Skip to main content
Students can get prior learning credits at Cumberlands

Prior Learning Program

The Prior Learning Program allows students to gain credit for their professional and educational experiences that apply to their current coursework.  There are three pathways of Prior Learning credit that students can pursue.

  • Be sure to check out our FAQ below!
  •  

    Knowledge Exam

    Knowledge Exam (Undergraduate students only): A comprehensive exam to demonstrate mastery of the subject.

    1. Currently, UC Online offers Knowledge Exams in Spanish, French, First Aid, Health and Wellness, New Testament, and Old Testament.

    • Please work with your Student Success Coordinator and the Prior Learning office to schedule your exam.  Some exams have pre-scheduled offerings while others are scheduled based on student interest.  For example, Spanish and French exams are offered the first Wednesday of every bi-term from 5-8pm Eastern Time.

    2. You are only permitted to pursue each exam once.

    3. These exams are proctored by either UC Faculty or by a proctoring service.  If proctored by a service, there is a fee of $20.50.

    Experiential Credit

    Experiential Credit: Demonstrate mastery of subject by providing a narrative of your experience through guided prompts that align with the course objectives.

    1. You can attach artifacts such as a marketing plan, news articles, certifications, and more to provide as examples of work completed.

    2. The cost of pursuing Experiential Credit is $0. 

    Certification Credit

    Certification Credit: Demonstrate mastery of subject by providing a valid certification that aligns with the course.

    1. Examples: 

    • Google Analytics = BADM 333 Business Analytics
    • Certified Nursing Aide = NURS 100 Medicaid Nurse Aide
    • Global Information Assurance Certification = MSDF 531 Windows Digital Forensics
    • Food, Nutrition, and Health Development = HESS 333 Nutrition, and more!

    2. The cost of pursuing Certification Credit is $0. 

    If you are interested in pursuing Prior Learning:

    • Complete this SURVEY to see how you might earn Prior Learning credits. 
    • Discuss it with your Student Success Coordinator (Undergrad on-campus | Undergrad Online | Graduate) to see if there are opportunities within your degree plan.  
    • If you are a current student and if you are ready to apply, please review these instructions for completing the form and the application can be found through UC One and selecting “UC Reporting and Request Form” then selecting “Prior Learning Request” on the Report Type drop-down.


    Prior Learning Program Contact: priorlearning@ucumberlands.edu

    There are some limitations to earning Prior Learning:

    • Undergraduate: Students must complete 25% of their degree through University of the Cumberlands coursework and Prior Learning does not count towards this.
    • Graduate: Students may earn a maximum of 25% of the credit in the academic program for which they are enrolled through Prior Learning and at least thirty-three percent of the total semester hours in any degree requirements must be completed at the University of the Cumberlands (Prior Learning will not meet this requirement). 
    • Students must enroll in Prior Learning opportunities before their last semester at University of the Cumberlands.
    • Some programs limit Prior Learning opportunities due to accreditation as well including but not limited to Education, Counseling, and Executive Programs.   

    TESTIMONIALS

    “I wanted to thank you for everything you have done to help me along this journey.  I am thankful for the prior learning program and for being able to finish my degree one year early.  You have been amazing to work with and have answered every question that I had.  Thank you for your patience and for your willingness to go above and beyond.” - Anonymous Undergraduate Student

    “This program saved me probably upwards of $6-8k on my degree and shaved a year off. I can't tell you how much I appreciated the opportunity to prove my expertise and stay on track to complete my degree in a reasonable amount of time.” - Anonymous Graduate Student

    “I can't believe this program is available at no cost--this was already an affordable program, but to be able to apply for prior learning really speeds up my progress and even further decreases my costs!” - Anonymous Graduate Student

    Prior Learning FAQ

    What is Prior Learning  Program?

    The Prior Learning Program allows students to gain credit for their professional and educational experiences that apply to their current coursework. You can find more detailed information here.

     

    How do I get started?

    • Complete this SURVEY to see how you might earn Prior Learning credits. 
    • Discuss it with your Student Success Coordinator (Undergrad on-campus | Undergrad Online | Graduate) to see if there are opportunities within your degree plan.  
    • If you are a current student and ready to apply, please review these instructions for completing the form. The application can be found through UC One and selecting “UC Reporting and Request Form” then selecting “Prior Learning Request” on the Report Type drop-down.

    I have tried to complete the prior learning application, but I keep getting a 403 error message. Help?

    To attempt prior learning credits, you do have to be enrolled in courses, and therefore, you will not have access to the application within the program, Guardian.

    I want to apply for Prior Learning, but I am not sure what classes I might qualify for, can you help?

    It is best to first discuss your interest with your Student Success Coordinator or your Faculty Advisor. Once you have an idea of the remaining degree requirements, you can review the syllabi for those courses and determine which courses might be worth pursuing. By accessing Simple Syllabus then selecting “Syllabus Library” you can access any syllabi for any course.

    I took courses at another institution, is this where I send my transcripts?

    Prior Learning does not complete transfer credit. Please contact your admissions representative to process your transfer credits.

    How much credit can I receive through prior learning?

    UNDERGRADUATE: Students must complete 25% of their degree through University of the Cumberlands coursework and Prior Learning does not count towards this.

    GRADUATE: Students may earn a maximum of 25% of the credit in the academic program for which they are enrolled through Prior Learning, and at least thirty-three percent of the total semester hours in any degree requirements must be completed at the University of the Cumberlands. Prior Learning credit will not meet this requirement. 

    When can I pursue Prior Learning Credits?

    • Students must be currently enrolled at University of the Cumberlands to apply and pursue Prior Learning credits
    • Students must apply for Prior Learning before their last term at the University of the Cumberlands.
    • Students should not be currently enrolled in the course(s) they are seeking prior learning credit.

    What if my admissions decision is based on how many credits I will receive from Prior Learning?

    Prior Learning will be able to give you an idea of what you can apply for but not a definitive answer on receiving the credits. This is because the credits cannot transfer to another institution, so it is not worth your time to pursue Prior Learning credits unless you are definitely becoming a student with us.

    Can the credits I earn from Prior Learning be transferred to another institution?

    Most likely not. Another institution may also grant you Prior Learning credits, but it depends on the institution and their policies.

    I earned Prior Learning credits at another institution; will those transfer in?

    No, you will have to complete the Prior Learning process at University of the Cumberlands to receive Prior Learning credits.

    I have completed my survey, discussed my prior learning options with my Student Success Coordinator or Graduate Success Coordinator, and just completed the prior learning application process. Now what?

    Your prior learning application will be sent to the Department Chair for approval/denial. You should receive a confirmation email saying that your application was received within 2-3 business days. Please allow up to two weeks for an approval/denial email.

    What is the difference between Experiential and Certification prior learning credit?

    • Experiential Credit provides students with the opportunity to share and present documents and experiences from their past in alignment with course objectives. Students receive credit for the course in lieu of completing the course. Along with the documents, students provide a short narrative regarding the connection.
    • Certification Credit allows students to demonstrate mastery of a subject by providing a valid certification that aligns with the course. Validation and approval are required from the Department Chair.[JS3] [WP4] 
    • There is no cost associated with Experiential or Certification prior learning credit.

    What if I am denied Certification credit?

    Upon Certification denial, you will receive an email recommending you pursue Experiential Credit instead. There is no need to fill out a new application. If you are interested in this alternative, please respond to the email from priorlearning@ucumberlands.edu to express your interests.

    I was approved to pursue Experiential credit. What are my next steps?

    • You will need to be enrolled into a section of Blackboard to complete the portfolio(s).
    • The portfolio requires that you demonstrate knowledge through guided prompts that align with the course objectives outlined in the syllabus. The Blackboard course is a shell, and no content specific to your course will be included.
    • You can pull the syllabus for the course(s) here: University of the Cumberlands - Simple Syllabus.

    I am currently taking a full load of courses. Can I add a section of PLP?

    Yes, PLP courses are zero credit courses, so they do not affect course load hours or financial aid.  However, you should always consult with your Student Success Coordinator before applying and enrolling in Prior Learning opportunities.

     

    How many portfolios can I submit each bi-term?

    You can submit up to three portfolios in the same PLP course. When naming your portfolio(s), please make sure that you use the course name you are seeking prior learning credit.

    What if I am enrolled in the PLP course but I do not get my portfolio completed on time?

    Please email priorlearning@ucumberlands.edu to be enrolled in another section of the course for a different bi-term.

    What score do I have to make to receive prior learning credit on my portfolio?

    You would need to score a 70 or higher on your portfolio to receive prior learning credit for the course.

    What happens if I score below 70? Can I resubmit my portfolio?

    This is at the discretion of the Department Chair. Please email priorlearning@ucumberlands.edu to discuss.

    I submitted my portfolio. When will it be scored in Blackboard?

    Please allow your Subject Matter Expert 2-3 weeks to complete the review/scoring process.

    How does prior learning credit affect my Grade Point Average (GPA)?

    Credit for prior learning is listed as “CE” (credit experience) on your transcript, and it does not affect your GPA.