Alternative Methods for Earning
Course Credit

Wilmington University grants academic credit in a number of ways beyond the traditional and virtual classroom setting. Credit may be granted through transfer credit, for work completed at another academic institution, or related work completed via the methods listed below. Additional information may be obtained through the College of Online and Experiential Learning (COEL), an Academic Advisor, Site Director, or by calling 877-967-5464.

Alternative methods for earning course credit differ for undergraduate and graduate programs. Please select the appropriate program for a list of alternative methods for earning credit for your degree program.

Undergraduate Programs

Prior Learning

Prior learning, sometimes called “experiential learning” is knowledge obtained outside the typical university setting. The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) defines prior learning as the assessment and award of credit for learning and knowledge students acquire while living their lives: working, participating in employer training programs, serving in the military, studying independently, volunteering or doing community service, and studying open source courseware. Credit for prior learning may be granted for verifiable learning gained through experience, but not for the experience itself.

Wilmington University allows, through any combination of PLA, a maximum of 75 undergraduate semester credit hours to apply toward a bachelor’s degree. Students must meet program, upper level, and residency requirements for PLA credit to apply. Associate degree programs allow a maximum of 15 undergraduate semester credit hours through any combination of PLA. Students pursuing an associate degree must meet program and residency requirements for PLA credit to apply.

PLA credit may have implications on student financial aid; as such students are encouraged to coordinate with their student financial aid advisor to avoid any impacts on financial awards or eligibility.

Students granted PLA credit are not guaranteed that their credit will transfer to another higher education institution. Students are encouraged to check the policies at the intended transfer institution prior to the completion of PLA.

NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, PLA credit is applied to student transcripts as transfer credit. Additional information on PLA can be found on the COEL website or by contacting your Academic Advisor.

The following subsections provide descriptions of the seven approved PLA sources.

American Council on Education (ACE) Workforce Training and National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS)

Credit may be granted for completion of workforce training evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE) and the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS). ACE and NCCRS evaluate many formal courses, training programs, examinations, licenses, certifications, and other programs offered by various organizations, from businesses and unions to the government and military.

American Council on Education (ACE) Armed Services

Credit may be granted for military experience evaluated by ACE and is transcribed onto a Joint Services Transcript (JST) for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Department of Defense.

Credit by Examination

Credit may be granted for successful completion of an examination that has been assessed at the college level. Two forms of examination are recognized at Wilmington University: Course Challenge by Examination and Credit by Standardized Examination.

Course Challenge by Examination

Course challenge by examination measures college-level learning through the examination process. Wilmington University faculty administer an examination process which incorporates a comprehensive final examination. This method of examination is limited to courses with examinations prepared. A minimum passing grade of B is required.

Credit by Standardized Examination

Credit by standardized examination measures college-level learning through a subject-level examination. Wilmington University recognizes may standardized examination providers including: College Level Preparation Program (CLEP), DANTES Subject Specific Tests (DSST), Advanced Placement (AP), Excelsior College Examinations (ECE), UExcel Examinations, International Baccalaureate (IB), and National League for Nursing (NLN).

Credit by Portfolio Assessment

Credit may be granted for prior learning competency(s) assessed by portfolio. Portfolio assessment is the process of presenting evidence of college-level learning through a portfolio for academic review. Portfolio assessment requires a student-prepared portfolio, assessed by faculty with the appropriate content expertise. The portfolio will include a learning narrative and evidence relevant to the area in which credit is sought. The student will demonstrate clear achievement and a thorough understanding of the subject. This may be accomplished by knowledge obtained through work experience (military or civilian), in-service training programs, volunteer activities, workshops, and personal study. Credit earned by portfolio assessment is recognized as residency credit. A minimum passing grade of C is required.

Credit by Industry Recognized Assessment (IRA)

Credit may be granted for industry recognized credentials assessed for learning competency(s). Credit by industry recognized assessment is the process of assessing evidence of college-level learning through earning an industry recognized credential supported by an accredited or industry recognized organization.

EXTRA-INSTITUTIONAL COURSE ASSESSMENT (ECA)

Credit may be granted for college-level learning that takes place out of the classroom. ECA is the process of assessing college-level learning through corporate and educational training programs and/or courses where college-level learning is provided by an unaccredited internal training or education department/unit. Wilmington University’s process of ECA uses principles of assessment outlined by the American Council on Education (ACE) and by the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS).

Experiential Learning at Wilmington University

The University strongly encourages students to gain practical, real-world experience by participating in Practicum, Internship and Cooperative Education opportunities. Students will apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom and gain valuable work experience while earning academic credit. Students should contact their Academic College for more information about internships and specific program requirements.

GUIDED PRACTICUM

Students who have completed little or no course work can explore areas of interest and potential career opportunities in a field with a Guided Practicum. Guided practicum experiences focus on skills-building, becoming familiar with occupations in a field and learning what is involved in a major. Each Guided Practicum is a one credit, 30 hour experience and is generally unpaid. Students may complete multiple credits and are expected to do so at different sites to maximize this introductory field placement. Students should contact their program chair additional information. Students interested in a more focused, in depth experience should consider an internship or our Cooperative Education Program.

PRACTICUM

Certain programs such as in the College of Education have required Practica courses and seminars. Additional information is provided in the Academic program section of the catalog.

INTERNSHIP

Internship is designed to immerse students in a real-world work environment. Students will have the opportunity to work on meaningful projects, engage in problem solving activities, and be exposed to new trends and the latest technologies as well as network with professionals in the field. Internship experiences provide first-hand opportunities upon which future career choices can be based as students gain a better understanding of the relationship between theoretical concepts and their practical application.

Students are reminded that coordinating the requirements for an internship requires prior planning.

The typical internship student is a junior or senior with some course work completed in their major and seeks an in-depth, practical experience in their field of study. Students may also explore an internship unrelated to their major as an elective course. Internship is a three credit, 90 to 100 hour experience and is generally unpaid. Most students will participate in one internship. (Students interested in an expanded, multi-semester work experience should consider our Cooperative Education Program.)

Students must receive written permission from the Internship Coordinator or Program Chair at least 60 days prior to their expected internship start date.

Upon receiving written approval, a student should complete the official registration procedure with the Office of the Registrar. Tuition and fees are the same as standard course tuition. Internships/field placements are graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. A minimum 2.5 cumulative grade point average is required to be eligible for internships/field placements. A maximum of 15 credits may be earned through internship/field placements and may be used towards residency credits.

COOPERATIVE EDUCATION

Wilmington University’s Community and Academic Partnerships (CAP) and Cooperative Education (Co-op) program is an academic experience that allows students to connect academic knowledge with the business and professional world. The CAP/Co-op program expands learning experiences through relevant employment in a supervised, educational work setting related to the student’s major field of study or career focus.

A CAP/Co-op program experience is a multi-semester program (2 minimum, with a maximum of 4, ideally consecutive) with in-state and out-of-state opportunities. Co-op experiences are individually designed, and are typically at least two semesters with the same employer to maximize the opportunity for advanced application of the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom.

Co-op experiences are available in a part-time or full-time capacity. Students have the opportunity to complete 10-15 hours of work experience per week resulting in approximately 400-600 total hours and may include additional faculty assigned work. Students are also able to obtain full-time Co-op positions, providing the opportunity to complete 35-40 hours of work experience per week.

Co-op experiences are cultivated by both the Wilmington University Office of Cooperative Education and students. Opportunities developed by students need approval from the Office of Cooperative Education before credit can be awarded. An approved Co-op experience may substitute for a required internship in a student’s major.

To be eligible for the CAP/Co-op program students must have the following: a declared major and be working toward a degree, completed a minimum of 60 credits applicable to their degree program, and have a minimum 2.5 cumulative grade point average. In addition, students must inform the Office of Cooperative Education and their Program Chair one semester before they would like to begin a co-op assignment. CAP/Co-op course enrollment is required for credit to be awarded for the experience. Tuition and fees are the same as standard course tuition.

Students who are interested in gaining real world experience by participating in a Co-op should contact the Office of Cooperative Education.

Additional Methods of Earning Credit at Wilmington University

DIRECTED STUDY

Directed study is available only under extenuating circumstances for students who are approved by their Program Chair one month prior to the semester registration period in which the directed study is to be conducted. A maximum of 6 credits may be earned through the directed study format and may be used towards residency credits.

INDEPENDENT STUDY

Students desiring to study areas of knowledge outside of disciplines available through regular course work must secure written permission from an Academic Advisor or Site Director one month (minimum) prior to the semester registration period in which the independent study is to be conducted. Upon final approval by the Academic Dean or Program Chair, a student may register for an independent study by following the official registration procedure. Tuition and fees for independent study are the same as those for standard courses. Independent study is graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. A minimum 2.5 cumulative grade point average is required to be eligible for independent study. Students needing additional information about independent study should contact an Academic Advisor or Site Director. A maximum of 6 credits may be earned through the independent study format and may be used towards residency credits.

ENROLLMENT AS AN AUDITOR

Students who wish to audit a specific course for no credit may do so by seeking permission of an Academic Advisor or Site Director. Students may then follow established registration procedures, clearly stating at the time of registration which course they wish to audit. Course auditors pay the same tuition as non-auditors and may participate fully in classroom activities. They are not required to take examinations or complete class assignments. Course auditors receive a grade of “AU” (audit) that does not affect grade point average (GPA).

Contact the College of Online & Experiential Learning
about Alternative Methods to Earning Course Credit


Graduate Programs

Challenge by Examination

Challenge by examination measures graduate-level knowledge through an examination process. Challenge by examination is limited to graduate prerequisites. Students interested in challenge by examination must register in advance for the specific course and, upon payment of the specified fee, will receive notification of prearranged date, time, and place of examination.

Results of the examination will be available to the student no later than one week prior to registration for the next block.

Directed Study

Directed study is available only under extenuating circumstances for students who are approved by their Academic Dean or Program Chair one month prior to the semester registration period in which the directed study is to be conducted. A maximum of 6 credits may be earned through the directed study format and may be used towards residency credits.

Enrollment as an Auditor

Students who wish to audit a specific course for no credit may do so by seeking permission of an Academic Advisor or Site Director. Students may then follow established registration procedures, clearly stating which courses they wish to audit. Course auditors pay the same tuition as non-auditors and may participate fully in classroom activities. They are not required to take examinations or complete class assignments. Course auditors receive a grade of “AU” (audit) that does not affect grade point average (GPA).

Extra-Institutional Course Assessment (ECA)

The University recognizes that college-level learning takes place both in and out of the classroom. A process of reviewing corporate training programs and other formal training/courses offered by non-accredited institutions/entities has been implemented to determine if college-level learning is present and to determine what credit, if any, should be awarded for the prior learning.

Graduate level ECA credit often requires independent study, original research, critical analysis, or the professional application of the specialized knowledge within the discipline.

Independent Study

Students desiring to study areas of knowledge outside of disciplines available through regular course work must secure written permission from the appropriate Academic Dean or Program Chair one month (minimum) prior to the semester’s registration period in which the independent study is to be conducted. Tuition and fees for independent study are the same as those for standard courses. Independent study is graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. A maximum of six (6) credits may be earned through the independent study format and may be used towards residency credits.

Internships

Internships provide first-hand experiences upon which future career choices can be based as students gain a better understanding of the relationship between theoretical concepts and their practical application.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Prior learning, sometimes called “experiential learning” is knowledge obtained outside the typical university setting. The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) defines prior learning as the assessment and award of credit for learning and knowledge students acquire while living their lives: working, participating in employer training programs, serving in the military, studying independently, volunteering or doing community service, and studying open source courseware. Credit may be granted for verifiable learning gained through experience, but not for the experience itself.

A maximum of 6 credits may be earned through the Prior Learning Assessment format and may be used towards residency credits. PLA credits may have implications on student financial aid, as such students are encouraged to coordinate with their student financial aid advisor to avoid any impacts on financial awards or eligibility.

NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, PLA credit is applied to student transcripts as transfer credit. Additional information on PLA can be found on the COEL web site or by contacting your Academic Advisor.

Contact the College of Online & Experiential Learning
about Alternative Methods to Earning Course Credit