Prior-Learning Recognition

(Approved by the Senate on February 28, 2017)

The University of Ottawa recognizes that academic and professional pathways are non-linear and that learning can occur by taking university-credited courses (or their equivalent) as well as in professional experience, self-teaching, non-credited courses or microprograms, workplace training, Indigenous community engagement, community involvement and in other situations. Prior-learning Recognition (PLR) allows students who have acquired knowledge and developed skills in a non-traditional manner and in a variety of contexts 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 enrol in a program of studies at the University of Ottawa.

The request must be submitted once the student has accepted the offer of admission, or during the first study term as a University of Ottawa student. (The assessment period may be lengthy.).

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

Only courses scheduled at the University of Ottawa within the last 36 months can be submitted for advanced standing.

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

Second and foreign language skills acquired outside the university may qualify for exemptions, but not for equivalences.

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 units appear on an official transcript, but do not count toward 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 Faculty offering the course.

The procedures and Request for Prior-learning Recognition form are available on the University website at