Credit for Prior and Alternative Learning (CPAL)

Prior learning assessments provide the documentation by which students may earn college credit for college-level, non-technical learning that was acquired outside of a regionally accredited college or university. Depending on how the learning was acquired, it must be verified in one of three ways: a nationally recognized evaluation service (ACE, NCCRS or WES), a nationally recognized examination, or completion of a portfolio through the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).

To be accepted, transfer recommended credit must be college level, cannot be vocational-technical, must apply to the University's program requirements, and must earn a passing grade.

The following general guidelines apply:

  • Documentation of credit for learning must be provided with one of the pre-approved Prior Learning Assessments.
  • A St. Kate's review will be completed and, if accepted for transfer, credits will be awarded.
  • A grade of Satisfactory is awarded for credit earned through these programs and is not included in computed grade point averages. (In some special cases, where the major requires it, the letter grade will be awarded if provided.)
  • Credit earned through these programs does not fulfill the University residency requirement.
  • Credit is recorded on the student's permanent record after enrollment at the University.

For more information on the credit for prior and alternative (CPAL) options or to see pre-approved courses and examinations on our transfer guides, visit our Transfer Students website.

National Credit Recommendation Services                                     

St. Catherine University accepts credit recommendations by the American Council on Education (ACE), the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS), and World Education Services (WES) for international, military or organizational learning.

National Exams

Students may demonstrate mastery of curriculum areas through Advanced Placement (AP), the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), Cambridge International Exams, Dantes Subject Standardized Tests (DSST), International Baccalaureate (IB), or UExcel. (See also Departmental Proficiency exams.)


St. Catherine University has teamed with the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL). CAEL's LearningCounts program helps students prepare a learning portfolio. The cost for developing the portfolio will vary based on the number of credits students earn.