There are four main sources of college credit gained through work experience:
- Course Challenge Examinations
- EXCEL Through Experiential Learning
- Foreign Language Credit by Examination
- Workplace Learning
Learning Gained through Experience
Learning acquired outside the college classroom may be assessed for credit toward a degree with UMUC. There are two primary ways students can make use of life experience for possible college credit: Prior Learning and Workplace Learning. Details on each method follow. Academic Advisors can help in determining the best routes to use in fulfilling any academic plan.
The Prior Learning program teaches students to identify, articulate, and gain academic credit for the college-level learning they have gained through work and life experience. Students may earn credit for college-level learning acquired outside the classroom through two avenues: course-challenge examinations and Portfolio. As many as 30 credits may be earned through a combination of course-challenge examinations and Portfolio and applied toward the bachelor's degree. However, no more than half the credits required for an undergraduate major, minor, or certificate program may be earned through Prior Learning (Portfolio and course-challenge examinations) and credit by examination. Any excess credits awarded are applied where appropriate in the student's program of study.
Credits awarded are applied where appropriate in the student's program of study.
UMUC credit can be earned for any undergraduate course for which UMUC can prepare and administer a suitable examination (called a course-challenge examination). Academic Advisors can inform students about courses that may not be challenged by examination. Degree- or certificate-seeking students at UMUC who have received an academic advisement report official evaluation of transfer credit and have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0 in UMUC coursework should carefully review the rules, procedures, and limitations described at www.umuc.edu/priorlearning or may contact a UMUC Asia Academic Advisor to begin the process and learn how to apply for these examinations.
Course-challenge exams are not intended as a substitute for independent study. Students may be required to show evidence of prior learning before being authorized to take a course-challenge exam. Credit may be applied toward a first or second bachelor's degree. No exam may be taken more than twice, and course-challenge examinations may not be taken for courses for which the student has previously enrolled. Only one course in a sequence may be tested at one time and students may not take an exam for a course that is a prerequisite for a higher-level course they have already taken.
Credit earned by course-challenge examination earns a letter grade, according to the exam score, that is computed in the grade point average. However, this credit may not be applied to the requirement for graded coursework in the student's major. Students may not receive credit for introductory courses in their native language.
Exams may only be canceled before the student receives the exam paper. Refunds are given only if a suitable exam cannot be prepared. More information on course-challenge examinations is available by contacting the UMUC Asia Office of Student Affairs or at www.umuc.edu/priorlearning.
Portfolio is a unique way for students to articulate and identify college-level learning they have gained from work, community or political involvement, or other noncollegiate experiences and gain credit for it. Students wanting more information about this program should contact an Academic Advisor.
To be eligible for Portfolio students must:
- Complete a Portfolio application.
- Complete an orientation.
- Meet basic standards in writing (either by having taken a college writing course or by qualifying for WRTG 101 on the writing placement test).
- Be in good academic standing at UMUC (not on academic warning or probation).
- Have submitted all transcripts, exam scores, and military documents related to coursework and experience (e.g. miltary occupational specialty (MOS) scores) to the Office of Evaluations.
Enrollment in EXCL 301 Learning Analysis and Planning is required. In this 3-credit course, the student prepares a portfolio describing and documenting college-level learning gained from past experiences. Because EXCL 301 is a demanding and complex course, part-time students should not register for more than one other course during the session in which they are enrolled in EXCL 301.
Students who successfully complete EXCL 301 with a grade of S and submit a portfolio for evaluation may enroll in a supplemental class to complete additional portfolios. Such a class confers no credit and may not be applied toward degree completion. Addi-tional information on this option is available through the Prior Learning office.
EXCL 301 is graded on an S/D/F basis. If the quality of work in the portfolio merits a grade of C or higher, a grade of S is awarded and the portfolio is forwarded for credit evaluation. Faculty members from the appropriate academic disciplines assess the portfolio and recommend whether to award credits. Credit earned as a result of portfolio evaluation also earns a grade of S. The S grade is not computed in the grade point average and is not applicable toward honors. If the quality of work in the portfolio merits a grade of D or lower, the portfolio will not be forwarded for credit examination.
Experiential-learning credits may be awarded at both the upper and lower levels. Although a maximum of 30 credits may be earned through Portfolio, the average award is between 15 and 18 credits. These credits are considered UMUC resident credit. However, they do not fulfill requirements for graded coursework and so may not exceed half the total credits for a major, minor, or certificate.
Credit for EXCL 301 is charged at the current tuition rate. Fees are also charged for enrollment in the program, portfolio evaluation, any additional evaluations, and credits awarded. Students receiving financial aid must pay all Portfolio fees.
Students should carefully review the requirements, rules, and procedures for Portfolio. More information may be obtained at www.umuc.edu/priorlearning or by contacting an Academic Advisor.
Foreign Language Credit by Examination
UMUC foreign language examinations are available for credit to students completing degree requirements with UMUC. To be eligible for a UMUC foreign language examination, a student must have completed at least 15 credits of UMUC coursework and must have had an Official Evaluation. The University reserves the right to determine the native language of a student and the level of exam to be taken. Students who have attended elementary or secondary schools in which instruction was in a language other than English can establish credit in that language only for certain courses, and will be required to submit translated transcripts and a summary of educational experiences. Requests for foreign language credit by exam should be sent to
Office of Student Affairs
Unit 5060 Box 0100
APO AP 96328-0100
If credit by examination is approved, the student will be contacted by the Registrar.
Workplace Learning offers and opportunity for students to gain experience and develop new knowledge and skills In their chosen discipline while earning upper-level college credit through an integrated model that puts theory into practice, thus enabling them to accelerate completion of both their academic and career goals.
To be eligible for Workplace Learning, students must:
- Be seeking a degree or a certificate in which Workplace Learning credit may apply.
- Have completed 30 credits, including transfer credit, toward a degree (if seeking a degree).
- Have completed at least 9 credits in the discipline in which they plan to do their Workplace Learning project.
- Have completed at least 6 credits at UMUC
- Have a GPA of 2.5 or better at UMUC.
- Be working in a position that offers an opportunity to apply classroom theory to practical projects that involve significant analysis and problem solving and are directly related to a given academic discipline. (Position may be paid or unpaid, part- or full-time.)
Students interested in pursuing a Workplace Learning experience must first develop a learning proposal that identifies several project tasks representing the new learning to be acquired as a result of the work experience; a faculty member in the appropriate discipline must then approve the learning proposal to ensure that it constitutes upper-level college learning. Once the learning proposal is approved, the student is given permission to register for Workplace Learning. The learning proposal is then developed into a three-way learning contract among the employer, the student, and the faculty mentor.
Throughout the Workplace Learning experience, the students work under the supervision of the employer on completion of several of the identified project tasks and the faculty mentor on the completion of the academic assignments required to earn college credit for their work experience. The project tasks for the employer constitute the course content, which is augmented by the reflective academic assignments written for review by the faculty mentor. Students are required to communicate regularly with their faculty mentor throughout the Workplace Learning session, which typically lasts 15 weeks.
Students may earn either 3 or 6 credits during the Workplace Learning session. To earn 3 credits, students must devote at least 12 hours per week to tasks providing new learning (for a total of 180 hours during the Workplace Learning session) and complete a minimum of four project tasks identified in the learning contract. To earn 6 credits, students must devote at least 20 hours per week to project tasks (for a total of 300 hours during the Workplace Learning session) and complete five to eight project tasks identified in the learning contract.
Workplace Learning projects may be developed in all undergraduate disciplines. Courses are listed in the UMUC Catalog with the designator of the discipline and numbered 486A (for 3 credits) or 486B (for 6 credits). For example, a 3-credit Workplace Learning in business and management would be listed as BMGT 486A, a 6-credit as BMGT 486B. Tuition for the Workplace Learning course is charged at the current rate per credit, and an administrative fee is charged each time the student enrolls.
Students may apply up to 45 Workplace Learning credits to their bachelor's degree (12 credits for a second bachelor's degree). Certificates that include a Workplace Learning option typically accept no more than three credits of Workplace Learning coursework. Workplace Learning courses may not be used to satisfy general education requirements or (unless specified) required academic coursework in the major. However, Workplace Learning credits may be applied to electives as well as to designated upper-level supplemental requirements in the major or minor. A standard letter grade is awarded for successful completion of Workplace Learning courses. It is strongly recommended that students consult with a UMUC Academic Advisor to determine how Workplace Learning credits may help them fulfill degree requirements.
For more information, students should review the information, policies, and procedures detailed online or contact the UMUC Asia Student Affairs Director at DSN 225-3680.