The Experience Program


The Experience Program provides an opportunity for practical application of academic knowledge and skill, while earning academic credit. Under the direction of a faculty sponsor students may work under the supervision of a work-site supervisor at an off-campus outside agency or in an on-campus UMD department. The range of project types and settings is almost limitless, creating exciting ways to enrich one’s academic studies, gain valuable experience, and test a tentative career choice.

The Program is administered through the Colleges and requires the development of an Experience Program Contract, an agreement to undertake a significant academic learning experience. 

Program Goals for Students

  • to apply theory to actual working situations
  • to gain knowledge by performing tasks related to academic disciplines
  • to synthesize knowledge from a variety of sources
  • to gain a greater degree of self-direction in the learning process
  • to test a tentative career choice

Prerequisites and Requirements:

  • Students must have earned at least 30 cumulative credit hours and a GPA of 2.0 or higher in order to participate.
  • Although the typical Experience would earn three credits, Experiences proposing a greater/lesser number of credits are also possible. Projects proposing to earn greater than three credit hours will be carefully reviewed.
  • Experience Program credits are part of the normal student credit load and subject to university policy with regard to credit-hour limitations.
  • Experience Program courses may not be used to fulfill distribution or general education requirements but serve as free electives and may be accepted toward the requirements of some majors.
  • Experience Program credits are lower-division credits.
  • Students on academic warning or probation are not eligible for the Experience Program, unless their college Dean waives ineligibility.
  • Supervision of students doing projects under the Experience Program shall in all cases exclude individuals who are themselves undergraduate degree candidates; and a faculty member cannot serve as both supervisor and sponsor.
  • Please note that a Experience Program credits cannot be earned under business disciplines. Students pursuing business degrees should contact the Charlton College of Business regarding internship opportunities.

Policy Statement

  1. Definition: The Experience Program enables students to earn academic credit for experiential learning projects formulated with the advice and consent of faculty and academic dean.
  2. The Program is open to degree candidates, generally juniors or seniors. Students who have not attained at least junior status, but can establish their capability for a proposed project, may participate in the program. The
    Experience Program is not available to students on academic probation, unless approved by their college Dean.
  3. The formal written proposal shall contain an outline of the project to be pursued and a statement of the credit hours to be awarded to the student upon the successful completion of the proposed project.  The contract must be approved by the supervisor at the outside agency concerned, a faculty sponsor, and the Chairperson of the sponsoring academic department, the Chairperson of the student's major.
  4. The Chairperson of the student’s major department shall decide in advance if the proposed credits will be applied to the fulfillment of the major. Credits may not be used to fulfill distribution requirements. If credits are not applied to the student’s major, they will be counted as free-elective credits. Credits are not eligible to be included in the 30 credits of advanced or specialized courses (300- level or higher) required for graduation.
  5. For every Experience there shall be at least three meetings of the student and both persons involved in the evaluation of the student's performance (the faculty sponsor and the agency supervisor). The first meeting will be at the beginning of the project to develop the conditions for learning and evaluation. The second meeting will be held before the last day that the “W” grade may be awarded. The third meeting will be held at the end of the contract period to evaluate the results.
  6. The assessment of the student's achievement shall be the responsibility of the faculty sponsor who shall consult with the student’s immediate supervisor(s) from the outside agency. The evaluation shall be on a credit/no credit basis for the number of credit hours specified in the contract. The title of the contract shall be noted on the student’s transcript. In order to receive credit for a contract, the student must submit to the faculty sponsor a written statement of the contract’s results. Such a document, whose nature is to be determined by the sponsoring faculty member, might, for example, include the following: (a) how objectives were met, (b) how personal improvement was stimulated, (c) how the Experience related to the student's academic experience, and (d) how the Experience could be improved for students who pursue similar projects in the future.
  7. Forty-five hours of work should be performed per credit-hour earned. Typically, a three-credit experience requires nine hours of work per week (135 total hours throughout the semester), as approved by the faculty sponsor. The remaining hours typically are spent on additional related off-site work. Projects proposing to earn greater than three credit hours should be scrutinized carefully. Typical on-site hours worked per week: 3 credits = 126 hours 2 credits = 84 hours 1 credit=42 hours
  8. A student may take up to 1/8 of UMD graduation credits, but no more than 15 credits, under the Experience Program. If a student takes more than 6 credits under this program, s/he must first secure permission from the Dean of his/her college.
  9. Credits are considered part of the normal student credit load and are subject to University policy with regard to credit-hour limitations. During the add/drop period, students may drop their registration in the Program. Up to five weeks into the semester, students may increase the credit hours attempted per their contract, subject to the same approval procedures as the original proposal.
  10. Supervision of students doing projects under the Experience Program shall in all cases exclude individuals who are undergraduate degree candidates at UMD. Offices and departments within the University may act as outside agencies, but faculty sponsors and sponsoring department Chairpersons may not function as supervisors of projects.
  11. Summer Tuition and Fees–The summer Experience Program is part of the University Extension division. Summer enrollment in the Program will not be covered by fall or spring tuition and fees; any financial aid a student may have received for fall or spring will not apply. Estimated costs are available on-line via Any inquiries regarding applicable charges should be directed to the UMD Enrollment Services Center.