Prior Learning Assessment

Whether the reason for completing your degree is to spark a career change, to enhance your existing career or to satisfy a personal thirst for knowledge, Maryville’s Prior Learning Assessment program can help you accomplish your goals.

Weekend & Evening College students have the advantage of being able to turn life experiences into college credit.  You will create an on-line ePortfolio that will include a knowledge statement, a learning component, a learning narrative and documentation.  The knowledge statement shows your professional progression.  The learning component and narrative draw a relationship between prior learning experience and what you would learn if you were to sit in the classroom.  Documentation describes the related knowledge you gained in your specific work or life situations.  Maryville’s PLA program allows you to capitalize on your “real-world” learning experience – one of the most valuable sources of knowledge – and gives you a practical college education best suited to your needs.

Our Program

  • Students who are degree seeking and formally accepted to the University can participate in the PLA program.
  • Development of the ePortfolio requires students to register for the one-credit hour Prior Learning Assessment Workshop (ASMT 295).  The workshop is an online course where students have numerous documents and tools available to assist them in the developing of their ePortfolios
  • At the end of the Workshop students submit a completed ePortfolio for two courses for faculty evaluation (therefore, students have the opportunity to earn six additional credit hours at the end of the semester they register for the Workshop).
  • Students may continue to submit their portfolios for additional coursework as they work on completing their degree.
  • Courses included in ePortfolios may include general education courses, required courses for their major and minor, and electives.  Acceptable courses vary by program so students may need to check with their advisor.
  • Portfolios are evaluated by Maryville University’s full-time faculty members who have expertise in their area of study.
  • A maximum of sixty (60) credit hours may be earned toward completion of your degree through the PLA program.
  • Saves students money:  A $100 transcription fee is charged for each credit hour approved.
  • Students have on-going one-on-one support from the Prior Learning Assessment Coordinator by communicating online through Maryville’s Canvas Learning Management Program and online meetings regularly and individually with each student as requested.

PLA students experience an overwhelming success rate when they fully participate in the program.  Recently, some of our students have experienced the following successes

  • Business Administration Major: 45 credit hours/ 15 courses
  • Management Major: 30 credit hours/ 10 courses
  • Information Systems Major: 27 credit hours/ 9 courses

The following are just a few comments from past students.

“Through the PLA program, I was able to combine my business and personal accomplishments with the classroom requirements and earn thirty hours of college credit.  As a result, I was able to save tuition costs and shorten time to graduation day.  I highly recommend the PLA program” – Nancy

“The PLA program has been a challenging experience – but one of the most rewarding of my college career.  I would encourage anyone wanting to receive credit for what they currently do in their everyday life and their career to enroll in the LA program.”  – Christy

“My company only offers a small tuition benefit package.  With the PLA program’s reduced cost I could enroll in courses and work on my ePortfolios and not exceed my yearly benefit.” – Judy

“I wanted to attend Maryville part-time to have a work and home balance.  PLA let me attend part-time and still complete 3-1/2 years of study in 1 year.” – Rick

For more information about the Prior Learning Assessment program, contact Mary Ann Chastain at

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