Carnegie Mellon University

Experiential Learning

By participating in Experiential Learning opportunities, you will be able to enhance what you are learning in the classroom, take ownership of your educational experience, respond to complex, real-world challenges, and grow personally and professionally.


Kim Piatt headshotQuestions about Experiential Learning? Contact Kim Piatt, Director of Experiential Learning.

Read more about Kim and her vision for Experiential Learning


What makes Experiential Learning different?

There are several elements of experiential learning that make these opportunities distinctive.

High-quality experiential learning activities include the following components:

  • Real-World Context: The activities or projects that are being completed have authentic stakes and allow you to explore the complexity of real-world challenges.
  • Connection to Coursework: Uniquely crafted learning goals encourage you to utilize and expand on previously learned concepts and skills.
  • Mentoring Relationship: A supervisor or instructor supports the attainment of learning goals and provides meaningful feedback.
  • Critical Reflection: Opportunities to thoughtfully examine the impact of the experience on your personal, professional and academic growth are embedded throughout.
Student intern Zhang

How can I find Experiential Learning opportunities?

The links below will connect you with a variety of hands-on experiences, but a great first step is to talk to your academic advisor who can help you determine and craft an experience that aligns with your learning and professional goals.

Types of Experiential Learning

Community Engagement

Participation in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and intentionally connects with academic coursework in order to gain a broader appreciation of the discipline and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility.


Short-term work experiences completed in a professional setting that provide the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience, develop practical skills and generate connections within the potential career path.

Study Abroad

International travel that includes any one or combination of the following activities: study, research, work/internships and/or volunteering/service learning.

Undergraduate Research

Research, scholarly, or artistic activities that lead to: the production of new knowledge; increased problem solving capabilities including design and analysis; original, critical, or historical theory and interpretation; the production of art or artistic performance.