Credit by Portfolio Assessment

A currently enrolled student who can document college-level learning acquired in a non-collegiate setting (such as work or volunteer experience, a training program, or a hobby) may be able to petition for undergraduate credit through portfolio assessment. Not all academic units will consider these requests. Consequently, students interested in determining whether to pursue credit by portfolio assessment opportunities should contact the academic department responsible for the relevant course.

Credit cannot be earned in this manner if the student has previously received credit for an equivalent course. Nor can the student receive credit for an equivalent course after he/she has earned credit through portfolio assessment.

The portfolio should reflect the knowledge that the student has mastered as it relates to the objectives and requirements of a particular Penn State undergraduate course. The portfolio should contain a combination of documents and information that provides evidence of mastery of specific course requirements. For example, the portfolio might include credentials, licenses, evidence of completion of training programs, a resume, and a paper.

The portfolio is assessed by faculty with expertise in the subject matter, who will determine the level of competence achieved and the credit that should be awarded, if any. Credit awards must be authorized by the department head. A fee is charged to cover the cost of the assessment.

On LionPATH advisers can view the listing of Penn State courses for which students have earned credit by portfolio. The table is found under Main Menu, Records and Enrollment, Transfer Credit Rules, PennState XFR Subject Search. In Source ID enter 100130660 (as illustrated below) and click search.

Image of how credits earned by portfolio is demonstrated in LionPATH


Grades are not recorded when credits are earned by portfolio assessment; the student's grade-point average is not affected (see Cumulative Credits/Total Credits). Credit earned by portfolio is designated on the transcript in the same manner as transfer credit.


Credit by portfolio assessment is awarded at the undergraduate level. A maximum of 6 credits can be earned for a single portfolio (course). There is a limitation on the total credits a student may earn in this manner: associate degree candidates can earn no more than 15 credits by portfolio assessment; baccalaureate degree candidates are limited to 30 credits. The student must have enrolled and completed at least one course of 3 credits or more at Penn State before credit earned in this manner appears on his/her record.

Procedures for earning credit by portfolio are stated in the Academic Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual, E-10. Adult Enrollment Coordinators will provide additional information. (Contact information is available through the Penn State Directory.)

Last Update: May 2016

Reference(s): Senate Policy 42-97