Prior Learning Assessment

Finish Your Degree Faster by Getting Credit For What You Already Know

  • Students may earn up to 45 hours­­—which equals two years of college credit—for what they already know
  • Credit hours earned depends upon the individual student’s background and experience

 There are numerous ways to earn college credit outside the traditional classrooms, and we will work with you to take advantage of all the methods that are right for you. Many adult students spend years in the workforce or military developing valuable skills, earning certifications, taking continuing education programs, and obtaining licenses for specific functions. At MTSU we have developed a means to turn this prior knowledge into college credit to complete a degree. View our PLA brochure here for more information.

To find out if the Adult Degree Completion Program is a fit for you, please complete the form on this page. For mobile users, scroll down. For users on desktop, the form is on the right side of the page. If your prior training and experience qualifies, you could earn up to a maximum of 45 hours of academic credit for what you already know. 

Ways to earn college credit

Prior Learning Assessment

Portfolio Assessment – PRST 3010 (Prior Learning Assessment)

The Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) course provides a structured process for students to document college level learning obtained through work, training programs, certifications and licenses and convert it to college credit.

TCAT and other similar training/certifications are considered vocational level learning and cannot be assessed as college level credit.

PLA credit can be used in the following degree programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Integrated Studies

To learn more about this program, call 615-898-5236.

Other Ways to Earn Credit

(Detailed in MTSU Undergraduate Catalog)

Military Service Credits 
Students who have served in the Reserves, National Guard, or Armed Forces may be eligible for college credit.

Students may earn college credit for acceptable scores on the:

  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
  • Foreign Language Tests
  • Advanced Placement Examinations (AP) of the College Entrance Examination Board
  • American College Testing Program (ACT)
  • International Baccalaureate Program (IB)
  • DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST)

Examinations are administered by Testing Services, 107 Keathley University Center. (615-898-2863)  

Credit by Special Examination 
Students should contact the Admissions Office for forms, and request approval from the Department Chair.

Available Degrees

While any degree offered by MTSU may be used as part of the Adult Degree Completion Program, most of our students find that one the following degrees provides them with the greatest flexibility because of the availability of using Prior Learning Assessment to finish more quickly. All of our degree programs provide an opportunity for several majors and areas of specialization.

Undergraduate Degrees

B.S. in Commerce*

The B.S. in Commerce is a flexible degree plan designed to provide a broad-based course of study in business while maintaining the flexibility necessary for the modern college student.

B.S. in Criminal Justice*

Courses in the Department of Criminal Justice Administration provide students with a well-rounded curriculum designed to meet the academic needs of those seeking careers in law enforcement, courts, corrections, and homeland security.

B.S. in Integrated Studies*

This interdisciplinary degree program is extremely flexible and is an excellent option for students seeking a broad-based educational experience or wanting to custom-design a degree program. View the online brochure.

B.S. in Professional Studies*    

This program helps students prepare for management positions in the fields of information technology, healthcare administration, and business communications. View the online brochure here.

Graduate Degrees

Master of Professional Studies*

The MPS is an interdisciplinary graduate degree program designed for working professionals who wish to earn a graduate degree in their area of expertise and excel in their careers. Concentrations include Human Resources Leadership, Strategic Leadership, and Training & Development.

 "MTSU is doing something different"

Leah LouallenLeah Louallen, 42, has worked in higher education for more than two decades. She said she always felt like the most uneducated person in the room since she did not have her bachelor's degree. She's working to finish that degree now after taking the Prior Learning Assessment couse at MTSU. “It is easy for me to sit in a meeting and see who has their Ph.D.’s and master’s degrees and see myself as the most uneducated. I know that, but they don’t know that,” she said. “But going through the PLA course, I had a chance to go back and remember things I have not thought about in years. I would not be where I am today had I not made an impact.” With the PLA course, the instructors make it their goal to communicate directly with the students throughout the entire course. Louallen said the instructors were all about student success, not just getting them through the course.“I feel like MTSU is moving in a very student-serving focus and that is important to me,” she said. “They were not just giving me assignments. They had examples to look at and samples to review. They sent reminders and were always incredibly helpful.” Read more of Leah's story.



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