Approaches to Earning Undergraduate Credit
Matriculated students at Saint Peter’s University may complete degree requirements in a number of ways. The traditional way is by taking courses. Other alternatives include:
- Advanced Placement sponsored by the College Entrance Examination Board;
- College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
- Cooperative Education;
- Service Learning;
- Prior Learning - involves the submission of an experiential learning portfolio for the evaluation of credit; (SPCS only)
- Evaluation of certain non-collegiate programs taken under the aegis of the Armed Forces and/or some courses given by industrial firms and business corporations evaluated by the American Council on Education.
Students may earn no more than 30 credits towards their degree through any combination of the above programs, not to exceed 15 credits of Prior Learning or CLEP. (Students pursuing Associate's degrees, should consult with the dean’s office for advisement.)
Credit for advanced placement is granted by the department responsible for the particular discipline. The scores needed on advanced placement examinations administered by the College Entrance Examination Board may vary by department; consult department sections for more information. If credit is granted for an introductory course in the major, a department may require a student to substitute another more advanced course.
College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
Saint Peter’s University grants credit for CLEP examinations within the following guidelines.
- On the General Examinations, the University grants credit for scores equal to or above the fiftieth percentile, determined by national college sophomore norms.
- On the Subject Examinations, the University grants credit for scores equal to or above the standard score based on the recommendations of the Council on College Level Examinations.
Students should check with an advisor or the appropriate dean before taking CLEP examinations in order to make sure that the particular examinations will be acceptable for credit, and also that the examinations do not duplicate courses for which they have earned credit already. Freshmen may not take CLEP examinations in lieu of the University’s composition requirement.
The Center for Career Engagement and Experiential Learning
The Center for Career Engagement and Experiential Learning (CEEL) embraces a comprehensive and developmental approach to career preparedness. The Career Engagement and Experiential Learning team engages students in a high-quality personal and professional experience from the time of admission until graduation. The activities aim to: help students discover strengths and build upon important skills; secure opportunities to gain practical experience through internships, service learning, and part-time jobs; and develop the tools for networking and job searching in order to reach their respective career objectives. The Center for Career Engagement and Experiential Learning serves all students, both traditional and adult learners, at the undergraduate and graduate degree levels.
The Center for Career Engagement and Experiential Learning offers a program of experience-based educational enrichment designed to enhance a student’s academic and personal development and to contribute to an understanding of work and careers. The program consists of a series of planned and supervised off-campus working experiences which may be integrated with independent academic study under the tutelage of a faculty member. Students participating in cooperative education or internship experiences may earn a salary and/or academic credit. In addition to internships offered through the Center for Career Engagement and Experiential Learning, many academic departments offer credit-bearing internships as well, and in some cases, a department-based internship may be required for the major. Credit-bearing experiences offered through the Center for Career Engagement and Experiential Learning are designated by the course number 295 prefixed by the department or program sponsoring the experience, e.g. UR-295, EL-295, etc. Credit-bearing internships offered through academic departments are designated by different course numbers; consult individual departments and course offerings for details.
Cooperative Education and Internship experiences offered through the Center for Career Engagement and Experiential Learning are available for students in any major as well as for those who are undecided about their major field of study. Students interested in participating should register with the Center for Career Engagement and Experiential Learning during the semester preceding the work experience. Those interested in a summer and/or fall placement should register with the Center no later than the preceding March. Students who wish to work during the spring semester should register no later than the preceding October. All credit-bearing experiences offered through the Center for Career Engagement and Experiential Learning must be approved by the instructor, the appropriate Dean’s Office, and the Center for Career Engagement and Experiential Learning.
Through the Center for Career Engagement and Experiential Learning, three basic plans for Cooperative Education are available. On the Alternating Plan, students alternate periods of full-time work with periods of full-time study. On the Parallel Plan, students work part-time while attending classes on a full-time basis. On the Job Enrichment Plan, students work on a new full-time or part-time assignment for their present employer. Credit is available for each plan, but no more than three semesters of Cooperative Education may be taken for credit and no more than nine credits toward the degree may be granted for Cooperative Education.
Office for Community Service and Service Learning
Rooted in the Jesuit tradition of educating Men and Women for Others, the Office for Community Service is affiliated with Campus Ministry and directly implements the University’s mission “to prepare students for a lifetime of learning, leadership, and service to others in a diverse and global society.” Through participation in meaningful volunteer and service learning experiences with more than thirty Hudson County nonprofit agencies and religious organizations, Saint Peter’s students and faculty directly contribute to social justice activities and the empowerment of local constituencies. In their roles as tutors, mentors, outreach workers, researchers, and social work assistants, students share their time and talent with their neighbors in need of encouragement, support and assistance.
Through community service projects and service learning in the classroom, students are encouraged to share the benefits of their college experience and invest their time and skills with non-profit agencies and schools with limited resources. To support the student’s service experience, the Office facilitates training and discussion sessions that stimulate reflection about the relationship of service to one’s personal, intellectual, and spiritual growth. Selected courses incorporate community service as a required component, with faculty guiding student reflection about their service through discussions and journals.
The Evaluation of Non-Collegiate Courses for Credit
Credit may be granted for courses taken under the auspices of the Armed Services, if the courses are evaluated in A Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experience Gained in the Armed Services and if the credits are applicable to the student’s degree program.
Credit may also be granted for certain in-service courses taken under the sponsorship of a business or industrial organization if the course carries a specific credit evaluation in The National Guide to Educational Credit for Training Programs, compiled by the American Council on Education or the NY PONSI Program.
Prior Learning Experience
Matriculated students at the School of Professional and Continuing Studies may earn credit for prior learning gained through work experience, in-service courses exclusive of those programs already evaluated by the American Council on Education, community service activities, unique travel experience, and special accomplishments in the arts.
Students who wish to apply for Prior Learning credit must submit a portfolio which demonstrates the learning gained through the experience. The portfolio consists of an application, a detailed resume, an essay, and appropriate documentation in support of the essay. A separate essay and supporting documentation is required for each course for which the student is requesting credit. Students work closely with a faculty member in the appropriate departments.
The guiding principles for granting credit for prior learning are as follows:
- Credit is not granted for experience, but for the knowledge gained as a result of the experience.
- Students must be able to demonstrate that their experiential knowledge is equivalent to a specific course or academic discipline offered by the University. The course number and description must accompany each portfolio submitted.
- Students may not apply for experiential credit which is the equivalent of a course, a CLEP test, or nursing validation examination for which credit has previously been earned.
Students are eligible to apply for the evaluation of prior learning if they are matriculated students in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies, in good academic standing with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 and have earned at least 18 credits exclusive of developmental courses at Saint Peter’s University.
Procedures for Declaring Candidacy for Prior Learning Credit
Students must meet with the appropriate dean to determine the feasibility of earning such credit. At this time, the student will complete an application and interview to determine that a.) credit has not been earned for these experiences in any other way and b.) the experience is eligible for evaluation. Eligibility for evaluation does not guarantee acceptance or award of any credits. Students must file an application for Prior Learning credit with the appropriate dean after they have satisfied eligibility requirements and provided appropriate supporting documentation and information. Portfolios will be evaluated by the appropriate department.
Portfolios are evaluated by faculty members whose competencies are pertinent to the experiences submitted for evaluation. Credits will be awarded for specific courses and will be identified on the transcript as experiential learning credits. (Grades are not assigned to experiential credits.) Students who wish to appeal the results of a portfolio evaluation may address their request to the appropriate dean.
A portfolio evaluation fee is payable in full when the application is accepted and before the portfolio is assessed for credit. The check for the proper amount must accompany the portfolio at the time of submission. A fee per credit, with a maximum of 15 credits to be earned experientially, will be assessed for credits actually awarded.