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Credit for Prior Learning at Boise State University

Not all learning happens in the classroom, and we believe that your experiences through work, volunteering and life should have the potential to count toward your degree. Credit for prior learning at Boise State allows you to earn academic credit for the college-level learning you’ve done through your experiences outside of a traditional classroom, saving you time and money as you complete your degree.

The Bachelor of Applied Science and Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Professional Studies offer credit for prior learning through portfolio assessment in conjunction with our course, IPS 301 Prior Learning Portfolio Development.

Boise State also offers several other ways of earning credit for prior learning. The PACS Center offers various exams and placement services, while individual departments offer challenge exams and other opportunities for credit for prior learning.

About Credit For Prior Learning

How do I earn credit for prior learning in the applied science and interdisciplinary professional studies programs?

Our credit for prior learning process allows you the opportunity to earn credit for what you already know by identifying college-level learning from your past experiences outside of the classroom and applying those experiences toward specific upper-division electives within the applied science and interdisciplinary professional studies degrees.

You will demonstrate the learning you’ve done through the creation of a prior learning portfolio that will be assessed by faculty for academic credit that replaces actual coursework.

Experiences you may draw from for your prior learning portfolio may include: 

  • Professional and organizational expertise
  • On-the-job training
  • Professional licenses
  • Industry certifications
  • Military training
  • Volunteer or nonprofit work
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Service on boards or advisory groups
  • In-service and professional development courses
  • Independent reading and study
  • Involvement in professional organizations or conferences
  • And many more

What support will I have?

Learn about the Prior Learning Portfolio Development Textbook by Baker Lawley

Our innovative course, IPS 301 Prior Learning Portfolio Development, will lead you through the creation of your prior learning portfolio with the support of faculty and peers. The course teaches methods of communicating your experience and reframing it as college-level learning and provides intensive feedback on all three components of your portfolio as you draft and revise them.

The course is accompanied by an online textbook written specifically for Boise State students by the lead instructor and developer of the course, faculty member Baker Lawley, who focuses on experiential learning opportunities.

Baker Lawley

Baker Lawley

Phone: (208) 426-1349

Baker Lawley has been teaching in higher education for two decades, with a passion for helping students tell their stories and share their work with the world. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from Millsaps College and his MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama. Before joining Boise State, he taught at Gustavus Adolphus College for thirteen years as an associate professor of English, where he also served as department co-chair, directed the Writing Center and oversaw internships and two student-run literary magazines.

In the applied science and interdisciplinary professional studies programs, Lawley focuses on experiential learning opportunities, helping students integrate real-world experience with their degree and translating their experiences into academic credit for specific courses. Experience, past or present, matters, and helping students integrate those experiences with their overall educational life at Boise State will help them better tell their stories and design their futures.

Learn More About the Prior Learning Portfolio Development Course

How can it help me finish my degree faster and more affordably?

Your portfolio will make the case that you’ve already learned the material in a specific course or courses through your experience. If your challenge is successful, the course or courses will appear on your transcript and count towards the upper-division electives required for graduation, saving you the time and tuition of taking those courses.

Learn More About Credit for Prior Learning Can Save You Time and Money

How many credits can I earn?

Students have the opportunity to earn from three to 15 credits through our credit for prior learning process, depending on their Boise State degree requirements. 

Before taking IPS 301, you should meet with your advisor to evaluate your transcript and degree plan to determine the number of credits you should pursue through credit for prior learning.

Learn More About Credit for Prior Learning Credits and Policies