What is Experiential Learning?

What is Experiential Learning?

Experiential learning is an engaged learning process whereby students "learn by doing" and by reflecting on the experience. Experiential learning activities can include, but are not limited to, hands-on laboratory experiments, internships, practicums, field exercises, study abroad, undergraduate research and studio performances.

Research Opportunities

In addition to opportunities offered by the Office of Undergraduate Research, students may register for Individual Research or Programming Projects for credit. We suggest:

  1. visiting our Research page to see what area(s) might interest you and contact faculty member(s);
  2. filling out, with faculty, the CLAS UP - Independent Study Contract;
  3. approval thereof will grant you permission to enroll, on myUI, in CS:5990.

Past ICRU projects may be found in Spotlights below:

Both UI and non-UI students may also apply for our departmental REU program (an REU - Research Experience for Undergraduates is an NSF-funded summer program designed to introduce undergraduate students to research). Our REU program runs for 10 weeks, and undergraduate student will join their faculty mentor's research group, which consists of other faculty, graduate and sometimes undergraduate students, to work on an interdisciplinary project. Students also participate in a Data Science Bootcamp and career development workshops. REUs are a full-time commitment that provide a stipend, housing and meals. In addition to research, students will be involved in social events and fun excursions (so you won’t be spending all summer just working). For more information, visit the REU Computing for Health and Well-being site.

For a current list of additional research opportunities in our department and across campus, see the Computer Science Job Postings page.


Internships are strongly encouraged for career preparation and often lead to full-time employment after graduation. Many are available with high-profile companies such as John Deere, Collins Aerospace, Cerner Corporation, State Farm Insurance, Pearson, IBM, and Microsoft, which have strong, long-standing relationships with the department. You’ll also have opportunities to pursue individual research projects and work one-on-one with a professor in a specialized field; this is a requirement for those who graduate with honors. For a current list of available and ongoing internships, see the Computer Science Job Postings page.

For a list of past internships taken by our students, see the Computer Science Internships List.

We've also started "debriefing" students coming back from internships: read their insights, tips, etc. here!

University Resources

The University of Iowa provides general information concerning research, internships, studying abroad and experiential learning. For more information about these learning opportunities, please visit the following links:

Undergraduate Research
Study Abroad
Experiential Learning
Engaged Learning