At the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS), we understand that you bring life experience and work accomplishments to the table when you start your education. We recognize that you have developed skills in your life journey and it may be possible for you to apply that experience toward earning your degree.
We want to help you ease your transition as you take the next step toward your future. We offer accelerated learning options that allow you to progress in your coursework by demonstrating mastery of key topics.
Accelerated Learning within a Competency-Based Framework
Ideal for those students who have industry experience and prefer a more self-directed style of learning and want to complete their program in the shortest time possible. Unlike a typical online course which follows a prescribed timeline, the competency-based model at USAHS awards credit based on student learning, not time spent in the course. As soon as a student can prove mastery of a particular set of competencies, he or she can advance to the next competency.
- Earning credits by demonstrating mastery* through a rigorous assessment and working at a personalized pace
- Moving through topics you are comfortable with quickly and focusing on academic areas of importance to you
- Engaging in learning activities that align with clearly defined outcomes
- Receiving proactive guidance and support from faculty and staff
- Accelerating your time-to-degree (for select programs)
*Relevant prior work experience required.
Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)
Students will be able to submit a portfolio that specifically outlines how they have achieved learning outcomes through experiences which may include prior coursework, employment trainings, teaching, practice, publication advocacy or learning activities. PLA is offered in the Transitional DPT and Post-Professional OTD programs and may allow you to shorten the time to degree completion by leveraging your prior experience.
Prior Learning Assessment offers students the opportunity to receive academic credit for professional experience, accelerating time to completion and reducing cost.
- PLA credit allows the student to utilize professional experience(s) for consideration to receive credit toward a 6-9 credit maximum* of programmatic requirements by meeting specific course related outcomes as evaluated by Program Directors using the 3-point Competency Evaluation rubric consistent with American Council on Education (ACE) and The Council for Adult Education and Learning (CAEL) standards. PLA credit can be used in conjunction with transfer credits up, students are limited to a maximum of 25% of their credits through another means (transfer, PLA, etc).
- PLA is only available to newly enrolled post-professional students beginning (Fall, 2017). PLA credit does not count toward the annual minimum credit requirement to maintain active status.
- During this initial pilot, students may not apply to transfer credits into the program in addition to PLA. As more research is conducted on state by state regulations on maximum credits required from institution conferring the degree, this could be adjusted, at present that may not transfer additional credits beyond PLA.
*BPPE regulations: Of the first 30 semester credits awarded a student in a graduate program, no more than 6 semester credits may be awarded for prior experiential learning. Of the second 30 semester credits (i.e., credits 31 to 60) awarded a student in a graduate program, no more than 3 semester credits may be awarded for prior experiential learning. No credit for experiential learning may be awarded after a student has obtained 60 semester credits in a graduate program.
Contact your academic advisor for more information on USAHS Accelerated Learning options.