Credit by Portfolio

Bellisario College Credit by Portfolio Policy

Eligibility and Parameters

Students must be enrolled in a communications major or in the digital multimedia design major. Students who are not enrolled in one of these programs are not eligible for the credit-by-portfolio process through the Bellisario College.

Students cannot earn credits through the process for courses that are required in their majors.

Students can earn up to six (6) COMM credits through the credit-by-portfolio process. However, it is important for students to know that completing the credit-by-portfolio process does not guarantee that the credits will be awarded.

The process must be completed prior to the semester the student plans to graduate; the Bellisario College will not accept portfolios during the semester a student intends to graduate.

Credits cannot be earned through the process if the student has already earned credit for an equivalent course (e.g., a student cannot earn three credits by successfully completing COMM 100N and then attempt to receive three credits for COMM 100N through credit by portfolio).

Similarly, students cannot earn credits through the process and then earn credits for an equivalent course (e.g., a student cannot be awarded three credits of COMM 100N through credit by portfolio and then register for and complete three credits of COMM 100N).

Students cannot earn credit for internships or independent studies through the credit-by-portfolio process (e.g., COMM 495, COMM 496). Students must complete work for internships and independent studies during the semester they are registered for those course credits.

Credits earned through the process are included on the student’s transcript; like transfer credits, students do not earn grades through the credit-by-portfolio process.

Credit by portfolio awards full course credit; there is no partial credit awarded.

To earn credit through the process, a student’s portfolio must demonstrate that:

  1. the student has fulfilled all course-level learning objectives for a specific course;
  2. the credits do not duplicate credits already earned; and
  3. the experience the student has is current within the present field of communications.


Student fills out a University Credit by Portfolio application.

  • Student meets with Jamey Perry, assistant dean of academic advising in the Bellisario College, to determine 1) if the student is eligible to pursue credit by portfolio, and if so, 2) which COMM course(s) would be most appropriate for the student to pursue through the process.
  • The Bellisario College then determines the faculty member who will advise the student’s portfolio process.
  • The faculty member meets with the student to determine 1) if the student’s experience is appropriate for the course that has been chosen and 2) if the student’s experience is current in relation to the field of communications.
  • Student then pays the application fee of $390. (According to University policy, fee must be paid prior to the submission of the portfolio). Please note: Students pay Credit by Portfolio fee whether credits are earned or not. This fee is nonrefundable.
  • The student completes the portfolio based on the criteria below. Student submits the final portfolio no later than the first day of the semester before the semester they intend to graduate.
  • Faculty member reviews portfolio within four weeks of submission.
  • If a revision is needed, the faculty member will provide specific information to the student about portions of the portfolio that need to be revised. Revisions are due within two weeks of the initial decision.
  • The student can only revise the portfolio one time during this process. (According to University policy, there is no appeal process beyond this second review.) If the faculty member determines that the portfolio does not fulfill the requirements, the student either does not earn the credits, or the student can apply and go through the process again if the Bellisario College deems it appropriate.
  • The Bellisario College will notify the student whether the portfolio has been approved and credits awarded before the start of the next semester.

Please note: Completing this process does not guarantee that credits will be awarded. The student’s portfolio must meet the criteria stated above (the portfolio demonstrates fulfillment of all course-level learning objectives; the credits do not duplicate credit already earned; the student’s experience is current within the context of the present field of communications).

Portfolio Criteria

Portfolios should include the following information:

  • Title Page
  • Copy of Disclosure Agreement(s), if required, by employers
  • Table of Contents
  • CV/Resume
  • Personal Statement (1 page)—overview of student’s professional experience relevant to the course credits being pursued through the portfolio submission and explanation of why this course is relevant to the student’s experience.
  • Demonstration of Course-Level Learning Objectives (15 – 20 pages) – student demonstrates practical and theoretical learning derived from professional experience as it relates specifically to all the course-level learning objectives in the course. Student must clearly connect professional experience with every course-level learning objective by describing specific experiences and providing specific work samples.
  • Work Samples —student provides professional examples that demonstrate mastery of course-level learning objectives. These can include but are not limited to publications, presentations, reports, websites, project summaries, journalism articles, photographs, videos, podcasts, press kits, films, licenses, certificates, evaluations or reviews, letters of reference or recommendation, professional correspondence. Brief work samples (e.g., a photograph) can be embedded within the body of the portfolio. Longer work samples (e.g., journalism article, presentation slide deck) should be included as appendices. Each Work Sample should be identified with date, description, purpose, audience and student’s role in creating or using the sample.
  • References (books, articles, websites, software) that were used during the professional experience should be included.
  • Portfolios may be hard copy or digital, depending on the content being submitted. The type of submission (e.g., hard copy or digital) will be determined by the faculty member, in conjunction with the student. All content in the digital portfolio must open/be accessible.