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Experiential Learning

  • Testing the water

    Learning Outside the Classroom

    At Stevenson University, we emphasize getting you out of the classroom and into the field so you can gain hands-on experience.
College is a time to explore the world and discover your values, interests, skills, and abilities.

At Stevenson, classroom experiences will provide you with knowledge and skills, while Experiential Learning will allow you to apply what you've learned in the outside world with the assistance of Career Services. The pairing of Experiential Learning and traditional, classroom-based learning greatly enhances a student's college experience.

Many classes at Stevenson offer students the chance to learn outside the classroom. In some cases, Experiential Learning is an integral part of the class. In others, a faculty member may choose to offer this opportunity through the One-Credit Option, a chance to earn extra credit for a course-related Experiential Learning project.

Here are just a few examples of the types of activities you might add to your classroom learning:

  • Participating in field trips, tours, excursions, hikes, or other outdoor activity
  • Participating in SU and off-campus theater or music events
  • Attending art openings, exhibits, lectures, museums, or galleries
  • Presenting a research project or paper at a professional conference
  • Attending a political session, such as sessions of Congress, City Council, or General Assembly
  • Joining an archaeological excavation
  • Attending foreign language speaking groups or events

Study Abroad: To see the world, to leave expectations behind, and to redefine yourself. That's what it is to study abroad. Stevenson students have travelled to Botswana, Australia, England, the Dominican Republic, and many other exotic locations.

  • Internships


    Field placements help to bridge the gap between classroom theory and practical on-the-job application. While earning credit, you can apply concepts learned through your coursework to help expand your learning.

    Choices abound for students interested in internships. In fact, in many majors, you may select an internship that would best suit your career interests and goals. A typical internship is a commitment of 8 to 10 hours a week for a semester, totaling 120 hours.

    Several majors at Stevenson also offer clinical or field experiences beginning in the second year. These placements provide structured hands-on learning experiences in an area related to your course of study. Internships and other field placements offer you the chance to:

    • Connect classroom theory to a real-world setting
    • Earn academic credit
    • Identify career settings and opportunity
    • Network within your field
    • Build your résumé
    • Discover your values, interests, skills, and abilities

  • Service Learning

    Service Learning

    The goal of Service Learning at SU is to better educate students by integrating academics with community service.

    Service learning is a way for students to try new things, connect campus and community, see course content from a different angle, and reflect upon possibilities for personal and social change.

    Skilled in relating theory and practice, and grounded in civic responsibility, students who participate in service learning build connections and enhance employment opportunities after graduation.

    In a few courses, service learning is an integral part of the class. In others, a faculty member may choose to offer this valuable opportunity to students through the One Credit Option, a chance to earn an extra credit for a course-related service project.

    For more information, contact Leeanne M. Bell, Ph.D.

  • Volunteer

    Volunteer Projects

    Stevenson is committed to addressing community issues while enriching the student experience. Through volunteer projects like "Build Community Day" and student service clubs, the Learning Beyond Office takes on the most pressing needs of communities in and around Baltimore.

    Are you interested in volunteering or are you a community partner looking for volunteers? We ask that you send a volunteer request form. It takes just a few minutes and will help us find what you're looking for.

  • Research

    Campus-Based Research

    Work with a faculty member on a study or research project tailored to your interests. Science majors, for instance, conduct independent research under the direction of a faculty member or off-campus site supervisor as part of their major requirements. Similar opportunities exist for other SU students. Please contact your academic advisor for more information about independent study and research.

  • One-Credit Option

    One-Credit Option

    What is it?

    The One-Credit Option (OCO) is a one-credit course offered in conjunction with a 2-4 credit "parent" course and involves experiential learning. It's called the one-credit option because it's taken at the option of students enrolled in the parent course. The OCO includes both an experiential component (15 hours minimum) and an appropriate amount of gradable academic work. The experience may include:

    • visiting a museum, cultural center, or science center
    • attending or participating in artistic, cultural, or community events
    • volunteering at a community organization
    • visiting or volunteering at a state park or nature center
    • attending lectures or discussion groups
    • attending or participating at a conference
    • attending sessions of local, state, or federal government
    • interviewing or visiting with leaders in a field or community leaders
    • mentoring or tutoring children or adults

    The overall objective of any experiential learning course is the integration of theory and practice—integration of academic study with direct or hands-on experience.

    Course content and assignments

    • The academic component must include at least one assignment that can be graded, for example, journals, papers, or presentations. The assignment does not have to be something written; it could be an artistic product or a computer program.
    • While most experiential activities will occur off campus, this is not required. The experiential component may include attendance and/or participation in on-campus events, such as art exhibits, musical performances, book talks, guest speakers to the college, or guest speakers to the OCO students themselves.
    • The choice of location(s) and experiential activities may be determined by the instructor and/or by the students themselves.

    Benefits to students

    • An OCO looks good on a transcript or résumé.
    • The experiential activities may lead to networking or job opportunities.
    • Students get to try new things, meet new people, connect campus and community, and interact with people of diverse demographic and cultural backgrounds.
    • And it's fun!

    Logistics of registration

    • Only students who register for the parent course in one of the LB-designated sections are able to take the OCO. (This requirement may be waived with permission.)
    • The parent course and the corresponding OCO must be taken during the same semester/session. (This requirement may be waived with permission.)
    • The instructor of the OCO sets the student cap for the OCO, which may be less than that of the parent course.
    • The two courses are graded separately, A-F. The pass/no credit option is not available for OCOs.
    • OCO credits can only be used only as General Electives.

    Comparison of a Traditional 3-credit course and an OCO

      Traditional 3-Credit Course OCO
    Credits 3 Credits 1 Credit
    Seat Time 45 Hours None*
    Experiential Component None 15 Hours
    Academic Component Approximately 45-90 Hours Approximately 15-30 Hours
    Total Hours Required of Student Approximately 90-135 Hours Approximately 30-45 Hours

    *There is no preset meeting time. Any meetings with instructor or group meetings are considered "seat time" and the number of hours devoted to experiential activities may be reduced accordingly.

  • Washington Center

    Washington Center

    Founded 31 years ago, The Washington Center provides once-in-a-lifetime internship opportunities for SU students in all majors. There are three basic components to every Washington Center intern's experience: the internship, an academic course, and the leadership forum.

    The internship is structured so that the student is placed with a sponsoring organization most relevant to the student's major. It is not limited to internships with the federal government.

    The academic course component of the Washington Center experience consists of a choice of 35-50 courses in a wide variety of topics relevant to the student's internship.

    Finally, the Leadership Forum includes the opportunity for SU students to hear and interact with distinguished speakers—including cabinet members, ambassadors, journalists, members of Congress, and others—who address current public policy issues and the organizations and people who shape them.

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+ Career
Faculty at Stevenson are at the top of their academic disciplines.

Many are also working professionals and mentors who share their experience and career knowledge with you.