College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Sociology & Criminology

What is Experiential Learning?

Experiential learning is the process of transforming real-life experiences into knowledge. Experiential learning helps students to learn through their in-depth exposure to and work on real-world situations in real-world settings under the guidance of a professional in their field. Students apply the skills and knowledge they are learning in the classroom to their experiential learning situation. What they learn in that situation can then be brought back to the classroom through meaningful conversations, concrete examples, and critical reflection. 

The department sees experiential learning opportunities as invaluable for our majors. They foster student engagement with the wider community outside of Butler, they provide an applied basis for learning, and they expose students to multicultural and diverse social contexts. Through such experiences, students are able to further develop and refine the skills they are learning in their major and create the foundation for success after graduation.

Several different avenues for experiential learning are offered to our students, including;

Majors in the Sociology and Criminology department are required to complete an internship or service-learning course as well as the senior research seminar capstone project. Students interested in pursuing graduate school, research-oriented careers, or just learning more about a sociological/criminological topic and the research process can choose to collaborate with a faculty member on a research project through a directed research experience.