Prior-learning recognition

(Approved by the Senate on February 28, 2017)

The University of Ottawa recognizes that learning can occur by taking university credited courses (or its equivalent) as well as in professional experience, self-teaching, non-credited courses, workplace training and in other situations. Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) allows students who have acquired knowledge in a non-traditional manner to receive advanced standing for a course (specific course code) offered at the University or, in certain instances, to be granted an exemption.

Any specified advanced standing recognized by a Faculty is done on behalf of the University and therefore should be recognized by other faculties.


To have prior learning recognized and to receive advanced standing an individual must first be admitted to and register for a program of studies at the University of Ottawa.

The request must be submitted during the first study term as a University of Ottawa student. (The assessment period may be lengthy. For this reason, it is strongly suggested to submit the request at the beginning of the first study term).

A request for prior-learning recognition applies only to undergraduate students and courses in the following faculties and school: Arts, Engineering, Health Sciences, Management, Sciences and Social Sciences.

Only courses scheduled at the University of Ottawa within the last 24 months can be submitted for recognition of advanced standing.

Advanced-standing credits are awarded strictly for courses offered that already exist at the University of Ottawa and are part of the student's program of studies.

A maximum of 30 units is granted for prior learning recognition.

Advanced standing is granted only if the knowledge is equal to that of the students taking the course.

Advanced-standing credits appear on an official transcript, but do not count as University of Ottawa residency requirements (that is, courses students must follow at the University of Ottawa itself).

Units obtained for prior learning might not be recognized by the discipline's licensing body or professional association.

Should advanced standing for prior learning not be granted, students can submit a written appeal of the decision to the dean - or to the dean's representative - of the School or Faculty offering the course.

The procedures and Request for Prior-learning Recognition form are available on the University website at: request-for-prior-learning-recognition-regi3170_0.pdf