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Credit for What You Already Know

Philip D. Adams
By Philip D. Adams

One of the best ways to reduce the time and expense of higher education is by taking fewer classes. Being able to do that while still completing all the requirements of your academic program is what credit for prior learning is all about. It allows you to shorten the path to your degree, save money, and avoid duplication of effort.

As the #1 public university for transfer students, we understand your needs and know how to get you the most credit for your past learning. We recognize that college-level learning happens in different ways—on the job, in the military, from volunteer work, and through life experience—as well as in the classroom. That’s why we make it easier for you to advance your education with transfer credits from a variety of sources.

How Much Credit Can I Get for Previous College Coursework?

You can also transfer up to 70 credits toward a bachelor's degree from an approved community college. Through the Community College Alliance program at UMGC, if you’ve earned an associate degree from any Maryland community college, your credits will transfer seamlessly toward a bachelor's degree. And with the UMGC Completion Scholarship, you can complete a bachelor's program for $12,000 or less, well below the typical tuition cost for in-state students.

Graduate students can also jump-start their degrees with transfer credits at UMGC. Starting in fall 2023, you could be eligible to transfer up to 12 credits toward a master's degree or up to 6 credits toward a graduate certificate.

Can I Get Credit for Military Education and Training?

UMGC recognizes military service and education as college-level learning. If you’re an active-duty servicemember or veteran, you can earn applicable credit for the study you’ve completed in service schools and in Military Occupational Specialties. UMGC will review your military transcripts for experience to determine transfer credit based on recommendations from the American Council on Education.

Can I Test Out of Courses at UMGC?

Passing an approved examination for credit, or “testing out” of courses, is another way to get closer to your degree. You can earn credit toward an associate or bachelor's degree, provided your test scores meet university standards and there is no course duplication.

Does UMGC Give Credit for Work Experience? 

At UMGC, you can turn your job experience into upper-level credit that aligns with UMGC courses. The Workplace Learning program allows you to earn up to 6 credits per semester (up to 45 total undergraduate credits) by setting up a learning agreement between your employer and a faculty mentor and submitting academic assignments related to your workplace learning experience.

To qualify for Workplace Learning, you must

  • Be enrolled at UMGC as an undergraduate degree-seeking student
  • Have completed 30 credits total, and at least 6 credits at UMGC
  • Have completed 9 credits of coursework in the courses related to your field
  • Have a cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 or better at UMGC
  • Have a completed official evaluation on file
  • Be engaged in new learning on the job

Workplace Learning allows you to earn academic credit for new work experiences performed on jobs, in volunteer experiences, and internships. These experiences provide opportunities to explore career plans, to apply knowledge learned in the classroom and to experience a working environment within your field of interest.

Does UMGC Give Credit for Life Experience?

UMGC values the knowledge and skills you've acquired over your lifetime, so we offer two prior learning programs designed to translate experiential learning that aligns with UMGC courses into college credit.

  1. Course Challenge: Through this program, you earn credit by passing the equivalent of a final exam. Credit can be earned for almost any undergraduate course for which UMGC can prepare and administer a suitable examination or assessment. (Some courses are excluded.)
  2. Portfolio: UMGC provides this unique way for you to document experiences that align with UMGC courses and verify the college-level learning that you’ve earned through previous experience that aligns with UMGC courses, as you are guided through the process in two courses: EXCL 301 and EXCL x001.

Developing a portfolio or taking course-challenge examinations can cut years off your degree program. Credits awarded through prior learning assessments are evaluated for a fee that is lower than the cost of tuition.

In addition, the prior learning process helps you understand the many ways you have acquired learning outside the classroom through your full- or part-time jobs, your community activities, and your volunteer work. Earning credit through UMGC’s prior learning programs helps you find value in lifelong learning.

Estimate Your Transfer Credits

How many credits will you be awarded through previous courses, standardized exams, and military training? Your number will depend on what you apply for and the UMGC degree you're pursuing. You can estimate your potential undergraduate transfer credit using this transfer credit tool. If you're looking to evaluate graduate transfer credit, use UMGC's online evaluation form to request an assessment. For prior-year transfer credit requirements, refer to the applicable catalog for your degree or certificate program.

At UMGC, we're dedicated to helping busy professionals like you earn the credit you deserve so you can graduate sooner, save money, and prepare for your next success.


Learn More About Transfers and Credit at UMGC

A UMGC admissions advisor can answer your questions and help you get started.


Reference on this webpage to any third-party entity or product does not constitute or imply endorsement by UMGC nor does it constitute or imply endorsement of UMGC by the third party.