Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition Policy


To establish a framework for assessing and recognizing credit for students’ prior learning.


This policy applies to all Seneca students and programs.

Key Definitions

Prior learning

Learning acquired outside of Seneca, typically through professional, work or life experiences.

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)

The process of evaluating the knowledge, skills and attitudes gained through non-formal learning for the purpose of recognizing it for academic credit.


A collection of documents, objects and other materials compiled by the PLAR applicant that identifies achievements and documents work and life experiences.


1. Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) Application and Evaluation

1.1 Seneca recognizes that in many instances the learning outcomes defined for an individual course can be achieved through a number of alternative means, including relevant work/life experiences, and provides the opportunity for these to be recognized at Seneca through PLAR.

1.2 A student may apply for prior learning credits at Seneca where mastery of the learning outcomes of a course can be clearly demonstrated through the assessment of a portfolio and/or by means of a challenge process.

1.3 A subject matter expert will select, administer and evaluate the PLAR to determine whether the outcomes of the desired course have been met. Program staff will provide information on the procedure for PLAR. Prior learning credit earned will be communicated to the student by means of a Seneca transcript.

1.4 A student has the right to appeal the decision, consistent with Seneca’s Academic Appeals Policy.

1.5 Credit earned through PLAR shall be recorded on the transcript using the standard grading mode for that course.

1.6 Granting of prior learning credits does not guarantee entrance into a program. In keeping with Seneca’s commitment to student access and student success, every effort will be made to facilitate a timely entrance into the candidate's program of choice.

1.7 If a student fails a course, they may only apply for prior learning credit in that course after one year has passed and they can offer a reasonable explanation of additional relevant learning.

1.8 Prior learning credit will only be awarded in a degree program for degree-level learning. No more than 50 per cent of a degree-level program may be awarded credit through PLAR.

2. Administration

2.1 PLAR decisions are monitored, reviewed and evaluated through Seneca’s Program Review/Quality Assurance process to ensure that the process is fair, reasonable and consistent.

2.2 Personnel responsible for determining prior learning credit receive training and support as appropriate.

Supporting Documentation

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Related Seneca Policies

Related Materials

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