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The Experiential Learning requirement engages students in the first-hand discovery of knowledge through observation and participation in activities, most often in field-based settings outside the classroom. This inductive process of “learning by doing and reflecting” is supported by theory-based information. In these courses, students compare and analyze issues, problems, and ideas through the lenses of their own personal experiences and evolving intellectual worldview.

Experiential Learning may take place in a regularly scheduled course, an approved internship, a Study Abroad course1, or in an independent study approved on a case-by-case basis (utilizing the proper Independent Study Approval Form). All such courses may be offered in the student’s major and may count for both major field and Liberal Studies requirements. When more than four credit hours are earned from such an experience – for example, an eight-hour internship – four hours may be counted toward Liberal Studies requirements and four hours toward major program requirements. Experiential Learning is typically taken in the junior year as major field or other foundational knowledge is essential to ensure a successful outcome.

Forms of Experiential Learning

Study Abroad

Study Abroad programs emphasize social, political, historical and cultural understanding through a total immersion into the life and culture of a foreign country. Study trips abroad range in duration from two weeks to a full academic year.

Domestic Study

For students interested in diverse populations and locations outside Chicago yet within the United States, domestic study courses offer students the opportunity to pursue such inquiry. 

Community-Based Service Learning

Community-based Service learning courses provide students with the opportunity to work with a community organization or agency and to reflect upon what they have learned through this service in class discussions. Opportunities are available through the Steans Center for Community-Based Service Learning.

Internships

Internship courses offer students the opportunity to gain real world experience in hiring, employment, communication, and the culture of businesses or organizations. Students who apply and receive internship opportunities through the University Internship Program register for UIP 250. In addition, some Colleges and departments offer 200-level and 300-level internships that satisfy the experiential learning requirement.

Individual or Group Research Projects

These research projects involve extensive field or laboratory work. The projects are supervised, evaluated and graded by a faculty member.

​​​Learning Outcomes

​Students will be able to:

  • Apply particular concepts from readings, lectures, etc. to an analysis of lived experiences in the settings provided by the course.
  • Use the experiences provided by the course to construct and articulate the impact of their experience on their understanding of course content.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the ethics appropriate to his or her experiential placement.
  • Synthesize and articulate how the ideas and experiences provided by the course might inform their personal, academic, and/or professional pursuits.

Courses

Below please find examples of courses previously offered for Experiential Learning. For information on current offerings, please consult Campus Connection.

Course Title Quarter Hours
Accounting
ACC 393INTERNSHIP IN ACCOUNTANCY4
American Studies
AMS 392INTERNSHIP4
Animation
ANI 380ANIMATION PROJECT BLUELIGHT4
Art, Media, and Design
ART 291MURAL PAINTING4
ART 292COMMUNITY VIDEO PRODUCTION4
ART 348GRAPHIC ART IN THE PUBLIC REALM4
ART 382STUDENTS TEACHING ART IN THE ELEMENTARY CLASSROOM4
ART 383SERVICE LEARNING IN THE ARTS INTERNSHIP4
Biology
BIO 302STUDENT LABORATORY INSTRUCTION4
BIO 303INTRODUCTION TO SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH4
Catholic Studies
CTH 229CATHOLICISM AS A SPIRITUAL PATH4
CTH 282GOD, JUSTICE AND REDEMPTIVE ACTION4
CTH 341LIBERATION THEOLOGY: THEORY AND PRACTICE4
Chemistry
CHE 392INTERNSHIP4
CHE 397RESEARCH4
Commerce
ICS 350INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS SEMINAR4
Communication Studies
CMNS 205COMMUNICATION, CULTURE AND COMMUNITY4
CMN 394MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR COMMUNICATION INTERNSHIP4
CMN 395COMMUNICATION INTERNSHIP SPECIAL TOPICS4
CMN 398STUDY ABROAD4
Community Service Studies
CSS 201CRITICAL COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT4
CSS 300INTRODUCTION TO NON-PROFIT MANAGEMENT4
CSS 310RESTORATIVE JUSTICE: ENGAGEMENT WITH THE PRISON4
CSS 395COMMUNITY INTERNSHIP4
Computer Graphics and Animation
GPH 360MODELING SPACES4
Computer Science
CSC 298INTERNSHIP4
CSC 379TECHNOLOGY PARTNERSHIPS IN URBAN SCHOOLS4
Criminology
CRIM 398INTERNSHIP4
Cyber-Physical Systems Engineering
CSE 393CYBER-PHYSICAL SYSTEMS ENGINEERING PRACTICUM I4
Economics
ECO 393INTERNSHIP IN APPLIED ECONOMICS4
Education
TCH 320EXPLORING TEACHING IN THE URBAN HIGH SCHOOL4
English
ENG 378LITERATURE AND SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT4
ENG 392INTERNSHIP4
ENG 397NEWBERRY LIBRARY SEMINAR4
Environmental Science
ENV 235ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: THEORY AND PRACTICE4
ENV 322ECOSYSTEM ECOLOGY4
ENV 345URBAN AGRICULTURE4
ENV 361RESEARCH IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE4
Finance
FIN 393FINANCE INTERNSHIP4
Geography
GEO 133URBAN GEOGRAPHY - EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING4
GEO 211BIOGEOGRAPHY4
Graphic Design
GD 380DESIGN FOR CLIENT AND COMMUNITY4
History
HST 382CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM EXPERIENCE4
HST 391DOING LOCAL AND COMMUNITY HISTORY4
HST 392PUBLIC HISTORY INTERNSHIP4
History of Art and Architecture
HAA 394MUSEUM STUDIES INTERNSHIP4
Hospitality Leadership Students in this major must take HSP 303 and HSP 304.
HSP 303HOSPITALITY INTERNSHIP I2
HSP 304HOSPITALITY INTERNSHIP II2
Information Technology
IT 300RESEARCH EXPERIENCE4
IT 394SOFTWARE PROJECTS FOR COMMUNITY CLIENTS I4
IT 398TOPICS IN GLOBAL INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY4
International Studies
INT 389INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT4
Latin American and Latino Studies
LST 303BORDER MATTERS:LITERATURE & CULTURE IN THE LATINO/A BORDERLANDS4
LST 306LATINO COMMUNITIES IN CHICAGO4
LST 307GROWING UP LATINO/LATINA IN THE U.S.4
LST 308MOTHERHOOD IN LATINO COMMUNITIES4
LST 309SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT AND LATINO FAMILIES4
Management
MGT 393INTERNSHIP AND MANAGEMENT CONSULTING PROGRAM4
Marketing
MKT 393MARKETING INTERNSHIP4
Mathematics
MAT 390MATHEMATICS READING AND RESEARCH4
MAT 397MATHEMATICAL PEDAGOGY: THEORY & PRACTICE4
Music
MUS 208COMMUNITY AUDIO ART PRODUCTION4
Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies
PAX 200COMMUNITIES WORKING FOR SUSTAINABLE JUSTICE AND PEACE: SERVICE IN CHICAGO AND THE U.S.4
Philosophy
PHL 250PHILOSOPHY AND SOCIAL CHANGE4
Physics
PHY 380EXPERIMENTAL PHYSICS I4
PHY 398READING AND RESEARCH4
Political Science
PSC 281MODEL UN2
PSC 282POLITICAL ACTION AND SOCIAL JUSTICE4
PSC 284MOCK TRIAL: CIVIL LAW4
PSC 285MOCK TRIAL: CRIMINAL LAW4
PSC 286CAMPAIGNS AND SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT4
PSC 288BIKING, POLITICS AND POLICY4
PSC 392INTERNSHIP4
Psychology
PSY 305PSYCHOLOGY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE4
PSY 306SERVICE LEARNING4
PSY 311CONNECTING WITH YOUTH THROUGH RESEARCH, ADVOCACY, AND SERVICE: QUARTER 24
PSY 359FIELD WORK IN COMMUNITY RESEARCH AND ACTION4
PSY 369ADVANCED LIFESPAN DEVELOPMENT4
PSY 395FIELD WORK/INTERNSHIP4
PSY 397EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING/PSYCHOLOGY RESEARCH4
Public Policy Studies
PPS 251URBAN POVERTY4
PPS 331ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE4
Religious Studies
REL 259RELIGION AND SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT4
REL 284CATHOLICISM AS A SPIRITUAL PATH4
REL 351LIBERATION THEOLOGY4
REL 392FOREIGN STUDY IN RELIGION4
REL 393INTERNSHIP IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES4
School of Continuing Professional Studies (formerly SNL)
SNC 186SPIRITUALITY AND HOMELESSNESS4
SNC 198MINDFULNESS MEDITATION RETREAT AT STARVED ROCK4
SNC 211WRITE WHERE YOU ARE: WRITING ABOUT THE PLACES WE LIVE4
SNC 219CONNECTING WITH AFRICA: CULTURAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES IN EAST AFRICA4
SNC 223ACTIVE CITIZENS: MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE COMMUNITY, WORKPLACE WORLD4
Sociology
SOC 394COMMUNITY BASED SOCIOLOGY4
SOC 398INTERNSHIP4
Spanish
SPN 124INTERMEDIATE SPANISH l: SERVICE LEARNING4
SPN 125INTERMEDIATE SPANISH II: SERVICE LEARNING4
SPN 126INTERMEDIATE SPANISH III: SERVICE LEARNING4
SPN 334ADVANCED TRANSLATION IN THE PROFESSIONAL WORLD: COMMUNITY-BASED SERVICE LEARNING4
SPN 391SOCIOLINGUISTICS OF HERITAGE LANGUAGE LITERACY4
SPN 393LATINO MEDIA AND DIGITAL CULTURE LITERACY4
SPN 394LATINO CULTURAL LITERACY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT4
Study Abroad
For additional information, please consult the Study Abroad Website.
University Internship Program
UIP 250NAVIGATING THE WORKPLACE4
Women's and Gender Studies
WGS 392INTERNSHIP4
Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse
WRD 371MENTORING YOUTH IN COMMUNITY WRITING GROUPS4
WRD 372DIGITAL STORYTELLING4
WRD 376FIELDWORK IN ARTS WRITING4
WRD 376FIELDWORK IN ARTS WRITING4
WRD 377WRITING AND SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT4
WRD 378TEACHING ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE IN CHICAGO4
WRD 395WRITING CENTER THEORY & PEDAGOGY4
WRD 398INTERNSHIP4