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Explore how skills and knowledge gained outside a classroom can apply to your college degree:

Credit for Prior Learning

Your life experience counts

Your expertise can save you time and money

As outlined in Cabrillo's Administrative Procedure 4235 you can earn credit toward your degree through our Credit for Prior Learning Program (CPL). Credit for Prior Learning is college credit awarded for recognized college-level skills and knowledge gained outside of a college classroom. Some limits apply, work an Academic Counselor in an individualized appointment to see where your educational experiences or "prior learning" can be integrated into your Cabrillo Education Plan. There are several categories of Credit for Prior Learning:

  • AP, IB and CLEP scores can satisfy degree requirements

  • High school course work can clear prerequisites

  • College transcripts can clear prerequisites and satisfy degree requirements

  • Completing the Credit by Exam or the Student-Created Portfolio process can satisfy degree requirements

  • Nursing Advanced Placement opportunities for transfer students and military personnel

  • Military service and training and industry recognized credentials can clear prerequisites and satisfy degree requirements


  • for all categories, approved assessments and documentation is required. See each category for details.

  • CPL units shall not be counted in determining the 12 semester hours in residence toward an A.A./A.S. Degree, nor are they considered part of a semester load.

  • Credits acquired by examination are not applicable to unit load requirements for Selective Service deferment, Veterans, or Social Security benefits.

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Credit for Prior Learning
Eligibility Criteria
  • The course is listed in the current college catalog.

  • You have met with a an Academic Counselor, have an education plan on file, and are registered for the current term in good standing.

  • You have not already earned CPL credit for another course in the same department sequence (may be waived by the department).

  • You have completed the Complete the CPL Request eForm (coming soon)

A word about prerequisites:

perquisites are different than earning CPL

Unlike CPL, clearing a prerequisite does not earn units toward your degree, it only allows you to register in the course with the prerequisite. You will see this notated as an "EQ" in your Student Planning Timeline.

A prerequisite is a course or qualification that must be completed before you may register for:

  • the next course in a sequence like English 1A for English 1B; or

  • a course requiring some expertise in a related subject, like algebra for chemistry; or

  • to enter a program with prerequisites, like Nursing or Dental Hygiene.

The Cabrillo equivalent of a minimum grade of "C" or "P" must be earned in the prerequisite course to satisfy the prerequisite.

  • Completing the Cabrillo Placement Process
  • Taking an external exam through one of these programs: 
    • Advanced Placement Exam (AP), 
    • International Baccalaureate (IB) 
    • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
  • Completing course work at another college or university 
  • Some high school courses
  • Challenging the prerequisite  

If feel you have the skills and knowledge to meet a course prerequisite and you don't have a transcript because your background does not include a traditional educational setting like high school, college or university, you may challenge the prerequisite. Start the process by filling out the Requisite Challenge eForm. On the form you will be asked at attach documentation of your skills and experience demonstrating that you have the required skills needed to complete coursework in the course with the prerequisite. Documentation may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Letter from the you detailing your how and where your skills and knowledge were learned and obtained. 
  • Recent examples of the your work in this discipline that shows mastery of the skills and knowledge in question. For example, English course challenges should include recent essays.