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Prior Learning

Learn how to translate your workplace, community, and volunteer activities into UMGC credit.

At University of Maryland Global Campus, our students bring a wealth of experiences—from the workplace and community and volunteer activities—to the classroom. We value the learning you've acquired outside of the classroom, and we offer ways to turn those experiences into credit by demonstrating what you know.

Benefits of Prior Learning

  • Save time: The average degree-seeking student at UMGC who works full-time completes 9 credits of coursework per year. Successful completion of a Portfolio (a written description of your college-level learning and a collection of documents that verify your college-level learning) or course-challenge examinations can cut years off of the degree-completion process.
  • Save money: Credits awarded through the Prior Learning assessment are evaluated for a fee that is lower than the cost of tuition.
  • Gain understanding: The Portfolio process helps you understand the many ways you have acquired learning through your full or part-time jobs and community and volunteer activities outside the classroom.
  • Value knowledge: Earning credit through Prior Learning programs helps you find value in lifelong experiential learning.

How to Earn Prior Learning Credit

UMGC provides two Prior Learning programs designed to translate experiential learning into college credit: Course Challenge and Portfolio. 

Course Challenge

Through Course Challenge, you can 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. Read the Course Challenge criteria to see if you qualify. 


Portfolio provides a unique way for you to document your college-level learning through previous experience. You are guided through the process in two courses:

  • EXCL 301: During this 3-credit course, you create a portfolio describing and documenting your learning experiences. The portfolio is evaluated by faculty members who determine the amount of credit you should be awarded.
    • Students must meet eligibility requirements and gain acceptance into this course.
  • EXCL x001: In this noncredit course, which is offered online twice each semester, you are given access to EXCL 301 course materials, and you work at your own pace to develop additional portfolios for faculty review.
    • Completion of EXCL 301 with a grade of 'S' is required. Applying to this course is not required.

Please read our frequently asked questions about portfolio development before applying for these courses. 

How to Apply for Portfolio


Application Deadlines

Applications for EXCL 301 and EXCL x001 must be submitted before registering for the course. For specific session dates, please view the academic calendar.

Learn More About Prior Learning Programs

Prior Learning Course Challenge
Learn how to earn college credit by passing a final exam equivalent at UMGC.

Prior Learning Portfolio
Document life experiences that may qualify as college credits through UMGC's Portfolio program.

Workplace Learning

Learn how to earn credit for skills you learn on the job while studying at UMGC. 

Contact Us

Our helpful admissions advisors can help you choose an academic program to fit your career goals, estimate your transfer credits, and develop a plan for your education costs that fits your budget. If you’re a current UMGC student, please visit the Help Center.

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