Explore some of our most frequently asked questions about UWM’s experiential learning opportunities. If you’re an external partner, check out the partners page for related FAQ.

General Experiential Learning Questions

How does experiential learning benefit students and add to their college experience?

Experiential learning adds a lot of value to a college degree. Students who participate in experiential learning not only build their resumes and increase their chances of getting hired after graduation, they also make connections, gain and refine valuable skills they could only get outside the classroom, and better learn what they want their future careers to look like.

Which experiential learning opportunity is the right one for me? How do I get started?

If you’re a prospective UWM student, fill out the experiential learning contact form. If you’re a current UWM student, reach out to your academic advisor and discuss which experiential learning opportunities might work best for your degree and career goals.

Is experiential learning a graduation requirement at UWM?

Although experiential learning isn’t currently a graduation requirement, about 80% of undergraduate programs at UWM require some form of experiential learning. Check the graduation requirements of your academic program to see what, if any, experiential learning is required.

What is the difference between an internship and a co-op?

Although these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, the main difference between them is the time invested. An internship is usually part-time and can be paid or unpaid. A co-op is a paid, full-time experience. Both internships and co-ops can lead to full-time job offers after graduation.

What is the difference between a curricular experience and a co-curricular experience?

Curricular experiential learning experiences are opportunities that are incorporated directly into courses or programs. For example, a service-learning project that’s a required part of a course. A co-curricular experience is one that complements a course or program but isn’t required to pass or graduate. For example, an education major who works as a tutor at the UWM Student Success Center isn’t required to do so to graduate but it adds to their program of study.

Current UWM Students

Can first-year students participate in experiential learning?

Yes, any student at UWM can participate in experiential learning. Students are encouraged to engage in experiential learning throughout all stages of their time at UWM.

Can I get paid for experiential learning even if I’m earning credit for it?

Many paid learning experiences, like internships, can also earn credit. Individual departments may have specific rules on students being paid while also earning credit for the same experience. As a whole, UWM is moving toward credit-bearing internships being eligible for pay.

Can an experience not included on this site count as experiential learning?

If an individual thinks what they are engaging in may count as experiential learning, they should contact Ben Trager at bwtrager@uwm.edu to learn the process for submitting the experience for review and approval.

Are there grants or other funds available for experiential learning opportunities that have associated costs, like study abroad?

For many forms of experiential learning, such as undergraduate research, internships and clinical experiences, students can receive funding.

Do students need insurance to leave campus for an experiential learning-related activity?

No, students do not need any special insurance to engage in experiential learning.

How can I get to my experiential learning site if I don’t have a car?

All students receive a free Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) bus pass, and students can use the bus to get to many experiential learning opportunities. Staff in the Center for Student Experience and Talent (SET) can help students learn how to use the MCTS bus system.

Will I be excluded from experiential learning if I have a criminal record?

No, a criminal record will not exclude you from all experiential learning opportunities. There are opportunities available for individuals with criminal records.

Who do I contact at UWM if something happens while at an experiential learning site?

Please contact Ben Trager at bwtrager@uwm.edu.

Are there virtual experiential learning options?

Yes, virtual or remote experiences are available for many forms of experiential learning, such as volunteering, internships and service-learning.

What if I don’t have time to meet the experiential learning requirement for my program?

If your program requires experiential learning and you have challenges with scheduling, contact your program director or advisor.