Applied Learning

Applied Learning at UNCW

At UNCW, we define applied learning as a pedagogical model that places students in experiences requiring them to integrate theories, ideas, and skills they have learned into new contexts, thereby extending their learning.

  • What kinds of learning experiences may be considered applied learning at UNCW?
    Applied learning experiences take place in a wide variety of settings. The four core categories of applied learning at UNCW include undergraduate research, study abroad, internships, and service learning. While many of these for-credit experiences take place outside the traditional classroom, UNCW also offers applied learning components that enhance standard classes as well ones or that are implemented as non-credit bearing options.

  • When can I start an applied learning experience and how often may I participate in these experiences at UNCW?
    Historically, these types of experiences have been reserved for more advanced undergraduate students. At UNCW, however, our mission is to engage our students in applied learning in a developmental fashion, which means that we want our students to practice applied learning both early and often.

    For example, a UNCW student can start orientating herself with applied learning through a designated First-Year Seminar, continue work on a question brought up in a class through a directed independent study, follow up with a study abroad experience, and then conduct advanced research with a professor or undertake an internship. Applied learning experiences often build off of each other and help the student to become a better rounded and more productive thinker and citizen.

  • Why does UNCW focus on applied learning experiences?
    Because of our faculty and staff's commitment to our students, UNCW has a long history of excellence in areas of applied learning such as service learning, internships, study abroad, and faculty-mentored undergraduate research. We are so committed to it not only because we're good at it, but because there is strong evidence that correlates multiple, high-impact applied learning experiences with continued academic success (depth of knowledge, graduation rates, and degree efficiency) as well as a more successful transition to the next phase of the student's life, whether it be graduate work or the workplace.

  • What is UNCW's commitment to applied learning?
    UNCW is committed to providing every single one of our students with at least one applied experience during their time at the university through the University Studies requirement of Explorations Beyond the Classroom. Moreover, the campus has just dedicated additional time, energy, and resources for faculty and staff to enhance student learning through applied learning with the implementation of our new Quality Enhancement Plan, ETEAL.

  • As a student, how can I get involved in an applied learning experience?
    Speak to your advisor, your professor or contact us at