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Prior Learning Assessment

PLA What Is Prior Learning Assessment

Some students have acquired skills and knowledge through prior learning experiences that may be equivalent to college-level credit.  Prior learning assessment (PLA) is available at SUNY Oswego in certain instances to determine if your prior learning meets the standards and requirements of college-level learning.  You must be able to provide evidence of college level learning that is aligned with courses that are part of your degree plan. 

What are the Advantages of PLA

Some students might be able to:

  • Save time. It can possible  shorten the time needed to earn a degree.
  • Save money. Less time to degree completion may possibly mean lower tuition costs.

Should You Consider PLA

  • Have you successfully completed workplace or other training programs?
  • Have you earned a professional license or credential?
  • Have you completed military training not evaluated for credit by ACE?
  • Do you have learning that corresponds to college courses?
  • Can you document your college-level learning?

What Is The Process To Earn PLA

The first step is to contact the Assistant Dean in the Division of Extended Learning.  The Dean can advise you if your prior learning might be eligible for college credit.  

SUNY Oswego Credit Bearing PLA

Credit bearing PLA can save you time and money.  Military experience and testing offer students opportunities to earn credit for what they already know.  Research from Council for Adult and Experiential Learning shows that among adult students, graduation rates are two and a half times higher for students with PLA credit.


Type Evaluated By How Attained Comments


  • Advanced Placement (AP)
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)

Students can apply a maximum of 30 testing credits within the maximum of 60 credits allowed from a two year school (i.e. Max of 30 AP credits & 30 credits from OCC).

  • Registrars 
  • Departments


  • Students must submit official transcripts or scores to be evaluated.


  • College Credit awarded dependent on scores earned.

Transfer Credits

  • Regionally Accredited Colleges
  • International

Students can apply a maximum of 60 credits from two year school or a maximum of 90 from a combination of two or four year school(s).

  • Registrars 
  • Departments


  • Students must submit transcripts to be evaluated.
  • Current students earning credit elsewhere must complete an off-campus approval form.


  • World Education Services (WES) evaluations may be required of international transcripts to explain accreditation for particular school, credit schema, etc.

Military Credit 

  • by Joint Services Transcript (JST)

Students can apply a maximum of 30 military transfer credits (separate from testing credit) to their transcript. Credits are applied as four-year credit and can be upper division.


  • Extended Learning
  • Registrars


  • Students must send Joint Services Transcript(s) at application and/or after new military training.


  • Community College of the Air Force and Defense Language institute are accredited institutions and fall under regular college transfer credit rules.

Career & Technical Educator Preparation (CTE) Credit

  • (Formerly VTP )
  • Occupational Competency Exams

Matriculated or departmentally approved students can earn 15 or 30 credits in the occupational area for which they are seeking certification.


  • Occupational Competency Exams Coordinator


  • Students register for VTP 331 & VTP 332 (30 Credits Total) on the chosen


  • Must have four years of verifiable occupational experience.

Other Credit

  • Non-Regionally
  • Accredited College or Testing Service

Students can request a transcript to be evaluated & credits applied after they complete one successful full-time semester (or part-time equivalent) at SUNY Oswego.


  • Departments
  • Registrars


  • Students must submit documentation and request review by department chair.
  • Other evaluation/testing services include: American Council on Education (ACE),Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Services (DANTES), and Excelsior College Examination Program (ECE).


SUNY Oswego Non-Credit Bearing PLA

Non-credit bearing PLA is available to students who may have met certain requirements for graduation or a course. Non-credit PLA often allows students to take higher-level courses or waive certain course requirements.


Type Evaluated By How Attained Comments

SUNY General Education Requirements (SUNY GER)


  • Registrars 


  • Students must submit college transcripts 


  • SUNY’s GER represents SUNY’s general education requirements in an appropriate mix of categories earned prior to attending SUNY Oswego.

  • GE 21 is SUNY Oswego’s general education requirement.


Foreign Language Based on Fluency for Languages other than English

High School

Foreign Language requirement is met if high school transcript reflects:

  1. four years of one language or
  2. two years of two languages.
  • Registrars 


  • Students must submit final, official high school transcripts.


  • Students need to complete a minimum of 30 hours of Gen Ed credit.

Foreign Language Based on Fluency for Languages other than English


Foreign Language requirement is met if:

  1. fulfilled on a high school transcript. (See high school column or
  2. if approved SUNY associate degree and did not complete SUNY GER can complete with FL 101.


  • Registrars
  • submit college transcript and high school official , finaltranscript if no FL 101.


  • Students need to complete a minimum of 30 hours of Gen Ed credit.
  • Three years of one high school language is considered the equivalent of FL 101.


Foreign Language Based on Fluency for Languages other than English

International Student

  1. If students come to SUNY Oswego via the Office of International Education, foreign language requirement is met.*
  2. If students do not come via the Office of International Education the FL completion is subject to evaluation by the General Education Director.



  • General Education Director




  • Student must request evaluation.

• Must have appropriate foreign High School or College transcript or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores.



  • Exceptions may apply, for example English speaking Canadian students may not meet FL requirement.
  • Students need to complete a minimum of 30 hours of Gen Ed credit.


Foreign Language Based on Fluency for Languages other than English

Other Population

Foreign Language requirement can be met for students who do not have transcripted academic FL experience provided they are able to demonstrate FL learning outcomes.


  • General Education Director


  • Student must contact General Education Director to apply for waiver.
  • Students need to complete a minimum of 30 hours Gen Ed credit.

Computer Information Literacy Competency Exam

  • The computer information literacy requirement is met by students passing both parts of the Computer Information Literacy Competency Exam.


  • Computer Science Department


  • Students must take the exam prior to semester start.
  • Students can only take the exam once.



  • Computer and information literacy is infused in each major.
  • Reference the undergraduate catalog to be sure it’s to the student’s advantage to take the exam



Pre-Requisite Deviations


  • Instructor
  • Advisor
  • Department Chair
  • Student must complete the Pre-Requisite Deviation form.


  • Additional documentation may be required.


SUNY Oswego Placement and Proficiency PLA


Type Evaluated By How Attained Comments

ALEKS  Math Placement Exams


  • Appropriate Department



  • Students take ALEKS after matriculation.


  • Students may take ALEKS mulitiple times to increase score.

Music Department Auditions / Placement

  • Music Department
  • Students audition at beginning of semester.
  • Exemption may allow students to move directly into private instruction.

Music Department Music Majors & Minors

  • Music Department


  • Student must request an evaluation.
  • Evaluation can be requested at any time.


Art Department Portfolio Reviews

  • Art Department


  • Students submit their portfolio in sophomore or junior year.




English for Academic Purposes (EAP)

  • Extended Learning


  • Students take tests at a third party Testing Center or Extended Learning.
  • Testing may not be required if students have prior college credit in an English Class. Approved tests include: Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS).