Office for Prior Learning Assessment

PLA Academic Portfolio Assessment


If there is no available exam to help you demonstrate what you’ve learned, we can work with faculty members to help you create an academic portfolio to reflect your knowledge. Your portfolio will include a letter of intent, a resume, a narrative and any supporting materials you may have (certificates, awards, letters of recommendation, etc.) to document your mastery of course learning objectives. Portfolio credit options include general electives, subject-specific electives, and individual course equivalencies.


Getting Started

Before beginning the portfolio process, students should:

  • Make an appointment with the PLA Director. Ashley can be reached by phone at 207-780-5909 or by email at At this appointment, you’ll talk through what kind of portfolio you could do, review previous portfolio submissions, determine (if necessary) a faculty evaluator, and develop a timeline for completion.

  • Register for the portfolio development workshop. This is a non-credit workshop that guides students through the portfolio process. This workshop is required of ALL students creating portfolios.

If you have been trained as a Certified Academic Tutor or a Resident Assistant (RA) at USM please contact the Office for Prior Learning Assessment for information on your portfolio options. Specialized porfolio options are available for students who have completed projects with the Center for Furniture Craftmanship in Rockport, ME (for up to 15 credits).

Portfolio Submission

The documentation submitted proves students’ understanding and competence in a particular subject matter. When finished with the portfolio template and any necessary accompanying documentation, students should submit the final product to the Office for Prior Learning Assessment. Students working directly with a faculty evaluator can submit their final documentation to the evaluator. The evaluator will use the Faculty Portfolio Evaluation Rubric to make a determination about academic credit. This rubric is also available as a webform. Faculty can complete the webform or the paper form and send it to our Office.

Once the evaluation is complete, students will receive an email from the Office for Prior Learning Assessment outlining the number of credits earned and the payment procedure. The fee for service is $50 per credit hour for undergraduates and $100 per credit hour for graduate students. Students can make payment by completing the Portfolio Payment Form and mailing or dropping off payment. We are able to accept check or cash in the Office for Prior Learning Assessment. The Student Financial Services offices on all three campuses are able to accept cash, check, or credit. Students wishing to mail payment can use the physical address listed on the form.

Federal financial aid cannot be used to pay for portfolio credits. Students interested in using military benefit or vocational rehabilitation funding to pay for portfolio credits should contact Lorrie Spaulding, our Veterans Services Coordinator at for more information.


Student Portfolio Payment Form
Faculty Portfolio Evaluation Rubric
Faculty Portfolio Evaluation Rubric Webform
Portfolio Template 
Portfolio Development Workshop Registration Form