Skip to main content

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition

Students and Prospective Students

What is PLAR?

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is the process of identifying, assessing and recognizing what a person already knows and can do for the purpose of awarding academic credit..  Prior learning is learning acquired outside University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) courses, typically through professional, work or life experiences, independent study, or through completion of courses that are not eligible for transfer credit under UFV’s Transfer Credit policy. 

There are two primary methods of assessing prior learning:

  • Course Challenge process: The student’s learning is evaluated through an examination or other final evaluation process to obtain credit for a specific course.
  • Portfolio Assessment:The student’s portfolio is assessed against the learning outcomes of a course or program. A portfolio is a collection of documents, objects, and other evidence compiled by the candidate that demonstrates tangible proof of learning and reflection on the learning. 

Students need to complete transfer credit assessment before pursuing PLAR.

NOTE: Credits obtained through PLAR and through transfer credit do not apply to program residency requirements (i.e. the portion of a program that must be completed through UFV courses) or towards the UFV GPA.

Find out about learning vs experience

Am I a Good Candidate?

The following criteria is a guideline only, and is not meant to be exhaustive. Contact your academic advisor or a faculty member to discuss your personal suitability.

Your employment history:

  • You have at least five years of experience in one job or a number of closely related jobs.
  • You have learned and continually upgraded your skills within your field of employment.
  • You have a career plan and understand the place of educational goals within my career plan.
  • You have entrepreneurial experience.

Your educational history:

  • The knowledge and skills that you possess are a result of informal education such as classes taken at a night school or through your employer or non-formal such as hobbies or independent study.
  • You have taken post-secondary education that could not be given direct transfer credit.
  • You have foreign credentials that have not been recognized in Canada which were completed with the past 5 years 


  • You have a credential that could not be given direct transfer credit, the credential is more than five years old but after completing the credential you continued to have learning experiences (employment, volunteerism, continuing professional development activities) in or outside of Canada  reflecting your field of study. 

Your personal history:

  • You have volunteered your skills in the community.
  • You are willing to take time to document your learning and explore ways to have it evaluated.
  • You can provide evidence of your skills and knowledge.

After reading a course outline you have thought one or more of the following things:

  • I’ve done this type of work before.
  • I’m doing this type of work now.
  • I feel comfortable that I already know how to do what is required in the course, but I’m not sure what evidence I can provide to prove it.

Am I Eligible for PLAR?

PLAR is available to applicants who have been admitted to UFV programs and to UFV students who are currently enrolled in credit courses or eligible to register under re-admission regulations.

Students are not permitted to pursue PLAR for any body of learning that previously has been taken for credit at UFV, has been assessed for prior learning, or is eligible for transfer credit, even if credit was not earned. Students who have attended any other post-secondary institutions need to have their transcripts evaluated for transfer credit before pursuing PLAR.

Only credit applicable to the student’s intended or current program of studies at UFV, in a discipline taught at UFV, will be assessed.  Official course outlines will indicate whether credit through PLAR methods is available.

How do I get started?

The department head or director for the discipline approves requests for PLAR. They also determine whether program-based assessments are available, and, in consultation with the student, will decide what PLAR assessment method(s) are most appropriate.

If I'm approved for PLAR, what then?

  • You will be charged a non-refundable fee, payable in advance, to proceed with the PLAR assessment.
  • Regardless of the method of assessment used, you must demonstrate learning that meets the learning outcomes of the course or program in order to gain credit. The faculty evaluator determines the level and amount of credit supported by the assessment and assigns the final grade.
  • Once you have registered and paid for PLAR assessment, withdrawal is not permitted other than through the appeal process, when extenuating circumstances beyond your control prevent you from completing the assessment.

Success Stories

Click on a student to view their success story

Dorothy - Child and Youth Care

Portfolio Assessment: Credit obtained for skills, knowledge and abilities she demonstrated that were gained in her regular job

Alexandre - Modern Languages Russian

Course Challenge credit for speaking, reading and writing his native language