Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR)

Brandon University allows students who have gained university-level knowledge and skills through life and work experience to apply for academic credit.

PLAR is the process of determining whether an individual’s existing level of knowledge or expertise is equivalent to that gained through the successful completion of a university course, series of courses, or a program of study. A range of evaluation methods, as determined by the academic department conducting the assessment, may be used in PLAR, including examinations, demonstrations, interviews, and portfolio-assisted assessments. If equivalency of knowledge and skills can be demonstrated through evidence, then academic credit will be granted. Types of PLAR credit include course equivalent and unallocated credit.

PLAR Credit has been recognized in Arts, Science, Health Studies, and Music, in departments such as:

Business Administration, English/Creative Writing, Visual Arts, Languages, Native Studies, Sociology ǁ Applied Disaster and Emergency Studies, Biology, Mathematics/Computer Science, Physics ǁ Nursing, Psychiatric Nursing ǁ Music

Brandon University’s PLAR Coordinator will help students at all stages of the PLAR process from general inquires to portfolio development and submission.

The Prior Learning Assessment Process for Students at Brandon University:

Step 1 – Initial Consultation with BU PLAR Coordinator

  • Explanation of the BU PLAR process and policy
  • Consult with BU Faculty to finalize the scope of the courses and programs challenged through PLAR
  • Determine the method(s) of assessment to be used for each course or program challenged through PLAR
  • Consult with department members to attain current course outlines for use in developing a PLAR Portfolio or in preparing for another assessment method
  • Complete the PLAR application Form and pay the PLAR Application Fee

Step 2 – PLAR Assistance

Completion of Portfolio, if applicable

  • Consult with PLAR Coordinator on portfolio content and organization
  • Complete Personal Statements for Prior Learning (Learning Narratives)
  • Compile supporting evidence and documentation, and letters of support
  • Organize and format the finalized portfolio
  • Submit PLAR Portfolio to the Faculty Assessor(s),


  • Schedule and conduct other Assessment methods (e.g. demonstrations, exams, and interviews) with the Faculty Assessor, if applicable

Step 3 – Results of Assessment

  • Faculty Assessors complete and sign the PLAR Assessments Forms
  • Department Chair and Dean of the assessing Faculty or School approve the assessment
  • PLAR Applicant is notified by the Registrar’s Office of the PLAR assessment results

General Advice – Students / PLAR Applicants should know that:

Assessing prior learning may not be available for all academic programs at Brandon University.

Presenting false information used for the purpose of prior learning assessment will result in the revocation of admission status and the forfeiture of all PLAR credit awarded at Brandon University.

Elements of prior learning articulated for one demonstration of knowledge and skills cannot be used in subsequent demonstrations of prior learning.

BU PLAR credits may not be transferable to other academic institutions. Applicants should consult the Admissions Office of their intended institution or program for clarification on the transferability of PLAR credits.

For more information on PLAR, please contact:

Gary McNeely, PLAR Coordinator
University Registrar’s Office
Room 102-6, McKenzie Building
Phone: 204-727-7300

PLAR Guidelines and Policy