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.


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 and EXCL x001.

How to Apply for Prior Learning

Before you can participate in Prior Learning programs, you will need to apply and be accepted to UMGC. Once you are a student at UMGC, you can get more details about signing up for Prior Learning programs in the Current Students section.

Jeep Fortuna Student Alum Education Teaching

While I was in construction for 15 years, I reached out to UMGC, was enrolled as an undergrad, and went through Prior Learning, which is a great program that gave me credit for all of that experience I had outside of the classroom.

Jeep Fortuna

Distance Education and E-Learning Master's Degree with Distance Education Technology Specialization