Prior Learning Credit

Prior-learning credit is credit earned when a student demonstrates learning he or she has gained outside a traditional college classroom. Credit is awarded based on the learning that resulted from the experience – not the experience itself. Since prior-learning is non-traditional, evaluation must be done very carefully to ensure that it meets the standards of quality at Portland Bible College.

What qualifies for Prior Learning Credit?

  1. TIME
    Age is not a determinant for qualifying for Prior Learning Credit. However, time committed to the topic of study is important in qualifying for Prior Learning Credit.
    While the amount of time dedicated to a topic is important, learning credit is not granted simply based on time.  Students must prove retention of information, articulate learning outcomes, and demonstrate the application of lessons learned.  Credit is not earned for the experience itself rather, the teacher looks to make sure those lessons can be articulated and the experience qualifies for college-level credit.
    Leading a small group would not replace the Leading People course at PBC, but if you were to be in charge of launching Small Groups program at your church, recruiting, training small group leaders as well as leading one yourself, you could write an essay to demonstrate and articulate your lessons learned.

General Policies

  1. Prior Learning Credit can only be given for learning associated with courses currently taught at PBC. (Please see the course catalog for lists of courses offered at PBC to see if your experience may apply)
    Example: Since PBC does not offer graphic design courses, a student cannot get Prior Learning Credit for working in a graphic design field, even though graphic design could be a welcome skill at many churches. Since PBC does not offer the course, we will not grant college credit for it.
  2. Students should have interacted with material for a minimum of 30 hours for each credit they hope to gain through Prior Learning.
  3. Students can receive a maximum of 20 semester hours of credit through prior-learning applications and essays.
  4. Prior Learning Credit currently only applies to students working toward the completion of PBC ONLINE Degree Programs.
  5. Prior Learning Credit will not be assessed until after a student has been accepted to PBC and is currently in process of taking courses.

Additional Information

What are the Costs?
There is a $75 fee per essay submitted. The fee does not change based on the number of credits desired. The fee must be paid with the submission of Prior Learning documentation. No application for Prior Learning Credit will be reviewed until the fee has been received. The fee is not refundable; even if credit is not granted.

How do I Apply for Prior Learning Credit?
Submit the following items per course you desire to fulfill through prior learning:

  1. PBC Prior Learning Application Cover Sheet (download cover sheet)
  2. Essay in the prescribed method (print essay guidance)
  3. Additional Documentation (Certificate earned; material taught; awards won; etc.)
  4. $75 Fee (make a payment)

Note: All items above must be submitted in one Application submission. PBC reserves the right to return Essay submissions not presented in the correct format or missing information to the student for a re-write. Students can re-write and re- submit essays for review only one time. PBC will not receive multiple re-writes.

Evaluation Process

  1. Teachers that are experts in those course materials will determine if learning meets the requirements for granting degree credit.
  2. Please allow 2-4 weeks before notification if credit has been granted
  3. If credits earned are approved, the Registrar office will add the credits to your degree audit and notify you by email.
  4. Students must submit Prior learning documentation in the semester prior to graduation. (e.g. Graduates in Spring 2016, must submit application in Fall 2015). This will provide students with enough time to take classes that do not get approved.