Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Policy Guidelines
Prior Learning Assessment is a method by which a student may, with appropriate evidence and documentation, be able to obtain credit for learning acquired outside of and prior to admission to the university.
At OCAD University, Transfer Pathways/Prior Learning Assessment describes three broad categories:
- Advanced Standing: admission into second year or the beginning of third year through the awarding of block studio credit based on a portfolio review and/or evidence of work completed in an art or design program at another post-secondary institution. In cases where OCAD U has negotiated an articulation agreement with another post-secondary institution, block transfer credit for work in a specified program may be possible without a portfolio review.
- Transfer Credit: the awarding of credit towards a degree, usually on a course by course basis, for work done at another post-secondary institution.
- Course Challenge: the awarding of credit for knowledge acquired outside of formally accredited educational programs that coincides with a specific credit course or courses offered at OCAD U.
General Principles for all categories
- The combined credit recognized by any one or all of the above methods may not exceed 50% of the total credit required to complete an OCAD U bachelor's degree (see Residency Requirements).
- Additional transfer of credit will not be granted towards a minor
- Only course work completed at an accredited post-secondary institution may be considered in categories 1 and 2 listed above.
- Eligibility for Prior Learning Assessment does not constitute entitlement to credit.
- All decisions on Prior Learning Assessment are final.
Students who have attended an accredited post-secondary art or design program for a minimum of one full year may apply for admission with Advanced Standing at the discretion of the University.
- Advanced Standing entails block credit for studio and studio/seminar courses only. (For liberal studies courses, please see Transfer of Credit or Course Challenge.)
- Students awarded Advanced Standing are admitted into second year or the beginning of third year of a specific program.
- Students may be required to take specified studio or liberal studies courses at a lower year level in addition to their second or third year program requirements.
Applicants without previous Design or Art education may apply to first year only. The first-year portfolio review will determine whether the applicant should be considered for Advanced Standing.
OCAD U currently has Articulation Agreements with the following Post-Secondary Institutions:
- Yukon School of Visual Arts
- Fleming College (Visual and Creative Arts Diploma - VCAD)
- Georgian College (Fine Art - Advanced Diploma)
- Humber College (Interior Decorating Diploma)
- Fanshawe College (Fine Art - Advanced Diploma Program)
Please contact Tammy Madden, Admissions Officer or call 416-977-6000, Ext. 308 for more information.
Students who have attended an accredited post-secondary institution may apply for Transfer Credit:
- All post-secondary transcripts/documentation must be presented to Admissions & Recruitment at the time of admission for possible transfer consideration. Decisions are made in consultation with the appropriate Dean or designate.
- All transfer credit should be processed and awarded at the time of admission.
- Normally, a maximum of 1.5 studio credits will be awarded to newly admitted first-year students who have not been granted Advanced Standing based on a portfolio review.
- A maximum of 1.5 History and Theory of Visual Culture (VISC) credits including LBST 1B03 and LBST 1B06, may be approved for transfer.
- Only those credits with a final mark of 65% or higher will be eligible for consideration for Transfer Credit.
- Contact hours must total a minimum of 36 hours for 0.5 credit of OCAD U courses, with a minimum of three weeks instruction.
- The minimum credit granted for transfer is equivalent to 0.5 credit. By exception, 0.25 transfer credit may be awarded where 0.25 credit courses are required for a specific OCAD U degree program.
Applicants must submit the following documentation:
- Official transcript(s)
- Course descriptions
- Detailed course outlines (syllabi)
Second Degrees, Second Studio Discipline, and the Transfer of Credit
Entering students with a completed undergraduate degree in a discipline other than studio art or design may transfer liberal studies credits towards their OCAD U degree, but not more than 50% of Visual Culture (VISC) requirements. Students wishing to pursue a second studio discipline must consult with the appropriate studio Faculty as will as the Faculty of Liberal Studies regarding program requirements.
Transfer of Credit Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
Transfer of Credit Application - Studio Credits (PDF)
Transfer of Credit Application - Liberal Arts & Sciences Credits (PDF)
Transfer of Credit Appeal (PDF)
Students who can demonstrate that they have acquired - through informal or unconventional means - the knowledge covered by a specific course offered at OCAD U may apply for Course Challenge, subject to the following:
- Course Challenge is only available to students who have been admitted to OCAD U.
- A request for permission to challenge a course must be submitted before the end of the second week of classes.
- Students may normally challenge no more than 2.0 credits.
- Not all courses may be challenged. Please consult with the relevant Faculty Office before submitting a request for permission to challenge a course.
- Students must present evidence of prior learning and receive permission to challenge a course for credit from the Dean or designate of the Faculty offering the course.
- Credits gained through Course Challenge cannot be used to fulfill the University's residency requirements.
- Students who are successful in challenging a course for credit will receive a grade of P on their transcript. The grade of P has no numerical equivalent and is not included in the calculation of grade point average. The grade of P may not be applied in any way toward application for scholarships, bursaries or loans.
- Credit will only be awarded for work meeting the standard expected of students who successfully complete the course with a grade of 65% or better.
- Students may not challenge a course for credit if they have previously registered in that course or its equivalent at OCAD U or another university. Exceptions to this rule will be made for students who have been withdrawn within the first two weeks of a course or whose former university no longer possesses the official records required for Transfer Credit (i.e., universities in war zones).
Please contact the Office of the Registrar for more information on Course Challenge.
OCAD U is the sole arbiter of standards for admission to its areas of study and bases its offers of admission on the evidence of an applicant’s interests in working within, and ability to benefit from, OCAD U’s programs of study and course offerings.
The maximum number of credits that may be accepted for transfer is limited by OCAD U's residency policy, which requires a student to complete a minimum of 50% of her/his graduation requirements at OCAD U. As well, two out of a student's three final semesters prior to graduation (assuming completion of 2.5 credits per semester), including the final one, must be completed in residence at OCAD U.
Students who have completed OCAD U credit courses before admission to a program may request that these courses be credited towards their program requirements. Approval is granted at the discretion of the appropriate Dean from the Faculty of Art, Design or Liberal Studies. For more information about Special Student Status please click here.
Obtaining a Second Credential
OCA/OCAD degree or diploma graduates may apply for admission to a second program leading to a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or a Bachelor of Design (BDes) degree. Interested applicants may apply as Advanced Standing candidates through the Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC) at www.ouac.on.ca
Graduates who hold a degree from another institution may apply for admission to a second program leading to a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or a Bachelor of Design (BDes) degree. Interested applicants may apply as Advanced Standing candidates through the Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC) at www.ouac.on.ca.
Second Credential Policy
- No student may receive two credentials at the same level in the same program/major.
- Students must be formally admitted to any program leading to a second credential.
- Registration in two programs must be sequential and may not be concurrent.
- A maximum of 10.0 credits from the first degree/diploma program may be transferred to the second program. The number of transfer credits and specific program requirements are to be determined in consultation with the Dean.
- No student may receive two AOCAD diplomas.