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Experiential Learning

students in waders collect creek samplesThrough experiential learning, College of Arts and Science students extend the exploration and discovery of the classroom into other areas of campus, the larger Nashville community, and beyond. These diverse experiences don’t just expand our students’ education—they build better citizens; foster independence, empathy, and problem-solving; and support the development of our world’s next generation of leaders.

Experiential learning is available in a variety of formats, from course field trips and living/learning opportunities to community service and study abroad. Many experiences also qualify for AXLE (core curriculum) credit or help to satisfy the university’s Immersion requirement.

As part of Vanderbilt’s commitment to affordability, both A&S and the university offer a variety of financial support opportunities for experiential learning. Interested students are encouraged to contact the Office of Undergraduate Education, Office of Immersion Resources, or sponsoring department for more information.

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Immersion at A&S  helps to fulfill the Immersion Vanderbilt graduation requirement, a university-wide program that gives  students the opportunity to pursue their passions and cultivate their intellectual interests through experiential learning. Immersion takes place both in and beyond the classroom and culminates in the creation of a final project. Projects focus on one of four pathways: Civic & Professional, Creative Expression, International, and Research. Through Immersion, students explore new interests, transform ideas into action, and make a difference in the world.   

Study Abroad

A&S’s study abroad programs go beyond traditional language learning to encompass a variety of disciplines and research experiences. Some are available as full-semester or full-year programs, while others take place during Maymester or the summer. Students interested in study abroad should contact the Global Education Office for additional information, including guidance on transferring credits and financial aid.

Undergraduate Research

A&S offers a wealth of undergraduate research experiences in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Students may work on established studies or formulate their own projects. Many participants have the opportunity to author published papers or present at academic conferences.

Service Learning

Many A&S courses incorporate service learning, either on campus or in the larger Nashville community. Students interested in service learning courses should contact the relevant academic department for more information. Service learning opportunities are also available through the Office of Active Citizenship and Service.

Living/Learning Experiences

Several of Vanderbilt’s living/learning experiences are affiliated with A&S departments or have a long history of housing andsupporting A&S-affiliated students  and projects. These include:

  • Mayfield Living Learning Lodges : The lodges bring together groups of 10 students who live in residence as they pursue a self-directed, yearlong program of themed educational activities, often involving a culminating project or community service.
  • The McGill Project : Founded in 1972, the McGill Project is a joint endeavor between the Department of Philosophy, Department of Art, and Office of Housing and Residential Education. Residents support one another in deep exploration of the arts and philosophy and attend themed events designed to encourage diverse experiences and conversations.
  • McTyeire International House : The McTyeire International House supports foreign language proficiency and cultural awareness for students studying Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Russian, or Spanish. The halls are led by (mostly) native-speaking coordinators, and each hall's faculty adviser and other faculty visitors regularly dine with the students.