Credit for Prior and Experiential Learning

Did you know you may be able to earn college credits for college-level learning obtained outside of the classroom? Gain a head start toward your North Shore Community College certificate or degree by using the knowledge you have acquired through prior learning. College credit for life learning can be achieved by:

  • Successful scores on NSCC challenge/departmental or national exams.
  • Evaluation of certificates and licensures.
  • Evaluation of formal written portfolios documenting college level competencies.
  • Evaluation of documented training and previous coursework by assessment or special application.
  • Successful completion of specific Professional Education Pathway programs.

Alternative Studies: Prior Learning Assessment and Experiential Learning

At the Center for Alternative Studies and Educational Testing (CAS) you may be able to receive college credit through Prior Learning Assessment and Experiential Learning that takes place via volunteering, employment, seminars, workshops, completion of non-credit courses, military training, or cultural experiences. Through written work and documentation, students must demonstrate that specific course competencies are met. Through written work and documentation, students must demonstrate that specific course competencies are met. Find courses for which we offer credit for prior learning and experience options At NSCC you can earn college credit for certifications already obtained-find your list of pre-assessed experiences here. NSCC students whose native language is not English may earn up to 12 college credits through prior learning assessment or through the Seal of Biliteracy.

CAS Programs for Prior and Experiential Learning Credits

NSCC offers several options for prior and experiential learning credits to help you translate your learning into college credit. Please review the options below to find the one that works best for you.

Evaluation Credit by Course and/or Assessment (ECA)

The Evaluation Credit by Course and/or Assessment (ECA) option provides a mechanism for evaluating the college-level learning of students with varied backgrounds, who can document some combination of credit courses, assessments (which may include standardized test scores) and other certificates of training.
ECA Overview | Contact us to begin

Evaluation Credit for Certificate or Professional License (ECC)

Through Evaluation Credit for Certificate or Professional License (ECC) students may earn college course credit by presenting a professional certificate or license for off-campus training which has been evaluated by North Shore Community College faculty as equivalent to NSCC cataloged courses.
ECC Overview | ECC Policy | Contact us to begin

Evaluation Credit by Portfolio (ECP)

A portfolio is a student-prepared, written presentation documenting college level learning describing what was learned and how the learning was acquired. The Portfolio is designed to verify how experiences have contributed to learning which is relevant to college study. The final portfolio provides evidence that the student has developed skills knowledge and attitudes equivalent to those that would be learned as the result of taking a college level course.
Portfolio Overview | Contact us to begin

Directed Study

Students may request a faculty-directed independent study for cataloged courses. Faculty supervise, monitor and evaluate activities designed to meet course objectives as defined by an individualized "Directed Study" plan.
Directed Study Overview | Contact us to begin

Private Music Instruction by Directed Study

Music enthusiasts may apply to earn academic credit for private music lessons. This opportunity is offered through the collaboration of CAS and the NSCC Division of Liberal Studies. Voice and piano are offered each semester to enhance theory and music appreciation classroom options. Other instruments are offered based upon requests/availability of instructors.
Terms of Agreement | Contact us to begin

International Study

Students can enrich their educational experience through Study Abroad. NSCC currently offers three different faculty led study abroad programs (managed by CAS). International Study is included as a component of these cataloged courses which are instructed by a NSCC faculty member who accompanies the students abroad.

Special Departmental Agreements/Noncredit to Credit

Noncredit to credit options by Internal Articulation agreements allow certain non-credit courses and certifications to be evaluated for academic credit.
Evaluation Table | Contact us to begin

Credit by Examination

Credit by Examination allows college credits by exam through National or NSCC Testing Programs which include College-Level Examination (CLEP), Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DSST), NYU, BYU Language Testing, Departmental and Challenge Examinations. Contact Jane Saunders LS-215/DB-213, 978-762-4000 extension 5429

Evaluation Credit by Military (ECM)

The VALOR Act (Senate Bill 2254) requires that as a public institution of education in the Commonwealth, North Shore Community College develops a set of policies and procedures that govern the evaluation and award of academic credit for a student's military experience, training, coursework, and occupation/s. Contact CAS in room DB-218, by phone 978-739-5432 or by email at
More on Evaluation Credit by Military

For more information at , or
call 978-762-4000 extension 5539 or
fill out the Center for Alternative Studies Inquiry Form.

Your Experience Counts!

Your Experience Counts!

Visit the Massachusetts Community Colleges My Experience Counts website to assess the types of Credit for Prior Learning that you may be eligible for, to create your personal account, and to get in touch with your CPL Specialist!

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