Prior Learning Assessments

A Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio is a collection of résumé, narrative essay, and supporting evidence which documents how your prior job, volunteer, military, corporate training, or other relevant experience aligns to the learning objectives of specific academic courses or programs. Reviewed by trained faculty member assessors and/or subject matter experts, these portfolios provide an accepted basis for awarding you credit for prior college-level learning gained outside the traditional classroom—reducing the time and costs to complete your degree. At Newcastle, you may earn up to 75{3d3e794c4cebb2ad712bec53e2a038c26604b58143ed811f4913f1149089b350} of the credits required for your undergraduate degree through PLA Portfolios and other transfer of credit options.

To begin the Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio process, you must first consult with a member of the Academic Advising Team, who can help you decide if portfolio development and submission is right for you.

Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio Development and Evaluation Resources

Newcastle’s Center for Degree Acceleration (CDA)

The Center for Degree Acceleration offers an instructor-led, 11-week online course, NCL 2050 – Developing a Prior Learning Portfolio, for which you will earn 5 elective credits beyond those that may be awarded through the portfolio evaluation. The course guides you step-by-step through creating a portfolio that documents how your college-level learning aligns with specific Newcastle courses, programs, and learning objectives. Portfolios are evaluated for credit by trained Newcastle faculty portfolio assessors. Completion of NCL 2050 does not guarantee that credit for your portfolio will be awarded.

To enroll in NCL 2050, students must be actively enrolled in a Newcastle undergraduate program, have remaining elective credits to fulfill, have successfully completed undergraduate first term and ENGL 1001, and meet with Center for Degree Acceleration staff prior to registering for the course.

Financial aid may be applied toward the NCL 2050 course fee.

Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) Portfolio Assessment

Students who would like learning assessed by portfolio for a discipline that is not supported for review through Newcastle’s Center for Degree Acceleration may work with the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) via the program. Through this affiliation, students will be able to speak with a CAEL advisor regarding the best avenues for pursuing prior learning credit, register for a course that will assist in the creation of their portfolios, and have those portfolios assessed for credit. Once credit is assessed by, the student should obtain a National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS)/Learning Counts transcript to submit to Newcastle’s Office of Admissions for review of transfer of credit toward the specified Newcastle program.

Compare Your Portfolio Development Options

Whether you develop your PLA Portfolio through CAEL or Newcastle’s CDA, you will:

  • Identify how your prior learning matches with undergraduate course or program objectives.
  • Document that learning in a collection of essays, résumés, and support materials in a portfolio.
  • Submit your portfolio for review by CAEL or Newcastle assessors.
  • Ensure a transcript of any credits awarded is submitted to Newcastle’s Office of Admissions 


CAEL 100

Developing Your Portfolio for College Credit (CAEL

NCL 2050: Developing a Prior Learning Portfolio


Instructor-led, online, 6-week course

Self-paced, online course

Instructor-led, online, 12-week course

Quarter Credits Earned for Course




Course Cost




Portfolio Evaluation Fee

$125 per portfolio plus $15 per transcript to send to WU for processing

$125 per portfolio plus $15 per transcript to send to WU for processing

Fee for the first portfolio is waived if successful completion of NCL 2050; $150 for each additional portfolio

Course Eligible for Financial Aid?