Experiential Learning Projects

I. Individual Learning Projects (ILPs): Usually DEPT 271 or 371

An individual learning project (ILP) is a well-developed course of study planned and carried out by a student. It provides opportunity to pursue academic interests in several ways: tutorial studies, directed studies and individually studied courses.

In undertaking an individual learning project, a student structures a college-level course and assumes responsibility for bringing it to fruition. A student plans a syllabus which identifies the goals, problems, methods, resources and evaluative criteria of the study. The faculty moderator gives initial approval of the project, is available for consultation and assumes responsibility for submitting a final evaluation. A department chair must approve any ILP. Unless a specific department specifies an earlier deadline, students must submit a detailed proposal for an ILP to the faculty moderator and department chair prior to the beginning of the semester.


  • Students are not eligible for ILPs until the start of their second year in college as a degree seeking student.
  • No more than four ILP credits may be undertaken within a semester.
  • Upper-division ILPs have as a prerequisite the completion of 12 other credits of coursework within the department prior to the start of the ILP semester.
  • Summer ILPs may only be moderated by tenured faculty who are under contract for the following academic year.
  • Summer ILPs may only be completed by students who have accumulated at least 84 academic credits.
  • An ILP may not count toward a major unless approved by the department chair.
  • An ILP may not count toward the Common Curriculum unless approved by Academic Advising, in consultation with the CCC if needed. 

II. Academic Internship Definition: Usually DEPT 397

The CSB/SJU internship experience is a form of experiential education that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skill development in a professional setting. Students earn academic credit in various departments across the disciplines offered for study at CSB/SJU. Academic (for-credit) internships are a work/learning arrangement and constitute a three-way partnership between CSB/SJU, the host organization, and the student intern. The internship is usually the length or equivalent of an academic term, may be part-time or full-time, paid or unpaid. An integral component of the experience, which distinguishes it from other types of work, is one or more forms of structured and deliberate reflection contained within the required internship learning contract's goals and objectives.

--adapted from Michael True's Internship-Net listserv definition created in April/May 2010.

A. On-Site Component. Academic internships at CSB/SJU would require students to complete a minimum of 40 hours on-site over the course of at least four weeks with increasing hours required on-site as credit hours increase (see Table 1 below). It is up to each academic department, under the purview of department chairs and faculty moderators, to determine whether or not minimum institutional policies are appropriate and/or allowed for credit-bearing internships within their discipline (or if requirements would need to be expanded). Further, institutional and department-specific guidelines for internships must frame experiences that continue to incorporate the learning goals below, which were created and approved for the "Experiential Learning" (EL) Designation by the Common Curriculum Committee. Lastly, students are also advised to check with their internship host organization to identify whether or not they will be required to complete more than the 40 hours over four weeks minimum required to earn one credit at CSB/SJU.

B. Academic Component. Students seeking academic internship credit must be able to demonstrate what they have learned at the internship site through complimentary academic work (a.k.a. the "means of evaluation," which should be outlined on their Learning Contract). Faculty moderators should assign means of evaluation that are both fitting within their academic discipline, as well as appropriate for the number of credits sought. Academic work should increase as credit hours increase. It should be noted that typical internships are registered for academic credit in the amount ranging from 1-4 credits. To align academic internships with EL Designation requirements, means of evaluation must minimally include either a weekly reflective journal or a final paper, as well as a site visit and internship reports outlined by the XPD - Experience and Professional Development Office. Faculty members may assign both a journal and a final paper or other means of evaluation that could include: an annotated bibliography, portfolio, final presentation, regular meetings with faculty moderator, required readings, etc.

Goal #1: Student will demonstrate the ability to integrate and apply knowledge and skills gained from one or more courses.

Goal #2: Student will demonstrate specific ways in which the internship activities deepen their understanding of the knowledge and skills gained through traditional course work.

II. Table 1. Revised Institutional Standards and Guidelines for On-Site Hours and Means of Evaluation Related to Academic Internships

Number of Credits

Minimum Total Hours On-Site

Minimum Internship Duration (Weeks)

Minimum Academic Component (Means of Evaluation)
1 40 4 Weekly journal or final, reflective paper
2 80 4
3 120 4
4 160 4 Weekly journals, academic paper (6-10 pages, citing peer-reviewed sources) or discipline appropriate assignment and final reflective paper
5 200 5
6 240 6
7 280 7
8 320 8 Weekly journals, academic paper (6-10 pages, citing peer-reviewed sources), or discipline appropriate assignment, final reflective paper, and a second, larger project (e.g., another academic paper, presentation or portfolio)

* These are Academic Curriculum Committee approved guidelines, please consult with your faculty moderator for specific information.

**Please note: Academic internships over eight credits are rare and the workload for such an internship would require correspondingly more hours of on-site and academic work. The terms of an 8+ credit internship will have to be negotiated with the sponsoring academic department and XPD - Experience and Professional Development Office.  

III.  Honors and All-College Thesis

Each department and program develops a capstone for their major. Many departments have a thesis project. The departmental thesis is distinct from the All-College Thesis, which typically takes three semesters of work, and some students develop their departmental thesis into an All-College Thesis. It is helpful if each department with a capstone thesis articulate in their catalog language any possible overlaps between their capstone and a possible All-College Thesis. If a student wishes to complete an All-College Thesis the student must enroll in HONR 396 and HONR 398. However, a student does not need to be enrolled in the Honors Program to write an All-College Thesis.

All College Thesis Proposal: HONR 396 (0-1 credit, not repeatable)

Student will work closely with a faculty advisor from the student's major department to develop a proposal for a thesis. The proposal will include: title, selection of committee members, statement of purpose and value to discipline, preliminary outline of project, bibliography and summary. Note that this is a self-directed process. Junior standing is required to enroll in Thesis Proposal. In rare cases, HONR 396 may be taken concurrently with HONR 398, but this must be approved by the Honors Director. Offered for S/U grading only. Note: a student does ot need to bein the Honors Program to enroll in HONR 396 or HONR 398.

All College Thesis: HONR 398 (0-4 credits, repeatable up to 4 credits)

Student will work closely with a faculty advisor from the student's major department writing a thesis, often in an area closely related to the advisor's own research or creative work. This research will typically take place over the course of one academic year or longer, and includes a prerequisite for a proposal (396). Student will form a committee comprised of 1 advisor and 2 readers. The thesis culminates in a 60-90 minute defense.  Senior standing is required to enroll in All College Thesis. May be split between semesters.


Students will graduate:

  • All College Honors (Student must complete at least 32 credits in HONR courses, 12 credits must be 300-level. Exceptions: Study abroad participant or student entering Honors Program during sophomore year must complete at least 28 credits in HONR courses.)
  • All College Thesis (must earn A)
  • All College Honors (A & B)