Types of Experiential Education

Experiential learning can come in many different forms, and can occur both in and outside the classroom. Types of experiential learning that students may be exposed to through Experience Learning include:



An internship is a form of experiential education that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the

classroom, with practical application and skill development in a professional, work setting.

Internships provide students with an opportunity to test the waters in a career field and also gain some valuable work experience. Internships can be for credit, not for credit, paid, or unpaid. Internships are often project-based and last one semester or a short term. Internships commonly occur in the summer and will not interfere with college classes.

To see UTSA Internship opportunities, please visit Handshake (under Internships). Please make sure you check back often. Internships are updated daily.



Externships lets you explore a career by visiting with professionals in the workplace. Activities may include: tour of the workplace, attend site visits, observe day-to-day activities, meet with other members of the department, involvement in hands-on projects, attend department and client meetings, and/or receive an overview of the organization and workplace culture.

To see Upcoming Externship opportunities please visit Handshake (under Events). Please make sure you check back often. Events are updated daily.


Service Learning

Service learning is distinguished by being mutually beneficial for both student and community. Service-learning is growing rapidly and is considered a part of experiential education by its very nature of learning, performing a job within the community, and serious reflection by the student. Service-learning involves tackling some of society’s complex issues such as homelessness, poverty, lack of quality education, pollution, etc.

For more information on UTSA Service Learning opportunities, please visit the Center for Civic Engagement


Student Teaching

Student teaching provides candidates with an opportunity to put into practice the knowledge and skills they have been developing in the preparation program. Student teaching typically involves an on-site experience in a partner school and opportunities for formal and informal candidate reflection on their teaching experience.

For more information on UTSA Student Teaching opportunities, please visit the College of Education and Human Development.


Study Abroad

Study abroad offer students a unique opportunity to learn in another culture, within the security of a host family and a host institution carefully chosen to allow the transfer of credit to a student’s degree program.

For more information on UTSA Study Abroad opportunities, please visit Education Study Abroad Services.


Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate research is increasingly common at universities across all disciplines. With strong support from the National Science Foundation and the research community, scientists are reshaping their courses to connect key concepts and questions with students’ early and active involvement in systematic investigation and research. The goal is to involve students with actively contested questions, empirical observation, cutting-edge technologies, and the sense of excitement that comes from working to answer important questions.

For more information on UTSA Undergraduate Research opportunities, please visit the Office of Undergraduate Research.



Volunteering allows students to serve in a community primarily because they choose to do so. Many serve through a nonprofit organization—sometimes referred to as formal volunteering—but a significant number also serve less formally, either individually or as part of a group.

For more information on UTSA Volunteering opportunities, please visit Volunteer Services.


Co-Op (Cooperative Education)

Cooperative Education is an academic program that is meant to complement the student’s education through hands-on application in their field of study.  It is a long-term plan that can start as early as their freshman year, depending on the university, and can last the duration of the student’s academic career. The primary difference between a co-op and an internship is the duration of the experience and often the level of planning that is required. Co-op involves multi-term work assignments with increased tasks and responsibilities as the student progresses through classes, obtaining in-depth work experience. Many universities require the student to remain with the same employer for the duration of their co-op position.



An apprenticeship is a formal employment program that trains you to do a specific job. Unlike internships, apprenticeships employ people who already know which career path they wish to follow. If you join a program, you’ll sign a contract with your employer and learn specific skills during your apprenticeship. This usually includes a mix of on-the-job training and work experience, and formal, classroom-based learning. Programs last from one to six years, and at the end of your apprenticeship, you’ll have a formal qualification and the skills needed to work in your chosen field.



Provide tuition or aid to support the training of students for a period of time. They are usually made by educational institutions, corporations, or foundations to assist individuals pursuing a course of study or research.


Field Work

Field work allows students to explore and apply content learned in the classroom in a specified field experience away from the classroom. Field work experiences bridge educational experiences with an outside community that can range from neighborhoods and schools to anthropological dig sites and laboratory settings.



Practicums often a required component of a course of study and place students in a supervised and often paid situation. Students develop competencies and apply previously studied theory and content, such as school library media students working in a high school library or marketing majors working in a marketing research firm.


Simulations and gaming/role-playing

When used as part of a course, simulations and gaming/role-playing aim to imitate a system, entity, phenomenon, or process. They attempt to represent or predict aspects of the behavior of the problem or issue being studied. Simulation can allow experiments to be conducted within a fictitious situation to show the real behaviors and outcomes of possible conditions.