Leadership Studies

Prior Learning Assessment and the LOS Major

Get credit for what you've learned!

USM Students posing for camera

How it Works:

If you have college-level learning from work, volunteer, or life experience, you may be able to use Prior Learning Assessment to earn academic credit at USM. In the LOS major, students typically use learning from management, human resources, conflict resolution, law enforcement, and informal leadership experiences as a basis for earning credit.

In order to earn credit, all learning must be demonstrated through one of the following processes:

Credential Review

  • Students who have completed Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLETP) at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy can earn 6 credits of LOS 3.XX (LOS electives), in addition to 9 credits of GEL 1.XX (general electives). Students who have completed full-time law-enforcement training in other states should contact the PLA Office to have their program reviewed for credit.

  • Students who have passed the SHRM-CP or the SPHR exam can earn credit for LOS 312 Human Resource Management (3 cr). Credit will only be granted for one ofthese certifications. Students must submit proofofthe credential to the PLA office.

  • Credential review credit is posted to your transcript at no charge.


Students may take standardized multiple-choice exams for the following courses:

  • LOS 302 Organizational Behavior

  • LOS 312 Human Resources Management

  • MAT 120 Statistics (equivalent to LOS 120 Statistics for Informed Decision Making)

In addition to any fees charged by the testing company, USM charges a $30 administration fee per exam. These charges are assessed whether a student passes the exam or not.

Academic Portfolio

Students with appropriate learning from experience can gain Leadership faculty approval to complete up to 6 hours of LOS credit through a written portfolio process. Students must first meet with the PLA office and complete the free, non-credit bearing, online portfolio development workshop. Undergraduate portfolios are charged $50 per credit per credit hour requested for the final LOS faculty evaluation. You will also need to access the textbooks listed on the relevant course syllabi.


For more information, please visit:  https://usm.maine.edu/prior-learning-assessment

Contact us at priorlearningusm@maine.edu


Please Note:
LOS 299, 300, 350, the LOS practium, and the LOS 400 Capstone may NOT be completed through PLA.
Students must complete LOS 300 and 350 with a grade of B- or better before attempting portfolio credit. 


A printable PDF of this information can be found here.