Military Support Office, University of Manitoba

                    PHOTO:  D'Arcy Phillips, MPLAN Awards chair and Shari Campbell, MSO


The MPLAN PEARL Award is given for the Pursuit of Excellence in the Assessment and Recognition of prior Learning. (More about the PEARL Award)


Background for this Award

MSO was established in 1974 by Barry Browning, the then Registrar at the U of M. He happened to be a retired Canadian Forces Officer and clearly he not only understood but also was trusted within both academic and military cultures to such a degree that he was able to conceive, initiate and develop this ground -breaking but undeniably very successful program.  A strikingly Innovative RPL-type initiative when it was established forty years ago, MSO was the first program of its type in Canada and remains the only one outside of Quebec.


Pursuit of Excellence

MSO provides a number of significant and valuable services (both RPL and non-RPL) to individuals with a Canadian Forces background. MSO also provides critical related administrative supports to members of the forces. 


Results Achieved

  • MSO Initiates evaluation of new/additional Canadian Forces courses/training by carefully reviewing each selected Canadian Forces course manual and condensing it, where it is then sent to the appropriate U of M Faculty. There it is reviewed by an appropriate Subject Matter Expert for credit hour determination. (From 0 credit hours for courses with insufficient/no university level content up to a maximum of 6 credit hours on a program specific or “unallocated” basis. 
  • The maximum possible is 30 credit hours per applicant (33% of a full load of 90 credit hours)
  • In  terms of  MSO outcomes:
  • About 320 to 400 students receive advisory and admin support from MSO each year. Currently the number of registered students is 380.
  •  Since 1974 at least 1900 members of the Canadian Forces with substantial credit hours via MSO have graduated from U of M 

Administrative supports to members of the forces include:

  • Dedicated  and  military - appropriate academic advising and degree program planning
  • Authorizing withdrawals and tuition reimbursement when unforeseen military duty interferes with university courses.
  • Waiving residency requirements for selected degree programs.
  • Since 1974 MSO has identified 22 Canadian Forces Trades programs and over 100 professional level courses to which it will grant credit hours either to specific degree programs or as ”unallocated” credit hours.  



What has been accomplished here is literally quite astounding, not to mention ground breaking. The fact that MSO has survived and prospered since 1974 is testament to the University of Manitoba’s unusually strong and stable commitment to the powerful concept of university/military collaboration.