Man and woman shake hands at an internship fair

Experiential Learning for Adult and Online Students

Experiential learning is, in its essence, learning through doing. This kind of learning must involve action, and reflection on one’s action. Instead of knowledge being transmitted directly to a student through readings or lecture, experiential learning involves the student’s active and ongoing construction of knowledge in a fitting engagement (or inter-action) with his or her environment. As an experiential learner at Regis University’s School for Professional Advancement, a student constructs and continually refines appropriate concepts while engaging in an educational experience that both develops skills that employers desire and satisfies learning outcomes for the student’s academic program. So experiential learning provides a bridge between the knowledge a student gains in the classroom and the typical workday routines, and more specialized activities, that employers expect their best workers to carry out. There are different course options available to our students, providing different kinds of experiential learning.

Benefits of Experiential Learning

Experiential learning provides for the refinement of one’s knowledge through inter-action within an appropriate environment, ideally under the supervision of those who have already gained expert-level practical knowledge. Experiential learning is especially appropriate for students who will be returning to work after their studies, many of whom are seeking career advancement, or a new career within a given field.

In conjunction with our course offerings, students will have the opportunity to earn academic credit for participating in service learning, engaging in research of public interest, coaching or mentoring others in their community, interning at an office or workplace related to their academic interests, producing artwork, orchestrating an exhibit or putting on a show, or procuring resources for community organizations.

The School for Professional Advancement is especially keen on providing experiential learning opportunities at the end of a student’s academic program, whether that’s a master’s level or a bachelor’s level program. Students typically end either their undergraduate or graduate work with a Capstone project. Besides a traditional academic thesis, experiential options available for completing the Capstone are internships, applied projects, literary projects, and service projects. This list is not meant to be exhaustive.

Specific Capstone Options


Student-Intern and employer will work together to enhance the student’s expertise and learning, thus multiplying his or her opportunities for employment after graduation. For example, an undergraduate majoring in Criminology completed a 240-hour internship with the Jefferson County Sheriffs’ Department, during which she investigated cold-case felonies, including cases of homicide, sex crimes, and aggravated assault. Other interns have worked in coroner’s offices, and still others have worked with victims’ assistance units, helping victims—including children—recover from violent crimes.  Both 3- and 6-unit internship courses are available.

capstone student
Applied Project

This Capstone option is ideal for a student who wishes to produce something for their employer. The student may wish to develop a new process at work, create a new organizational system, develop a curriculum, or write a training manual. The applied project Capstone option enables a student to draw on his or her academic knowledge to complete any of these tasks (or others) while gaining those last few credits for graduation. Example: One of our MA students was an Army Chaplain who wrote a new ethical decision-making manual for the Army, one that he could teach to his own student-soldiers in his ethics courses for the Army.

literary student and teacher
Literary Project

Suppose a student is pursuing a degree in Creative Writing or Literature. It would make sense for the crowning experience of that student’s degree program to be the writing of a novella, a short story collection, a cycle of poems, or a play. A student should receive some academic credit for creative work that is intimately tied to his or her academic discipline. Using this option, a student can spend two eight-week terms engaging in research on genre, historical context, style, and writing technique; and then creating a literary work itself. 

student service project
Service Project 

A student who selects this Capstone option must design and then execute a project that serves an otherwise under-served community. The student might work directly with community members, acting as a sort of representative for Regis University. The project undertaken in conjunction with this option will have to be carefully researched and documented. Part of the research involved will help to ensure that the under-served community’s needs really are being met by this project, and that the project is carried out in a manner consistent with respect for members of this community. 

Course Options

Graduate students interested in applied projects, literary projects, service projects, or a traditional academic thesis will take the 6-unit MAPC 693/MSCR 693: Graduate Capstone. Those interested in internships or service-learning experiences will take MAPC 695/MSCR 695: Experiential Capstone, a 6-unit course. Undergraduate students interested in applied projects, literary projects, service projects, or a traditional academic thesis can take CAP 494. Alternatively, undergraduates interested in internships or service-learning can take CAP 498, which is co-listed with MAPC 695/MSCR 695. All the courses listed here enable students to compare and contrast their Capstone experiences with each other, gaining the benefits of communal reflection on practice and opportunities for structured feedback from their peers.

Want to Learn More?

If you are already a Regis student, please speak to your academic advisor about the options available to you. If you are not yet a Regis student, contact Admissions for further information.