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students presenting his handmade fashion accessory to other students

Experiential Learning

Experiential learning is just a fancy term for learning by doing or “active learning”. Numerous studies have shown that “active learning” is the best way for students to retain information and it directly impacts success. 

Art and design are inherently “active learning” activities. And because of our 100+ years of industry connections,  we engage with industry to make sure the types of “active learning” our students do are in line with industry needs and will prepare our students for careers. 

By engaging students in hands-on experiences and reflection, they are better able to connect theories and knowledge learned in the classroom to real-world situations. The experiential learning activity can occur outside of the traditional classroom experience and/or be embedded as part of a course. 

Types of Experiential Learning Opportunities at CCS

Curricular Experiential Learning

Curricular experiential learning opportunities are embedded in academic programs and are credit-bearing. These types of opportunities are available as part of a course or program of study and allow students to apply the knowledge they are learning through educational projects, partnerships, and placements.

Educational Partnerships (Sponsored Projects)

Educational Partnerships include projects that are highly conceptual and allow students the opportunity to participate in creative, research-based assignments within real-world design parameters, interacting with designers and staff from the partnering company. This is a great opportunity for students to make connections and experience a real-world art or design assignment. These partnerships can take the form of sponsored projects, community-driven projects, and service-learning opportunities. 


Students in an entrepreneurship program develop a broad-based entrepreneurial skill relevant to any organization – start-up or established business, for-profit or not-for-profit. Entrepreneurship involves thinking and acting in ways designed to uncover new opportunities that are then applied to provide value, often developing each stage and facet of a new product, service or enterprise. This may include understanding and applying basic business principles as they relate to developing products, services and enterprises or in advancing one’s own studio practice. Examples of Entrepreneurship experiences at CCS may include related courses in the Liberal Arts Department, applied learning in departments where students develop business models or plans to sell their artistic work, products and services. Students may also participate in Design Core’s business education programs offered to the general public. 

Global Experiences

Global Experiences include study abroad, international exchange programs, and faculty-led study abroad courses. The content of which is enhanced by the location of instruction, by distinctive historic or cultural features available in the location, or by a unique approach to the subject matter that is specific to the locale.

Internships, Residencies, or Fellowships

The Internship Program allows qualified students to earn academic credit while gaining first-hand experience in their chosen fields with a partner organization. Non-credit internships are another option for students to pursue a professional experience. Fellowships and Residencies provide additional opportunities for students to expand their creative practice and are frequently immersive and may require the student to travel to another geographic location to participate.


Research for the purposes of advancing a project in a professional context, or on behalf of a client, can be designated as Experiential Learning. This type of research embeds the researcher in a professional setting for the purpose of gathering user-related data to inform a design process. Examples vary, but may include studio projects, entrepreneurial projects, and sponsored projects.

Co-curricular Experiential Learning

These are activities and experiences that complement the formal curriculum but are not credit-bearing. These opportunities are intended to enhance a student’s academic and campus experience, allowing students to apply their knowledge and skills as part of various opportunities. This may include non-credit-bearing internships, on-campus jobs, campus involvement, exhibitions, artistic installations, volunteer opportunities, and other types of practical experience.

Student Government

Serving in CCS Student Government as a Department Representative or Executive Board member for at least one full academic year.

Student Organization Leadership

Serving in an Officer position for a registered Student Organization on campus.

Working as a Resident Assistant

On-campus work-study positions that contribute to career readiness and personal skill development.

Participation in Career Development Workshops

Attending and participating in workshops hosted by various student support offices, such as Career Development, Center for Tutoring & Writing, Wellness Center, etc.


U245 Gallery management and student exhibition opportunities

Managing the U245 student Gallery for at least one academic year.

Serving on the Student Activities Board

Serving as a participating member of the Student Activities Board to plan and host events.