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Graduate Prior Learning Assessment (GPLA)

Ramapo College will grant academic credit through assessment of prior learning at the graduate level. Ramapo College graduate programs recognize the diverse array of achievements of our applicants through accumulation of professional development hours, certifications, work experience and special projects, and other documented evidence that supports the demonstration of knowledge in a particular area of study that correlates with a specific course in a respective graduate program.


Graduate students at Ramapo College of New Jersey may receive credit for graduate-level knowledge that they have gained outside the traditional academic setting through work, training and professional development, certifications and licenses, community service, or other accomplishments. (Not all graduate programs accept GPLA). Please review individual program requirements.) The process of graduate prior learning experience assessment involves the development of a portfolio and an interview that confirms that the learning the student has achieved through his/her life experience is relevant to the program’s learning goals upon review and discretion of each graduate Program Director and respective Dean.

GPLA requirements

When a graduate student applies to Ramapo College, he/she is made aware of the opportunity to apply for  GPLA. (Note: GPLA information is provided on the Graduate Admissions website.)  GPLA requirements include:

  • Prior learning experience may be substituted for up to two (2) courses (not to exceed 8 credits) in the graduate program.
  • GPLA credit is considered transfer credit; therefore, the combination of transfer credit and GPLA credit may not exceed two (2) courses or eight (8) credits. The Transfer Credit Policy ( must be considered and adhered to in the awarding of GPLA credits.
  •  GPLA credits can only equate to 500- or 600-level courses.  GPLA credit is not permitted to equate to 700-level courses.
  • The Program Director or designee reviews and evaluates applications for prior learning credit and recommends the number of credits to be awarded. The Dean makes the final approval.
  • GPLA credit may be granted for equivalent coursework offered at Ramapo College.
  • When the experience does not compare to a Ramapo course but falls within the purview of the evaluator’s expertise, credit may be granted as an elective.
  • GPLA credits are awarded a TP or “transfer pass” grade, so they are not calculated in the student’s GPA.
  • All  GPLA documentation, including the portfolio and assessment rubric, are kept in the student’s permanent record. Credits earned through GPLA are reflected in the graduate degree audit.

Criteria for graduate prior learning assessment (GPLA)

Criteria for acceptance of prior learning experiences include:

  • The experience must be relevant to the program’s learning goals.
  • The experience must be comparable to graduate-level coursework.
  • The experience must have taken place after the awarding of the bachelor’s degree and before enrollment in the graduate program.
  • The student must document and submit a GPLA portfolio by the deadline agreed upon by the student and the Program Director but no later than the end of the first semester enrolled in the graduate program.
  • The student must follow guidelines listed on the GPLA application and may meet with the Program Director prior to final submission of the GPLA portfolio to obtain guidance or advice/consultation as needed.
  • Decisions regarding GPLA are final.

GPLA process – application and portfolio contract

  1. Students interested in submitting a GPLA portfolio for credit should schedule an appointment with the Director of their graduate program.
  2. The student is strongly encouraged to complete the Proposal section of the GPLA Portfolio Contract, including the one-page description of relevant activities, prior to meeting with the Program Director.
  3. During the appointment, the Program Director will review the student’s academic record to make sure that he/she is eligible to earn credits through GPLA, will outline the procedure for submitting a portfolio, and will provide the student with a copy of the GPLA Portfolio Contract.
  4. The Program Director and student will discuss possible course options for the GPLA portfolio as warranted. It is recommended that the student obtain and review the descriptions and syllabi for identified courses.
  5. If the Program Director determines that a course is appropriate for credit after evaluating the GPLA portfolio, he/she will identify his/herself as the assessor or assign a faculty member to act as the portfolio assessor.
  6. The student will then meet with the designated assessor to discuss the GPLA portfolio. Together, they should come to a clear understanding of: a) the portfolio requirements; b) the criteria that the assessor will use to determine whether the student has met the learning outcomes of the course(s); and c) a timeline to complete the process.
  7. The student and faculty assessor complete and sign the GPLA Portfolio Contract. The student is responsible for obtaining the Dean’s signature on the GPLA Portfolio Contract. The Dean’s office will return the completed Contract to the Program Director.
  8. The student must submit a completed GPLA portfolio to the Program Director by the agreed-upon deadline. The Program Director applies the assessment fee to the student account. Once the assessment fee is paid by the student, the portfolio and the GPLA Portfolio Review Rubric are sent to the assessor.
  9. The assessor reviews the completed GPLA portfolio and meets with the student if a meeting is included in the portfolio.
  10. The assessor completes the GPLA Portfolio Review Rubric and either approves or disapproves awarding credit for the GPLA portfolio or recommends resubmission. The assessor notifies the student in writing of the assessment result and submits the GPLA portfolio and the GPLA Portfolio Review Rubric to the Office of the Registrar.
  11. The Office of the Registrar processes credit requests for all GPLA portfolios approved for credit.

GPLA portfolio fee structure

Students who submit a GPLA portfolio must pay an assessment fee. This fee must be paid prior to the portfolio assessment and is non-refundable regardless of the outcome of the portfolio assessment. The fee is based on the number of credits requested in the portfolio. The current per-credit fee is posted on the College’s website along with the current tuition and other fees.

[1] At Ramapo College, an adult student is a student who is financially independent, meaning that he/she is 25 years or older, married or in a civil union, a veteran, has dependents other than a spouse, or is an orphan or ward of the court.

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