Dr. Tatenda Mambo, PhD’16, postdoctoral scholar in the University of Calgary's Sustainability Studies program in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

Experiential learning at UCalgary

Experiential learning is hands-on, real-world projects in UCalgary research labs, classrooms, local communities and global industries. 

The diversity of experiences I had made me realize that my life and career path are not linear. I will come across many various opportunities, and it's okay if I try out different activities. From time to time, I will change my life's direction as I follow my sense of purpose.

Celina Pablo, (B.Comm 2019)

Our plan for experiential learning

Learn more about experiential learning at the University of Calgary.

Experiential Learning Plan

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How we define types of experiential learning

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Experiential Learning Advisory Committee


Office of Experiential Learning

About the Office

Experiential learning elevates the student experience

  • Supports students in discovering a sense of purpose 

  • Provides relevant ‘real-world’ learning 

  • Helps students develop their skills and build their careers 

  • Prepares students for leadership roles in their communities and organizations

Student in lab


Learn more about experiential learning (EL), activities that may be right for you, and how EL can help you find purpose, navigate your career, expand your skills and connect you to great people.

Faculty of Arts group effort

Faculty and staff

Explore how to incorporate experiential learning into your programs and activities. Find resources, examples, how-tos and networks to support you.

CUPS clinic

Industry and community partners

Leverage student talent through a variety of paid and unpaid opportunities. Find out how UCalgary can support your organization through experiential learning. 

Examples of educators, students and industry participating in experiential learning

Karen Quinn

Mature student Dr. Karen Quinn charts a new path after her PhD

After years of working as a postdoctoral biomedical researcher, Dr. Karen Quinn, PhD, returned to university and, after volunteering on campus, found her passion in student advising.

Office of Sustainability

Office of Sustainability offers volunteer opportunities and work terms

UCalgary offers meaningful learning opportunities for students where they can contribute to the success of the Office.

Calgary Public Library

Faculty of Arts professors partner with Calgary Public Library for community-engaged learning 

Two English professors bring together their shared passion to improve community engagement among the arts and humanities at the University of Calgary.

Postdoctoral Fellow in the Energy Bioengineering Group Christine Sharp, Research Assistant Karen Andrea Canon-Rubio, and undergraduate student Zack Urquhart

Learn more about experiential learning

Learning is a process of grappling with problems, examining what we know or think we know, testing different approaches, and reflecting on what did or didn't work. Through this process of repeat testing and reflection, we retain and prepare ourselves to apply the learning from experience. 

Experiential learning is an umbrella term describing activities where students learn-by-doing. These activities help students bridge their knowledge with experiences. They prepare students to grapple with messy problems, sort through different perspectives and develop new ways of thinking and doing. Often — but not always — experiential learning takes learners outside of the classroom. It includes internships, field studies, co-ops, laboratories, creative performance, simulations, capstone projects, practicums and undergraduate research among many others. 

Experiences include internships, field studies, co-ops, laboratories, creative performance, simulations, capstone projects and case studies, practicums and undergraduate research among many others. These experiences support students in discovering a sense of purpose, building essential skills and preparing them for leadership roles in their communities and organizations. 

Our Experience Catalogue on the Elevate platform is a searchable tool promoting Experiential Learning opportunities. We continue to build this new resource connecting students with exciting opportunities to learn by doing. Students can also talk to advisors in Career Services, the Student Success Centre, Leadership and Student Engagement (and more!) to find the right fit.  

If you’d like to hire a student for a coop or internship position, a part-time or summer job or a new graduate opportunity, you can post the job on Elevate. New users will need to register for an employer account.