School of Professional Studies in Chicago

Colleges and Schools

Credit for Life Experience

Credit for Prior Learning

Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) allows students in the School of Professional Studies to earn credit hours at North Park by demonstrating learning gained outside a traditional academic environment—informal life experience, professional training, certification, licensure, or any other source.

  • CPL projects should closely match courses or topics taught at North Park
  • CPL fulfills mostly elective credit and some general-education requirements
  • CPL credit cannot duplicate credits transferred into or completed at North Park
  • CPL credit is available only to currently enrolled School of Professional Studies students

CPL credit is earned when you are able to demonstrate the learning that occurred as a result of an experience, not just because of the experience. Depending on what type of experience you use as the basis for your request, we will work with you to select the best format for your written submission.

The School of Professional Studies has a dedicated CPL Coordinator who will help you throughout the process. You will be able to meet with him after you are accepted as a student and begin your coursework. Your admission counselor can answer your CPL questions while you are in the process of applying to North Park.

Types of CPL projects

Credit by Examination

CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) is an organization that provides standardized tests for certain subject areas. Not all CLEP exams have been approved to meet North Park’s requirements; contact your advisor for more information. Other forms of examination, particularly in languages other than English, are also available.

License or Certificate

A second option for earning CPL credit is through license or certificate. This option is appropriate for someone who has already completed specialized training, or attended seminars or workshops.

Credit by Essay

The final CPL option is to demonstrate learning through an experiential-learning essay. This essay must demonstrate learning by building from concrete experiences to more formal theories or general concepts.

Advanced Placement and Military Credit

Additional ways to earn credit are available for students who have taken Advanced Placement classes in high school or who have served in the military. Official transcripts for that work should be sent to North Park so that it can be added to your transcript.

CPL Procedures at North Park

  1. Students interested in CPL meet with the CPL Coordinator to discuss possible topics.
  2. The student determines which type of CPL to pursue and the number of credit hours for which to petition.
  3. The CPL Coordinator identifies and contacts a faculty evaluator in the appropriate field.
  4. The student works independently to complete the chosen CPL project.
  5. The final draft of the project is submitted to the CPL coordinator.
  6. The faculty evaluator reviews the project and decides the credit award. (In some cases, the faculty evaluator may suggest revisions or additions to the project before approving the credit award.)
  7. The student is billed for the CPL fees for the credits and the North Park Records Office adds CPL credit to the student’s transcript.