Degree Program Plans

About the Educational Planning Process

Undergraduate students at Empire State College design individualized degree program plans within the context of their goals and advanced standing. Students are required to enroll for at least four credits in educational planning, within which they design their degree program and develop iPLA requests.

The degree program plan lists courses completed at previous colleges, college level learning obtained outside of the college classroom, and studies taken or to be taken at Empire State College. Advanced standing is evaluated in the context of the student's goals and the nature of the whole degree program, which precludes a piecemeal approach to the granting of credit.

Assessment of Prior Learning Within the Context of the Degree Program

Prior learning is evaluated within the context of the degree program plan. Credit is awarded if it is college-level and not redundant with other learning already identified in the degree program plan.

Prior learning is also reviewed for credit designations, which includes

As an evaluator, you are expected to provide your recommendation on these criteria, but the final determination of credit and designation is the responsibility of the student’s mentor and the center’s faculty assessment committee.

The degree planning process results in a portfolio that contains the following:

  1. a degree program plan
  2. a rationale essay, which explains the reasoning and research behind the choices the student made in designing the degree
  3. documentation supporting advanced standing credit, such as transcripts
  4. evaluator recommendation reports.

As a result, each student’s degree plan is a unique combination of their prior learning and Empire State College studies.

Viewing a Student's Degree Program

You can view the student's degree program plan through PLA Planner.

While in the PLA Request Screen, click "View DP" to review the student's degree program in a pop-up window. 

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