Adult Student Outreach

Prior Learning

Opportunity for Adult Students

Adult students at UW-Whitewater have the opportunity to request credit for classes currently available through the catalog. The process is simple. Interested students contact the Coordinator for the Credit for Prior Learning Program ( or the Adult Student Services Coordinator ( to request an application.

During the application process, you will work with the program coordinator to determine your eligibility for the program and the courses for which an application is most likely to be successful. This will involve matching classes in the UWW catalog with your work and life experience.

Once you are accepted to the program, you will enroll in an online course. You will enroll in 1.5 - 4.5 credits, 1.5 credit for each course request.

In your online Credit for Prior Learning class, you will put together one portfolio for each class request. The portfolio will be a collection of artifacts and reflections that demonstrate the learning you have already done and how it relates to the learning objectives for the course for which you are requesting credit.

If you complete the portfolio, you will automatically earn credit for the online portfolio class. Your portfolio will also be submitted to an expert in the appropriate field. This evaluator will read the portfolio and determine whether or not sufficient learning has been demonstrated for credit to be earned.

In addition to earning credits more efficiently and less expensively, students often appreciate the process itself:

"My perspective has changed dramatically from when I started the process . . . to now. I don't hold myself back."

"I'm more confident than when I started back to school."

"I'm able to take [work] plus academic experiences and have even greater success."

"Prior to this program I don't think I had the self-esteem or the confidence to even look for a job. I would have skimmed [the job postings] and moved on. I ended up getting a job . . . I was able to articulate my self-worth."

"I am more patient than I thought, I am smarter than I thought, I have a lot of knowledge in there and I can use it."

Many different classes across campus have been successfully challenged, including the following majors, disciplinary areas, and degrees:

  • Art History
  • Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences
  • Communication
  • Computer Science
  • Criminology
  • Early Childhood
  • English
  • Foreign Language
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Media Arts and Game Design
  • Physical Education/Coaching
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • Special Education

College or Department policy and the expert opinion of faculty and instructors determines whether or not students can seek credit for particular courses. Sometimes an accrediting body prohibits or discourages use of Credit for Prior Learning as well. The following departments are unable to accept CPL toward their major:

  • Accounting
  • Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health
  • Social Work
  • CoBE primarily works with internship credits

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater's credit for Prior Learning program allows for three portfolio challenges. Student portfolios are evaluated by disciplinary experts for demonstrated learning at the appropriate college level. Entrance into the program is decided by the Credit for Prior Learning administrator in collaboration with advisors and disciplinary experts. We are guided by the University of Wisconsin-System policies. For more information about UW-System policies and suggested practices see the following:

To read more about the UW System Credit by Prior Learning Assessement procedure click here.

To review the UW Principles and Guidelines for Quality Prior Learning Assessment click here.