Experiential learning brings academic studies to life.

Experiential learning is often called "hands-on" or "applied" learning, but it's so much more than that. It's a structured process that enables you to extract personally meaningful insights from an experience.

When you learn experientially, you participate in goal-setting, real-life activities, and structured reflection. This process enables you to develop deep knowledge about a subject or situation, along with personal and professional skills.

At Mount Allison, experiential learning takes a wide variety of forms, from field trips to photography exhibits to forays into the world of work.

  • For credit: forms part of for-credit courses
  • Co-curricular: offered through co-curricular (non-credit) programs
Examples of experiential learning in courses
  • Service learning projects (volunteer projects for organizations)
  • Field trips
  • Field work
  • Guest speakers
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Artistic performance
  • Scientific research
  • Archival research
  • Simulations
  • Conferences
  • Case studies
  • Consulting projects

Visit individual academic departments for more information.

Examples of co-curricular experiential learning

FOR FACULTY: for more in-depth information check out our resources for faculty.

Experiential Learning (EXPL) Credit

The Independent Experiential Learning (EXPL) Credit allows you to create your own independent study course that combines your dream job, volunteer experience or other activity that you engage in outside the classroom with your academics.

Experiential learning helps students grow, not just intellectually, but also personally and professionally.


In general, students should have third year academic standing, can apply for three credits per experience (to a maximum of six) and will be approved by their faculty supervisor and the Experiential Learning Committee.

Developing your proposal for your EXPL credit

When developing your proposal for your EXPL credit, you should be aware that there are six elements of experiential learning that must meet scholarly standards to be able to qualify for academic credit:

  • Relevant context that logically connects with an academic discipline
  • Intent to learn from the experience, expressed in learning outcomes that target growth in academic knowledge and skills
  • Authentic, concrete experience that’s complex enough for you to develop a meaningful, intellectually demanding learning plan around it
  • Application of concepts from one or more academic disciplines
  • Development of skills, knowledge, and values, including academic knowledge, skills, and values
  • Structured reflection on the experience and the learning process, including critical reflection that integrates academic knowledge
How to apply

The application process of academic credit for an independent experiential learning project is governed by regulations in the Academic Calendar — 11.11.3 Academic Credit for Independent Experiential Learning. Students are recommended to familiarize themselves with it prior to application.

To create your EXPL course, you need:

  • A private, public, or not-for-profit organization willing to participate in your project
  • Faculty supervisor
  • Academic framework that integrates hands-on learning with academic concepts
  • Approval of the Senate Experiential Learning Committee

To apply, submit the Experiential Learning Credit Application Form (pdf).

The form needs to be signed by your faculty supervisor and a letter of support from your host organization must be attached.

We're happy to help! We have more details and examples to help you with your application. If you have questions about proposing an EXPL course, email Rebecca Leaman at rleaman@mta.ca.

Experiential learning news

Dr. Andrea Morash honoured with 2024 Tucker Teaching Award 
Expert in comparative and environmental physiology recognized for excellence in teaching  
Drama and Screen Studies program premieres debut film
Mount Allison students explore filmmaking with a reimagined classic
Celebrating experiential learning at Mount Allison 
New experiential learning public catalogue and student record announced 

Contact us

Experiential Learning & Career Development