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 course*, 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 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.
*Note: Students who participate in non-DPU study abroad programs for transfer credit must petition their respective colleges for Experiential Learning credit.
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.
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 ISP 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.
Below please find examples of courses previously offered for Experiential Learning. For information on current offerings, please consult Campus Connection.
Art Media and Design
Community Service Studies
Computer Graphics and Animation
Latino/Latin American Studies
Liberal Studies Program
Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies
Public Policy Studies
School for New Learning
- For additional information, please consult the Study Abroad Website.
University Internship Program
Women's and Gender Studies
Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse