Credit for Prior Learning encompasses ways degree-seeking University of Southern Maine students can earn academic credit by demonstrating what they’ve learned from work and life experience. Using these processes can save you time and money as you earn your degree.

Find descriptions of CPL processes below or contact the CPL team for more information.

USM accepts a number of national exam programs for credit. Find USM credit equivalencies at the links below:

Information on sending exam scores to the University can be found by clicking the “Send exam scores to USM” link in the left-hand navigation menu.

To schedule a CLEP, DSST, or BYU FLATS exam on the Portland campus please complete the online registration form.

Current USM students who want to schedule an ACTFL OPI exam should visit the MyUSM CPL page for more information.

Challenge examinations are developed at the discretion of faculty who teach the course and are available to degree-seeking University of Southern Maine students.  Challenge exams might take the form of an interview, an oral presentation, a performance or demonstration, a written test, or a combination of formats. Credit is earned with a passing grade. Current USM students should visit the MyUSM CPL page for more information.

USM students may be able to earn credit for certain state, national and industry certifications, if those credentials represent significant seat time and learning comparable to that encountered in the college classroom.  Credentials must be current (not expired) and not provisional to be reviewed by the CPL office.

Current USM students should visit the MyUSM CPL page for more information.

A list of the CPL office’s most frequently reviewed credentials can be found at this link.

Academic portfolios are documents degree-seeking USM students assemble to show how learning from their professional experiences, community work, or their own personal interests meets one or more of their degree requirements.

Portfolios usually involve a letter of intent, resume, extended essay and/or presentation, and documentation of student learning experiences. Current USM students should visit the MyUSM CPL page for more information.

“During my last year at the University of Southern Maine, I used the Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) program to earn eleven credits for my Internship portfolio and a Somali language exam. I’m glad I had the chance to work with the CPL team. I was encouraged and helped throughout the whole process. They were patient and helped me learn new ways to organize and improve my writing skills. I was able to pass my remaining classes for the spring semester because the process was so straightforward. I strongly believe that the credits I earned from the CPL program pushed me to finish my degree.”
— Zeynab Muhidin ’21, Social and Behavioral Sciences major