Transfer and Experiential Credit

Adults bring a wide array of talents and expertise to the college experience. Some of it stems from a traditional collegiate program and some of it comes from non-traditional sources, such as professional training, technical and certificate programs, as well as their own work experience.

The School of Professional and Graduate Studies considers and evaluates all of these sources, allowing the adult student to transfer more credits into their St. Joseph’s degree program.

Transfer Credit and Prior Learning Assessment Policies

  • Adult learners can transfer up to 90 credits from accredited  four-year traditional colleges and universities

— or —

  • Adult learners can transfer a maximum of 82 prior learning credits from the following educational experiences: training programs, professional certifications and credit by examination. Credits from educational institutions that are not regionally accredited but are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education may also be considered for credit under this category. 
  • Students pursuing a degree in Professional Studies may earn a maximum of 27 credits through Prior Experiential Learning Assessment (PELA). Through PELA, eligible students can register for an experiential portfolio seminar and work with the Prior Learning Assessment coordinator to document and thoroughly assess prior learning experiences.

Either way, many students begin their degree program at St. Joseph’s College with more than half the credits they need to graduate. A total of 90 credits may be transferred from all sources combined—including prior learning and traditional transfer credit . To earn a bachelor's degree from St. Joseph’s College, students must complete a minimum of 30 credits* in residence.
* Certain majors may require a minimum of 32 credits be completed at St. Joseph's College.

Credit for Experiential Learning

Professional Studies students, except for Nursing majors, with extensive and varied experiential learning may participate in the Prior Experiential Learning Assessment (PELA) Program, which gives students the opportunity to apply for credit for their prior experiential learning. Validated learning, not the experience alone, is the basis for awarding credit. Professional Studies does not award credit for “having lived,” but rather for having mastered—through professional, creative, volunteer or other experience—knowledge and skills that are deemed to be at the college level and are applicable in the context of the student’s degree program.

St. Joseph’s College recognizes that adult learners, through their professional training and experience, attain knowledge and skills that can translate into collegiate credit. Professional Studies students with comprehensive experiential learning  may participate in the Prior Experiential Learning Assessment Program (PELA), which gives students the opportunity to earn credit for their prior learning by:

  • enrolling in GS 111 Experiential Portfolio Seminar, which is a mentored course designed to facilitate the assessment of prior learning for the purpose of developing an experiential learning portfolio.
  • taking standardized examinations sponsored by DSST and CLEP (St. Joseph's College is a test site for enrolled students) and the New York University Foreign Language Department.
  • submitting certifications and licenses; documents are reviewed in accordance with Professional Studies transfer policies.

The above options can be discussed after the student is enrolled, and has had his/her official transcripts evaluated. The Prior Learning Assessment Coordinator can then meet with the student to discuss optimum pathways to degree completion.