Credit for Prior College-Level Learning and Advanced Standing

Most degree programs at SUNY Empire State College include some credit for college-level learning acquired outside of the college. This learning is called advanced standing and can come in many forms. The college accepts credit that is appropriate to the degree program and includes it on your SUNY Empire State College transcript. Advanced standing takes the following forms.

Transcript Credit From Regionally Accredited Colleges and Universities

SUNY Empire State College recognizes transfer credit acquired through other regionally accredited colleges and universities. In order for the credit to be directly transferable, the college or university must be regionally accredited or a candidate for accreditation at the time of your attendance. A list of the regional accreditation agencies can be found online at the Student Degree Planning Guide web page.

New York State Education Department Recognized Institutions

SUNY Empire State College accepts credit from degree-granting institutions within New York state that have been approved by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) to award college-level degrees at the time of attendance. This includes independent and proprietary-sector institutions, such as some New York state business schools.

International Transcripts Requiring Evaluation

SUNY Empire State College accepts college credit earned at other accredited institutions internationally. Transcripts from most international institutions must be evaluated by one of the approved foreign credential evaluation services listed below.

  • Academic Evaluation Services, Inc. (AES)
  • Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (ECE)
  • Educational Perspectives (EP)
  • World Education Services (WES)

Standardized Examinations

SUNY Empire State College accepts many types of standardized examinations that have been evaluated for college-level credits. If your results meet the guidelines established by the college for earning credit, you can use those credits toward your degree program plan when:

  • You have completed the examination during the specific time period covered by the evaluation and credit recommendation;
  • An official score report is received by SUNY Empire State College directly from the testing service.

As with all advanced standing, standardized examination topics should fit into your degree program by strengthening your concentration or adding breadth and depth to your general learning.

SUNY Empire State College accepts the following standardized examinations.

  • Advanced Placement examinations (AP)
  • Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE)
  • British A-level examinations
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
  • DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST)
  • Excelsior College Examinations (UExcel Exams)
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) advanced subject tests
  • Modern States Education Alliance - Modern States
  • New York University foreign language proficiency examinations
  • Thomas Edison Credit Examination Program (TECEP)

Before you decide to take an exam, you should speak with your mentor to determine if it is appropriate for your degree.

The American Council on Education (ACE)

“The ACE National Guide to College Credit for Workforce Training” contains ACE credit recommendations for formal courses or examinations offered by various organizations, from businesses and unions to the government and military. Credit recommendations apply only to training received during the period of time, at the locations and for the length of time listed in the guide.

National College Credit Recommendation Service (National CCRS)

National CCRS evaluates courses, training programs, licenses and/or certificates. Credit recommendations apply only to training received during the period of time, at the locations and for the length of time listed in the directory. You can view their credit recommendations on their website for each organization through their course credit recommendation directory.

Military Training

Many types of military training and occupations have been evaluated for college-level credit through the American Council of Education (ACE). Empire State College accepts credit recommendations for any military training or occupation that has been evaluated by ACE. If you are an active-duty, guard, reserve or veteran service member, the Office of Veteran and Military Education at SUNY Empire State College will assist you with requesting and reviewing military documentation, as well as provide other information and resources. You can reach OVME via email, phone, fax or online at:

Veteran and Military Education
518-587-2100, ext. 2779 or 800-847-3000, ext. 2779
fax 518-587-5483

SUNY Empire State College Professional Learning Evaluations

SUNY Empire State College evaluates some licenses, certificates and training programs and courses provided by industry, professional organizations, agencies and companies, and recommends college credit that can be used in an SUNY Empire State College degree. A list of the current SUNY Empire State College professional learning evaluations can be found online at the Student Degree Planning Guide web page. SUNY Empire State College has some expired evaluations, but if you acquired the learning during the original dates indicated on the credit recommendation you still may use the credits. Your mentor and the Office of Academic Review at your regional administrative office have more detailed information regarding program evaluations and available credits.

Individualized Prior Learning Assessment (iPLA)

SUNY Empire State College is committed to the idea that students should be awarded credit for verifiable college-level learning regardless of where or how it was acquired. Many students have gained knowledge from sources that are not validated through traditional coursework, standardized examinations or evaluated professional learning. This learning can be evaluated through the individualized Prior Learning Assessment process. Individualized Prior Learning Assessment (iPLA) is the process by which students are able to explain and document their college-level learning and be assessed by an expert evaluator. Each year, more than 4,000 SUNY Empire State College students complete the iPLA process. Most students who go through the process find it satisfying, affirming and worth the time and effort. For current information on the fees associated with individualized Prior Learning Assessment, please visit Fees at SUNY Empire State College.

Consult the individualized Prior Learning Assessment (iPLA) Guide or the Student Degree Planning Guide for more detailed information.

SUNY Empire State College Studies

You also will include SUNY Empire State College studies in your degree program. SUNY Empire State College offers a rich array of modes of study: guided independent study, online learning courses, seminar-style study groups and intensive residency-based study to name a few. You may combine modes of study to suit your schedule, circumstances, learning style, learning objectives and available resources.

Each study is designated liberal or nonliberal, advanced or introductory level, and lists whether it satisfies SUNY General Education Requirements. For an associate degree, you must successfully complete at least 24 credits while enrolled at SUNY Empire State College, and for a bachelor’s degree, you must successfully complete at least 31 credits while enrolled at the college. For more information on SUNY Empire State College studies, see the chapter titled Learning Opportunities.