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Recognition of Prior Learning

We respect all forms of learning and acknowledge that adults learn at a university level from a variety of sources and experiences outside of the academic classroom. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) aims to allow mature students who are seeking admission to enter studies at a graduate level without a Bachelor of Arts or a GRE score through an accessible, fair and rigorous process. Please contact the Registrar's Office for more information.

Bachelor of Arts RPL Full Resource Guide

Information about Recognition of Prior Learning in Canada

Assessment and Admission

We recognizes RPL credit on a case-by-case basis if the individual's learning has reached the range and depth of knowledge and skills expected of a student who has completed a Bachelor of Arts (see the BA Learning Outcomes). By recognizing RPL credits, we aim to enhance the student's educational goals and to assist in their academic development while reserving our mandate of ensuring that appropriate academic standards are maintained.

In accordance with our Mature Student Status policy, an adult learner must be 30 years of age or older. Applicants will need to be able to prove that their skills are current and that those current skills are equivalent to the list of BA Learning Outcomes.

Seminary admission will only be granted for learning, not merely experience. RPL applicants must demonstrate that they are currently competent in the skills and abilities expected of someone who has graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. Providence will not issue a Bachelor of Arts based on an applicant's RPL Assessment. If the applicant is successful, admission to the Seminary will be granted without a Bachelor of Arts.

Time and Cost

The RPL process requires a fee of $995 (effective Sept 1, 2017). RPL application fee is subject to change and is used to pay the administration staff and the Faculty Assessor and must be paid in full before your assessment. It is non-refundable, regardless of the success of the application.

RPL also requires a significant time commitment, as applicants must compile a portfolio/evidence collection that demonstrates they possess skills equivalent to those of a Bachelor of Arts graduate. The process may take anywhere from 3-6 months to prepare your portfolio. Portfolio assessment will take 2-4 weeks once submitted.

The RPL Process is outlined in detail in the Resource Guide. An RPL Coordinator is available to help applicants at all stages of the RPL process, from general inquiries to portfolio development and submission. Contact the Registrar's Office for more information. The following is an overview of the procedure:

Pre-Entry/Initial Advising

  • Explanation of RPL process and policy
  • Identification of BA Learning Outcomes
  • Self-assessment
  • Completion of RPL Application Form and payment of RPL Process Fee

Portfolio Development / Evidence Collection

  • Group workshops with personalized assistance
  • Gathering information / documentation
  • Sorting, compiling information / documentation
  • Formatting finalized portfolio

Submission of Portfolio for Assessment

  • RPL Assessment Forms are added to portfolio
  • Portfolio is sent to Faculty Assessor(s)

Results of Portfolio Assessment

  • Applicant is notified of results by Registrar's Office
  • Appeals process (if necessary)
  • Continuing guidance from the RPL Office as required

We recognizes RPL credit on a case-by-case basis if the individual’s learning has reached the range and depth of knowledge and skills expected of a student who has completed a Bachelor of Arts. Mature students applying for RPL should be able to do the following:

Knowledge and Understanding

  1. Demonstrate a broad knowledge of the Arts and Sciences
    • Describe two or three life/learning experiences with English, History, Philosophy, Music or Theatre
    • Describe two or three life/learning experiences with Psychology, Sociology
    • Describe two or three life/learning experiences with Mathematics, Computer Science, Pure and Applied Science
  2. Discuss their major field of study confidently and competently
    • Describe the basic history of their major field of study
    • Explain at least one key topic in the contemporary study of their field
    • Identify the basic concepts, theories, and perspectives important to their field, including critical, interpretive, historical, cultural, and social approaches to that field

Academic Skills

  1. Employ critical thinking skills for discernment and/or analysis of situations, texts, and ideas
    • Develop coherent ideas for use in theory and debate
    • Interpret texts carefully for key ideas, meanings, and fallacies
    • Distinguish objective knowledge from hypotheses and opinions to develop sound arguments
  2. Communicate effectively to share knowledge
    • Use theoretical terms and perspectives important to their field
    • Listen and ask questions to appreciate others’ viewpoints
    • Respond critically but respectfully to others’ ideas for improved understanding
    • Write and speak in clear and compelling ways to ensure audience engagement
    • Adapt presentation for a variety of audiences
  3. Write clear, succinct, and well-argued papers for academic evaluation or publication
    • Conduct independent, self-motivated research to gather information
    • Select and evaluate information sources to employ those sources professionally
    • Synthesize information to formulate an argument
    • Edit and revise their argument to ensure excellence

Practical and Professional Abilities

  1. Apply theoretical principles practically to achieve successful projects and tasks
    • Identify areas requiring improvement
    • Theorize effective improvement methods to present for implementation
    • Plan, design, and carry out a project or task with well-defined outcomes
    • Analyze the project or task’s effectiveness for adjustment as necessary
  2. Collaborate with others to develop plans and reach goals
    • Respect diversity of ideas, worldview, social status, ethnicity, sexuality, and religion
    • Help develop clear purpose and objectives for team work
    • Accept and provide feedback in a constructive manner
    • Support or lead as appropriate, contributing to the team and motivating for high performance
    • Manage and resolve conflict when appropriate
    • Demonstrate positive attitudes and behaviours
  3. Take initiative for personal empowerment and collective growth
    • Assume responsibility for their own well-being and the well-being of others, as well as for the success of their work
    • Invent and suggest alternate ways to achieve goals
    • Foresee complications to plans for timely preparation and resolution
    • Solve any problems creatively and efficiently
    • Evaluate their work to identify both success and methods of improvement

These outcomes are the primary rubric against which prior learning will be evaluated. In order to qualify for full Seminary acceptance (with a Bachelor of Arts equivalency), portfolios and evidence collections must demonstrate that learners have achieved these outcomes at a GPA level of 2.5 or 60% competence. Special admission may be granted in exceptional cases where applicants do not meet the BA Learning Outcomes but have demonstrated to the faculty that they are suitable for Seminary studies.

RPL Policy

  • The RPL program is only available to students entering Providence Theological Seminary who meet the criteria for mature student status. Certain Seminary faculties may determine additional requirements for eligibility.
  • Application for RPL credit should be initiated 6 months prior to the desired semester start date (e.g. in March if the student wishes to begin studies in September).
  • Students who are accepted to the Seminary based on RPL will be on probation for the first 15 credit hours of their study at Providence. An appropriate faculty member will then evaluate them for acceptance into their programs. Refer to section 2.1 of the Academic Catalogue for details of the Seminary Admissions Policy.
  • When appropriate academic experts consider what kind of credit will be granted for Prior Learning, they will select from the following options:
    • 2 credits: BA Learning Outcomes met at 60% or higher competence. Full acceptance granted.
    • 1 credit: BA Learning Outcomes not met at 60% competence. Acceptance pending additional documentation/special permission.
    • 0 credits: BA Learning Outcomes not met at 60% competence. Acceptance denied.
  • Acceptance recognized by the appropriate Faculty Assessor will be approved by the appropriate Department Chair and by the Dean.


  1. Credit is only awarded for learning that meets Providence's standards, whether acquired through study or experience.
  2. In each instance, the determination of competence and credit awarded must be made by appropriate academic experts chosen by the relevant department.
  3. Policies and procedures applied to assessment, including provision for appeal, shall be fully disclosed and prominently available.
  4. Fees charged for assessment shall be based on the services performed in the process and not determined by the amount of credit awarded.
  5. All personnel involved in the assessment of learning shall receive adequate training for the functions they perform, and there shall be provision for their continued professional development.
  6. Assessment programs shall be regularly monitored, reviewed, evaluated, and revised.