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Experiential Learning

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(Note: For graduate ELC inquiries, please email

The University of Memphis believes that rigorous professional and/or personal development occurs in settings outside the traditional classroom and grants experiential learning credit (ELC) to students who demonstrate the academic merit of such experiences.  These contexts for ELC include both formal and informal learning that results from work-site training, professional organization certification, community volunteerism and unique life experiences.

A systematic process for evaluating and credentialing learning gained in a variety of contexts has been implemented by the University.  Students may apply ELC toward degree programs granted by University College.

Read more about the Experiential Learning Credit process and how the University of Memphis is working in cooperation with the City of Memphis' Opportunity Challenge in assisting citizens to obtain higher education in The Commercial Appeal's Business News and on My Fox Memphis.

Joe Rowell was able to graduate earlier than expected for earning college-level credit for his work experience. He appeared on Good Morning Memphis with David Williams of Leadership Memphis to encourage others with his story.
Students are permitted to seek ELC after [1] acceptance to the University of Memphis through the Office of Admissions and [2] declaring a major in University College.

Credit is awarded based on a faculty evaluator's determination that the portfolio provides sufficient evidence that the prior knowledge and skills acquired are equivalent to what a student would obtain in a college-level course.

The amount of experiential learning credit will be granted based upon guidelines of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

In general, experiential learning credit is not guaranteed but exceptions do exist such as pre-assessed licenses (e.g. Pilots' Licenses held by Commercial Aviation students).  A complete listing of pre-assessments is available at the bottom of this page.

Experiential Learning Credit (ELC) Process

1. Student views the Experiential Learning Credit (ELC) Orientation and Experiential Learning Student Handbook.

2. Student completes the ELC quiz. 

3. Student submits a non-refundable ELC evaluation fee.

4. Student forwards ELC evaluation payment confirmation to the University College Director of ELC along with a brief description of experiences submitted for consideration and the ELC quiz results (from Step 3).

5. Student receiving endorsement from the University College Director of Experiential Learning Credit will be provided instructions on portfolio submission.  Based on ELC Quiz results, student may be assigned a University College ELC Mentor to review the ELC Student Handbook and complete additional ELC portfolio preparation training.

6. ELC portfolio is reviewed anonymously by a faculty/industry expert evaluator.

7. Credit is awarded based on the evaluator's determination that the portfolio provides sufficient evidence that the knowledge and skills a student has acquired outside the classroom are equivalent to what one would acquire in respective coursework.

8. Student is notified of evaluator’s decision.

Experiential Learning
through University College

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University College
University of Memphis
218 Brister Hall
Memphis, Tennessee 38152
901.678.4913 (fax)

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Last Updated: 7/22/14