Experiential and Interdisciplinary Learning Requirements

There are new academic requirements for students who enter CFANS in fall 2013 and after. These are the Experiential Learning (EL) and Interdisciplinary Learning (ID) requirements. See below for details about these requirements and how they benefit students. (NOTE: Students who change their major must also meet these requirements, in the new major.)

To determine which of your major classes fulfill the EL and ID requirements, see your APAS report.(APAS is the Academic Progress Audit System. Log in with your U of M user name and password.) If you have questions, talk to your academic adviser.

PDF iconSee the full list of CFANS approved Experiential Learning (EL) and Interdisciplinary Learning (ID) courses.

Experiential Learning Requirement (EL)

Requirements in EL and ID

What is experiential learning? Experiential learning is a way to learn by doing, or learn by experiencing. Instead of acquiring information from a classroom lecture or book, experiential learning gives you active, hands-on experience in the real world. Examples of experiential learning options within CFANS include: off-campus study programs, field-based research, service-learning classes, internships, volunteer work related to your studies, and more. 

As of fall 2013, CFANS requires new undergraduate students to do at least ONE high-impact experiential learning activity before graduating. To help students fulfill this requirement, CFANS now offers multiple classes with an experiential learning component.

Why does CFANS have this requirement? Experiential learning greatly benefits students. It helps you gain skills, deepen your knowledge, and broaden your personal development. This results in graduates who are more prepared to be highly-skilled employees and scientists. In a competitive job market, employers seek students whose education includes real world experience. See the MN Daily article touting CFANS' experiential learning policy. If possible, CFANS students are encouraged to do multiple experiential learning activities before graduating.

Interdisciplinary Learning Requirement (ID)

What is interdisciplinary learning? An interdisciplinary (ID) course addresses issues from at least two different academic disciplines (two fields/departments within the university). By integrating two disciplines into one class, students have the opportunity to develop integrated problem-solving skills.

As of fall 2013, CFANS requires new undergraduate students to take one interdisciplinary course (2 credits or more) that counts toward their major.