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Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Learn more about NLU's Prior Learning Assessment program here


Prior Learning Assessment


Studies indicate that students who earned prior learning credits are more likely to graduate than peers who did not.

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At National Louis University, your personal and professional experience and knowledge may be worth college credit. Colleges and universities often refer to this knowledge as prior learning. NLU's Prior Learning Assessment office offers several programs for students to demonstrate prior college-level learning including; Credit by Portfolio, Credit by Examination, Credit by Licenses and Certifications.

Credit by Portfolio

Credit by Portfolio is offered for undergraduate and graduate students in the following programs:

UNDERGRADUATE – ACL301/Perspectives on Prior Learning

This 2QH course provides a structured experience in which students learn to recognize, document, and validate learning from life and work experiences for potential college credit. Undergraduate students enrolled in the BSM, BSMIS, ABS, HCL, Human Services, Criminal Justice and Communication programs are currently eligible to take this course. For more information, please contact us at 630-874-4319/1-800-443-5522, x4319 or LEARN MORE »

UNDERGRADUATE - Criminal Social Justice (CSJ215 Juvenile Justice Systems

The ideal candidate will possess the equivalent knowledge and background required to successfully pass CSJ215 through the Credit by Portfolio course option (CPL400). In the course, students demonstrate college-level learning and course equivalent competencies that they have acquired and learned on the job.   Student learning outcomes are assessed and potential credit is awarded by a faculty assessor. LEARN MORE »

GRADUATE – Master of Science in Written Communication

Students in the MSWC program may petition to portfolio out of one or two of the designated program elective courses. Those courses include; LAE515-Feature Writing and LAE416-Women's Lives into Literature. The ideal candidate will possess learning outcomes and experience, with both breadth and depth comparable to the course learning outcomes in a course being challenged. LEARN MORE »

Credit by Examination

NLU awards credit to students who achieve acceptable scores on standardized tests such as College Board's College Level Examination Program (CLEP), the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSSTs), and NYU Language Proficiency exams. Exams measure learning in a variety of academic disciplines. The exam hotline is 800.443.5522 x4316. Exam schedules and registration information can be found here.  LEARN MORE »

Credit by Licenses and Certifications

UNDERGRADUATE – Elective Credit by Licensure/Certification

NLU awards elective credit for undergraduate students for a number of nationally recognized certifications and licenses. LEARN MORE »

GRADUATE – Master of Science in Human Resource Management and Development

The Master of Science in Human Resource Management and Development (HRMD) program gives human resource practitioners the opportunity to potentially receive elective course credit for current PHR and SHRM certifications. LEARN MORE »


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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