The University of New Haven is a Leader in Experiential Education

Many of our programs offer students the opportunity for education “out of the box” and out of the classroom, enriched by discovery and reflection: in the lab, in the community, across borders.  All University of New Haven undergraduates complete one of the four pillars of experiential education: academic service-learning, study abroad, an internship, or faculty-mentored research.

The 4 Pillars of Experiential Education at The University of New Haven:

Study Abroad

Studying abroad can be a very rewarding experience both academically and personally. First-semester students now have the exciting opportunity to begin their time at the University of New Haven on our campus in Prato, Italy. (You can also go after your first semester, if you prefer.)

Many upperclass students opt to spend a semester in a country of their choice – beyond Italy, you’ll have access to more than 400 different programs around the globe.

Students also study abroad through short-term programs in the Summer or Winter Intersession led by the University of New Haven faculty. Criminal Justice students study in Russia, China, Poland and Italy. In the past we have done Photography and Story Telling in Iceland and the Bahamas, Tropical Marine Ecology in the Bahamas, Arabic Language and Culture in Morocco, and Dental Hygiene in Romania.


Internships help students explore their career options, make professional connections and obtain real-world experience. Academic advisors, professors and the Career Development Center can help students find interesting and beneficial internships based on their major. Several programs require students to complete a set amount of hours at an internship or practicum.

Connecticut is home to many large companies that recruit right from the University of New Haven. Engineering students work closely with Sikorsky Aircraft and iDevices. Dental Hygiene students get the opportunity to work at military bases, schools, hospitals and correctional facilities. Sports Management students have interned at the headquarters of ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut and the WWE in Stamford, Connecticut. Students regularly intern at biotech start-ups and not-for-profits.

Faculty-Mentored Research

Faculty-mentored undergraduate research is research is any serious, significant inquiry or investigation that makes an original, intellectual, or creative contribution to a branch of learning. This can include scientific, scholarly, or artistic activities.

Students work with a selected faculty mentor through courses on independent study, laboratory research, and/or thesis through several semesters.

The research program concludes with an undergraduate thesis or major presentation as approved by the student’s research department. Undergraduate research provides an excellent structure for the interaction of a mentor with a student and an important opportunity to put into practice the principles of experiential education.

Academic Service Learning

Academic Service-Learning is an educational approach that combines learning objectives with service objectives in order to deepen a student’s understanding in a specific discipline.  It’s a form of experiential education, where students participate in community service projects that fulfill an actual community need.

An important part of academic service learning is reflection, during which the student sees how the community service experience ties in with what he or she learns in class. Reflection can be carried out through reading, writing, doing, or telling. The ultimate goal is to apply the knowledge gained through reflection to real-life situations.

Does a student earn credit and a grade for Academic Service-Learning? Yes — for the learning, not the service. We know that serving others is its own reward.

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