Non-Traditional Approaches to Earning Credit


Prior approval must be obtained before enrolling in any of the options listed below. All transcripts must be on file at Concordia to ensure there will be no duplication of coursework.

Independent Study

Independent Study allows students to develop a course of study in a subject area for which there is not already a module or credits on the student’s transcript. Through the completion of the proposal, the student will state goals and objectives, materials to be used, and means of assessing the learning. An advisor will be assigned to the study. It is the responsibility of the advisor to supervise the completion of the study and to report to Concordia satisfactory completion of the work, at which time credit will be awarded.

Travel Studies

Travel opportunities are available to non-traditional students through CU’s International Studies Department. Travel study participants must contact the sponsor of the trip to obtain the required forms and must complete the necessary paperwork.  Credits earned through travel experience may apply to the core or elective areas.

Students may be eligible to receive a grant for global education if they have earned at least 60 undergraduate credits or 21 graduate credits from Concordia University Wisconsin. Applications for this grant must be submitted by the 15th of May, prior to the trip's departure date. See your advisor for the proper forms and look at our website for specific requirements and a listing of available studies.

Prior Learning Assessment

Prior Learning Assessment of experiential learning allows accepted students to seek credit by documenting college-level knowledge and competence acquired outside a classroom setting. Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Workshops are periodically conducted at each center and an online portfolio workshop is also available. During these sessions the students are guided through the process of determining what constitutes college-level learning, the process of developing each petition for credit, and how to document learning. Attendance at a PLA Development Workshop or completion of the Online PLA Workshop is required. Contact your advisor to learn about how to participate in a workshop.

Prior Learning credits, if awarded, apply only to the elective area, though 2 of the 21 possible credits may apply to the physical development core requirement. For an AA degree, a maximum of 7 credits may be applied toward the degree. For a BA degree, a maximum of 21 of the required elective credits may be earned through PLA, unless 2 are used for physical development. A per credit evaluation fee is charged for Prior Learning Assessment portfolio submissions. This evaluation fee is not returned if credits are not awarded. Credits awarded through Prior Learning Assessment are not likely to be transferrable to another school.

All official transcripts for any credits to be transferred to Concordia should be on file prior to submitting a Prior Learning Assessment portfolio to avoid duplication of credits. Submissions may not duplicate any coursework completed at Concordia. Students should submit portfolios by the first of each month to be reviewed by the Prior Learning Assessment Committee. Petitions should be submitted for only the number of credits needed. The evaluation fee per credit, $55, must be submitted with the portfolio. Students will be notified by mail of the committee’s decision. Credits denied may be resubmitted for reconsideration in certain cases. In the case of a new petition, the charge is $55; in the case of a revision, there is no charge.

College level Examination Program (CLEP) and Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES)

Applicants qualify for such credit by satisfactory achievement on college approved placement examinations, including the College Board Advanced Placement Tests, CLEP (College Level Examination Program), or faculty-authored challenge examinations. These programs serve students who want recognition for college level achievement acquired outside the conventional classroom. Students require prior approval from their advisor and complete a Transfer Request Form so that the individual record can be checked to be sure that the proposed credits will be accepted. Students will need to allow at least two weeks for these requests to be processed. To receive credit for either CLEP or DANTES tests students may not have credit for similar coursework on their transcripts. College credit total a maximum of 30 semester credits may be earned by satisfactorily completing such examinations.

American Council on Education (ACE) and National Program on Non-collegiate Sponsored Instruction (PONSI)

ACE and PONSI are organizations which validate for-credit coursework completed through non-collegiate education and training programs. The student must have official copies of the educational transcripts sent to Concordia.

Life Office Management Association (LOMA) and American Institute of Banking (AIB)

LOMA and AIB provide means to receive college credit for company training professional development programs through an employer. The student must have official copies of the educational transcripts sent to Concordia.

Military Credits

Military Credits are granted based on the evaluation of an official joint service transcript, or for military service prior to 1981, DD 214 documentation.