Earn College Credit for Your Prior Learning

Prior Learning Assessment

Man with a portfolio

The Portfolio is a rigorous form of assessment which allows students to demonstrate mastery of learning outcomes associated with a college course based on learning gained from multiple venues including:

  • Work experience
  • Training programs
  • In-Service courses
  • Volunteer service
  • Non-credit courses
  • Study Abroad
  • Military training 
  • Independent reading and study to just Independent study
  • Community activities
  • Organizational memberships
  • Self-directed focused learning

A prior learning portfolio describes and documents relevant knowledge gained from experiential learning and equates that knowledge to equivalent academic courses. The portfolio consists of a brief experiential learning resume, a learning narrative, and supporting documentation of verified learning. Portfolios are assessed by qualified faculty to determine mastery of the equivalent college course.

Eligibility criteria

Students must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the portfolio option:

  • Be admitted to MDC as a degree-seeking student.
  • Maintain minimum academic requirements – which include a minimum 2.00 term GPA and 2.00 cumulative GPA as noted on the academic transcript.
  • Have successfully completed ENC 1101 and either ENC 1102 or SPC1017 (or equivalents) with a grade of ‘C’ or higher because the portfolio requires effective writing and communication skills..
  • Identify the courses for which you want to pursue for portfolio assessment, complete the portfolio request form, and obtain approval from an advisor and submit it to PLA Office for academic department approval and verification.
  • Enroll in the Prior Learning Portfolio Development course ($500 course fee includes: Assessment up to 45 credit hours)
  • Students must submit the portfolio at least one semester prior to the semester in which they plan to graduate.

The 25% residency requirement of the College cannot be satisfied through portfolio.

Portfolio development course is offered every semester for students to learn how to prepare a prior learning portfolio. For more information, please contact the Office of Prior Learning Assessment at pla@mdc.edu.

  • Do you enjoy writing?
  • Can you equate prior learning to college courses?
  • Can you provide evidence of your learning?
  • If you answered yes to any of the above, then you should consider the portfolio option.

PLA Portfolio Development Course - Online

The portfolio development course is a self-paced course offered through the School of Continuing Education for students to learn how to prepare a portfolio with step-by-step guidance. The course is required for portfolio assessment. For more information, please see below or contact the Office of Prior Learning Assessment at pla@mdc.edu.

PLA Portfolio Policy:


POLICY TITLE: Objectives: Curriculum and Instruction

The College is committed to a belief in individual learning through such means as advanced placement, credit by examination, and individual study.


Textbook for students: Earn College Credit for What You Know

Contact us today to find out if you have eligible prior learning that we can help you leverage into college credit.