer credit from a college or university (e.g. ACE, Dantes) may be awarded for a course not offered by CSU if the learning outcomes align with the outcomes of courses that are widely included within the same major by peer institutions. Such decisions must be approved by the academic department for the course being approved and their college/school.
  7. The format and guidelines for new portfolio PLA options proposed by academic departments must be approved by the Academic Policies Committee (APC) and Faculty Senate. Once a PLA format is approved, its application to individual courses will be approved by the academic department and their college/school.
  8. Nationally recognized, standardized PLA options (e.g. CLEP) and institutionally recognized challenge exams must be utilized before academic departments develop additional individualized assessments such as a portfolio option. Exceptions to this standard must be approved by the APC and the Faculty Senate.
  9. No more than 36 hours of PLA credit can be earned.
  10. Fees charged for assessment should be based on the services performed in the process and not determined by the amount of credit awarded. The fee for departmental challenge exams should be the same as fees for CLEP exams. The fee for portfolio assessments should be the same as the fee charged by the USG Adult Learning Consortium. Exceptions to these fees must be approved by the Academic Policy Committee and the Faculty Senate. Students should contact the testing center or appropriate departments for associated fees.
  11. Credit by examination or experience is not awarded for any course for which the student has previously earned credit or for which the student has already completed a higher course in sequence. (For example, a student with credit for MATH 1113 Pre-Calculus could not earn credit by examination for MATH 1101 Intro to Mathematical Modeling. The only routine exception to the sequence rule is for required courses in which a C or K or better is required for graduation. In such cases, a student may use credit by examination to override a D in the first course of a sequence.) All other exceptions must be approved by the academic department for which credit will be awarded.
  12. Although appropriate credit earned by examination or experience may be applied to meet graduation requirements, such credit may not be used to meet the minimum number of hours required “in residence” at Clayton State University. This regulation applies even if the credit by examination or experience is earned at the same time that the student is in residence for other courses.
  13. Credit by examination or experience is recorded on transcripts at Clayton State University by the symbol K. Grades of K do not alter the student’s semester, Regents’, or Institutional Grade Point Average (GPA).

Transient Credit for Clayton State Students

Currently enrolled Clayton State University students in good standing who wish to attend another institution on a temporary basis to take courses that will count toward their degree at Clayton State may request to do so as transient students with the advance approval of Clayton State and the other institution. Students wishing to take courses on a transient basis must apply to and be accepted by the other institution as a transient student. Prior to enrolling at the other institution, the Clayton State student must complete a Transient Request Form (available from the Office of the Registrar) and obtain approval. The transient request must be approved by the dean of the school offering the major and by the Office of the Registrar. Approval or disapproval is based on the administrator’s judgment of the appropriateness to the student’s academic program and availability of the course being offered at Clayton State. Ordinarily, transient status is granted for only one semester although exceptions may be approved in special circumstances.

Students who are required to participate in the Learning Support Program are not eligible for transient status until all program requirements have been completed. Students on F 1 visas are not eligible for transient status.

Credit for Career Courses

Typically, career associate degrees include approximately 35-45 semester credit hours (or equivalent) of career related courses in addition to general education (Areas A-E). Clayton State will award up to 38 hours of transfer credit for the career courses taken subject to the following considerations:

  1. Students whose career associate degrees include fewer than 38 hours of program specific courses will need to make up the difference with additional program related lower division courses at Clayton State. (A maximum of 38 hours of career courses will be applied to the B.A.S. degree regardless of the number of hours actually taken.)
  2. English courses lower than Business English and mathematics courses lower than Applied Technical Math (or equivalent) will not count in the 38-hour career core.
  3. Sometimes career courses can also count in Areas A-E. Students should be aware that such courses cannot be counted in two places, so if a career course is applied to Areas A-E, then the student may be required to take additional career work to equal 38 semester credit hours. (See item c. In Notes on Areas A-E.)
  4. For transfer students, career courses may be entered on the transcripts with a technology course prefix (TECH).
  5. Transfer students may be required to provide official course descriptions or other documentation of course content to facilitate determination of equivalency.