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For undergraduates

We recognize that you may already have had valuable learning experiences on the job, in the military or through previous certifications or credentialing. We are happy to help you decide which options you may want to pursue.

Here are some ways to consider earning credit for those learning experiences in life and work:

CLEP testing

The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) is designed to help you earn credit for what you already know and is the most cost-effective, and quickest way to earn that credit. Here are the steps you would follow:

  1. Review the approved UMassD list of accepted CLEP exams. See the "CLEP Exam Information" PDF on the Registrar's AP, CLEP, IB & CIE page.
  2. Select the exam that matches your knowledge base/appropriate course equivalency.
  3. Review the exam requirements, practice test and register for the exam at
  4. After taking the exam, if you have met the appropriate score, have the official transcript of the test results sent to UMass Dartmouth Registrar’s Office.  The credits and/or requirement waiver will be applied to your student record.

Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program, and Cambridge International Examinations (CIE)

These programs are all given consideration under varying circumstances. Please visit the Registrar's AP, CLEP, IB & CIE page for more information on each of these programs.

Credit through Military Training (Valor Act)

In accordance with the Valor Act, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth grants credit hours for military educational experiences as recommended by the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services. This is in accordance with transfer credit policies at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

The University will transfer no more than 6 credit hours for Basic Combat Training. Military education credit will be allowed for Baccalaureate credit with no limit on credit. However, students must complete all degree program requirements, the University 30 credit upper level requirement, as well as the University 45 credit in residency requirement. Baccalaureate credit will be allowed for Defense Language Institute and Defense Language Proficiency Test, which may satisfy the University’s language requirement for a BA degree. DSST credit will be granted provided passing score is achieved, as set by the ACE guidelines.

Students may request evaluation of military credit by sending an official copy to the University’s designee with a Joint Service Transcript (JST). The transcript may be obtained through their Joint Services homepage.

Evaluation of military credit will be conducted at the point of acceptance.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

You may earn credit for knowledge you have acquired on the job by considering course-specific or elective credit assessed by a faculty member to determine whether credit can be granted to meet a particular requirement. Contact us to discuss whether your prior learning will meet these standards:

  • combines practical and theoretical knowledge in ways appropriate to a given field
  • is of an appropriate academic level of breadth and/or depth and complexity
  • is represented in existing college curricula
  • is other than general knowledge

Interested in considering the PLA option? You are eligible to apply if:

  • You are currently enrolled in an undergraduate academic program and are in good academic standing.
  • You have already completed at least six credits at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
  • You understand that PLA credit is not considered part of your residency requirement.

What do I do to apply?

  • Talk with the PLA Coordinator to determine if your specific learning experiences would be appropriate for evaluation in the Prior Learning Process for Life and Work Experience.
  • Submit an application and the non-refundable $425 fee for assessment of each course you are pursuing for evaluation.

What happens next?

  • You will be notified by the PLA Coordinator about the method for completing your assessment. The assessment process may include an online preparatory workshop, a credited course, exams, projects or similar methods for assessing your comprehension of the subject content. For instance, an elective in humanities or the social sciences may involve registration in a credited course in addition to a research paper and/or projects that will be evaluated during the assessment. Business courses may require an online preparatory workshop, exams, and projects or research papers in combination to complete the assessment process.
  • You do not receive grades or points toward your GPA. If you pass the assessment, you will be awarded credit, posted as Prior Learning credit on your transcript with a grade of "P." If you do not pass the assessment, you will not receive credit, are not eligible for a refund of the fees and no results will be posted on your transcript.
  • If you have earned Prior Learning credit, you will be charged a transcription fee of $50.00 for each 3 credit hour course.
  • The College of Arts and Sciences and Charlton College of Business allow a maximum of 30 credits earned as a result of the assessment of prior learning to be applied toward your degree. No more than 9 credits earned as a result of the assessment of prior learning may be applied toward major requirements. This may vary by College and/or major.

For more information, please contact the Online & Continuing Education Office at 508-999-9202 or