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Natural Sciences prior learning policy

Note: While the steps in the DNS policy are greater in number than the "steps in the Prior Learning Process" set forth by the University, the DNS steps are consistent with the University steps.

1. Read Information on Prior Learning Assessments (PLAs or Priors) -see Student-Directed Learning below.:

See Student-Directed Learning page below
University Policy #2150 - Prior Learning Assessment
Minnesota State Procedure 3.35.1

2. Identify the DNS subject or course in which you think you have gained knowledge through life or work experience that might meet the Prior Learning Criteria. This may include coursework or seminars for which you have not received college credit (e.g., workshops, training). Note: "priors" may not be done for courses due to certification requirements. The Masters of Biology Curriculum unit currently does not allow "priors" in their program. Credit for Prior Learning cannot be used to meet the General Education Goal III Natural Sciences requirement.

3. Contact the appropriate DNS faculty evaluator in your topic area. The name of an appropriate evaluator can be obtained by contacting the Department Chair. The faculty evaluator will determine whether or not your knowledge might potentially constitute college-level learning and is equivalent to a DNS course.

4. Meet with the designated faculty evaluator to discuss your competence. The purpose of this meeting is for the evaluator to determine the depth and breadth of knowledge you have attained in a particular subject. In order to help the evaluator make this determination, you will need to provide the evaluator with copies of the following: a) transcript; b) resume; c) list of all of the subject areas for which you are requesting credit for prior learning; and d) if you are a College of Individual Studies student, your degree plan. The faculty evaluator will determine if the assessment of prior learning process is appropriate for you. If so, s/he will outline the work you need to do to validate your competence and will tell you how you will be evaluated (e.g., reports, work documents, certificates, a resume, an oral interview, test, etc.). The evaluation will usually consist of two or more methods. S/he will also tell you how many credits the prior will be worth.

  • Consult the Metropolitan State Academic Calendar to determine the last day of a term for which you can register for a creative learning strategy (e.g. Prior Learning Experience).
  • If you receive financial aid or military benefits, check with the Registrar's Office to determine when you may need to register for the "prior" in order to have those credits count for that term's benefits.
  • You may register for either a letter grade or for S/N evaluation unless the faculty evaluator specifies otherwise.

The college dean's office will forward the approved Prior Evaluation Proposal form to the Registrar's Office for processing and copy the faculty evaluator. A Learning Evaluation (LE) form will be sent to the faculty evaluator by the Registration Office.

Submit work for assessment to the faculty evaluator.

A faculty member will evaluate your submitted work, complete the LE form, and send it to the Registrar's Office.

The Registrar's Office will send you a copy of the completed LE form and the letter grade or S/N will be recorded on your transcript.