When Experience Matters Most: Learn by Doing

Experiential Learning is the process of learning by gaining active, hands-on experience in the real world to supplement one’s academic field of study and enhance their career development.

Through several forms of experiential learning, you can:

  • Obtain career-related experience
  • Explore career interests and clarify future career goals
  • Build confidence and enhance career competencies sought by employers
  • Network with professionals in your field and identify potential mentors
  • Improve your post-graduation job prospects
  • Earn recognition for your experience through transcript notation or course credit

 Report Your Experiential Learning Opportunity in HANDSHAKE in the EXPERIENCE section.

Types of Experiential Learning Activities:


Cooperative Education (co-op) is a structured method of combining classroom-based education with practical work experience.  Students who participate in the program will receive an official notation on their academic transcript.  Co-ops are paid and can be multi-semesters experiences (40 hours per week). Search for opportunities in Handshake.

Students who have accepted a co-op, should schedule an appointment with the Assistant Director for Experiential Learning, Pamela Basheer at basheerp@ncat.edu to discuss the process, the co-op course and fees.

Federal Work-Study is a need-based program. Students may indicate their interest in work study by completing a question on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Eligible students may earn money to help meet their educational and personal expenses while enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours. For more information visit the Office of Financial Aid.

An internship is most often a summer experience and/or a semester experience (10-20) hours per week) that may be paid or unpaid.  It allows the student to apply classroom theories to practical work. Search for these opportunities in Handshake.


Micro-Internships are short-term, paid, professional assignments that are similar to those given to new hires or interns and many of which can be completed remotely. Through Micro-Internships, you can demonstrate your skills, explore career paths, and develop your professional network.

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On-campus student employment opportunities are paid positions directly on-campus which are not need-based as in the case of work-study. Any student who desires to work and meet the screening criteria for the position may apply. On-campus student employment offers students the following:

  • Easy scheduling of work hours – often jobs can be scheduled in between classes
  • No need for transportation
  • Jobs range from indoor/clerical/office type work to outdoor recreation positions, research or event management positions.

 Search for these opportunities in Handshake.


Take advantage of the opportunity to conduct research, participate in a creative or service-learning project, or showcase your work through symposia and publications. North Carolina A&T State University’s Division of Research and Economic Development encourages students to engage in research, innovation, and scholarship through a variety of programs.

Broaden your education by becoming an active part of the community as part of your coursework. Visit the Office of Student Development website.

Getting involved in a recognized student organization on campus offers students the opportunity to locate rewarding leadership roles while also gaining valuable experience - both of which employers are always seeking.  North Carolina A&T State University’s (N.C. A&T) Student Government Association (SGA) provides NCAT students with representation, services, and advocacy within the University structure. Additionally, NCAT has over 125 recognized student organizations on campus. Many of these require student leadership to coordinate and organize, which helps students build their leadership skills. Search for opportunities at N.C. A&T Student Organizations.

How often do you get to travel internationally for months, experience other cultures, visit renowned landmarks, and network with students from other universities and countries while still learning? Check out the Office of International Affairs website for study abroad opportunities.

Forage virtual work experiences are free, online courses provided by leading companies including JPMorgan, BCG, General Electric and Accenture. These courses take approximately 6-8 hours to complete and help you build practical career skills by completing tasks similar to those you would undertake during an internship. You can complete courses without any lengthy application process and upon completion, you'll receive a certificate and can add the experience to your CV, Linkedin and Handshake profile. 

You can explore virtual work experiences and enroll on Forage here.