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University of Phoenix Traditional MBA Program Offers Opportunity for Credit for Prior Learning

Innovative programs supporting credit mobility, including credit for prior learning (CPL) or prior learning assessment (PLA), can help students reach their educational goals faster

University of Phoenix is pleased to share that it offers qualified students enrolled in its traditional online Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Management (MM) programs an opportunity to earn credit for prior learning towards specific graduate degree courses in these programs. Recognizing the diverse experiences and expertise of its students, the university offers CPL at the graduate level to satisfy specific degree requirements as a way to recognize and incorporate the learning from the knowledge and skills learners have acquired through work experience, certifications, or independent study.

"I am proud of our commitment to empower working adult learners by recognizing the many forms of knowledge and learning they bring to the table through credit for prior learning options. Recognizing that learning can come from all levels and from all sources is a reflection of our mission, and granting credit for prior learning as part of our graduate business programs is an example of this,” states John Woods, Ph.D., provost and chief academic officer. “Moreover, leveraging credit for prior learning allows students to accelerate degree completion and is a natural extension of our skills-based approach to higher education.”

CPL has been available at the undergraduate level for decades, and although some schools have started offering graduate level CPL, it is still not a common practice in universities across the United States. Research has shown an increasing demand for graduate-level education and indicates the growing number of non-traditional graduate students who could potentially benefit from graduate-level CPL.

Credit for prior learning is an important part of the University’s mission to make education accessible and available to working adult learners, including in graduate programs. In the event a student qualifies for credit from prior life and work experiences they may be able to obtain a degree at a faster pace than they might have otherwise. Credit for prior learning and prior learning assessment options are available for certain courses in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Management (MM) programs. Currently there are three courses in which credit for prior learning can be awarded. MBA program, each with their own focus areas:

  • Accounting
  • Leading Change
  • People and Organizations

Justin Freeman is currently enrolled in the University of Phoenix MBA program and pursued all three credit for prior learning opportunities to satisfy courses in his degree program. Freeman, who is on-track to graduate in May of 2025 and is employed full-time in the oil and gas industry, says credit for prior learning was an attractive opportunity to leverage his nearly 20 years of professional leadership experience as learning to be translated towards college credit.

“I completed my associate and bachelor's degrees at University of Phoenix and was familiar with CPL because I used it to satisfy some of my undergraduate credits. When I decided to pursue my MBA, I was excited to know there were CPL options and eager to learn how I could continue to leverage my professional experience for credit,” states Freeman. “I started my first MBA CPL six weeks into the program and was happy to see that the structure of the MBA CPL was similar to my other assessments, so I felt comfortable pursuing that option. All in all, because I used CPL I shortened the length of my degree program by more than three months.”

In addition to the credit for prior learning in the traditional MBA program, the University of Phoenix offers an MBA-CB program intended for students holding an undergraduate degree in business management and at least three years of professional experience in the field.

Last year, University of Phoenix issued a white paper examining higher education barriers based on historic policies, procedures, and beliefs that do not take the adult learner into account. In an environment where many institutions are looking for ways to support adult students with some college and no degree, the white paper posits that creating a credit mobility culture is needed to ensure higher education is built to support an increasingly diverse student population in completing their educational goals.

University of Phoenix has made significant investments in creating a credit mobility culture, including creating flexible policies and programs, embracing prior learning as a viable source of academic credit, improving clarity on transfer outcomes and options, removing barriers that impact student progression, and empowering students through relevant support services.

Individuals interested in learning more about earning college credit for work and life experiences may use the University’s Savings Explorer® tool, which was designed to help prospective students explore the potential opportunities to save time and money at the University. The Savings Explorer® tool presents information about scholarship opportunities, as well as transferring college credit and earning credit for prior learning, national testing programs, alternative course providers, and military service.

Learn more here about MBA programs at University of Phoenix.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix innovates to help working adults enhance their careers and develop skills in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, skills-mapped curriculum for our bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, and a Career Services for Life® commitment help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit


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