DePaul University Catalog > Student Handbooks > Undergraduate Student Handbook > University Information > Liberal Studies Program > Liberal Studies Common Core > Experiential Learning

Experiential Learning

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

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.

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.


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.

​​​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.


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


American Studies


Art Media and Design       


Catholic Studies




Community Service Studies

Computer Graphics and Animation

Computer Science

Digital Cinema



Environmental Sciences



Graphic Design


Honors Program

Hospitality Leadership

Information Technology

Intercultural Communication

International Studies

Latino/Latin American Studies

Liberal Studies Program





Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies         



Political Science


Public Policy Studies

Religious Studies

School for New Learning



Study Abroad

  • For additional information, please consult the Study Abroad Website.

University Internship Program

Women's and Gender Studies

Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse