Experiential Learning

Educational Goal: Part of RIT's mission is to help you gain practical experience that will prepare you for career success after graduation. The Experiential Learning component of the Sociology & Anthropology degree is grounded in RIT's mission. One of the Educational Goals of the degree program is that you will describe how the perspectives, theories, methods, and accumulated knowledge within sociology and anthropology may be utilized to address contemporary social problems. The Experiential Learning activity is designed to help you reach that educational goal.

Options: You may fulfill the Experiential Learning requirement in one of several ways:

Number of Hours: For any of these options, you must complete a minimum of 160 hours over the course of at least four weeks.

Consult closely with your faculty advisor and the program director to consider your options and choose the route that is best for you. Use the Experiential Learning Form to solidify your plan and to assess your learning experience following its completion.


Study Abroad is an excellent choice for students who want to gain cultural immersion and improve their language skills while earning course credits. You can enroll directly in one of RIT's global campuses (in Croatia, Kosovo, and Dubai), go on a RIT-faculty-led trip, or attend one of hundreds of programs offered around the world that are affiliated with RIT. You can apply your RIT financial aid to participate in these study abroad opportunities. You can go abroad for as little as a month, or an entire summer, a semester, or even a year, depending upon your educational goals. To learn about all of the opportunities available to you, check out the RIT Study Abroad page and make an appointment to talk with a study abroad advisor. Fellowships are available to help offset the costs of study abroad. 

Archaeological Field School is an excellent option for students with interests in archaeology. Archaeological field schools are offered throughout the year at locations in the United States and around the world. Students participate in an ongoing archaeological excavation or survey project. You earn course credits while you simultaneously develop research skills, see a different part of the world, and meet new people. The American Anthropological Association compiles a list of field school opportunities of different types. The Archaeological Institute of America has a searchable database of field school opportunities and lists field school scholarships, too.  

Ethnographic Field School is a good choice for students who desire intensive cultural immersive experience. You participate in an ongoing ethnographic research project headed by a professional anthropologist, learning qualitative research skills through techniques such as interviews, participant observation, and structured observations. Ethnographic field schools are offered in the United States and around the world, often during the summer. You can earn course credit, advance your language and research skills, all the while living and participating in a community, and enriching your life through meeting new people. The American Anthropological Association compiles a list of field school opportunities of different types. Two field schools that are very highly recommended by RIT faculty are: the Open School of Ethnography and Anthropology at Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, Mexico and the Center for Engaged Learning Abroad in Belize.  

Internship with a government or not-for-profit agency is a good choice for students who want professional work experience. You work in that professional environment, expand your professional network, and build your résumé and your skill set. Internships are often unpaid. If your internship has a strong educational component (for example, you are doing research and writing), you may be able to gain course credit simultaneously; talk with your faculty advisor and the program director if this appeals to you. You may work at an internship while taking classes or during the summer, and you can complete an internship in Rochester, almost anywhere in the United States, and even abroad. Below is a partial list of agencies in and near Rochester that are known to hire interns:

Some prominent national and international organizations that offer internships are:

The American Anthropological Association compiles a list of internships related to anthropology

Internships.com has a large search engine across all fields.

Cooperative Education (Co-op) is paid employment in a company. You gain invaluable work experience in a company, expand your professional network, and get a sense for whether that type of work might interest you after graduation. Co-op assignments are often longer than is required for an internship. You can locate a co-op assignment advertised as such by the employer, or if a job has a clear connection to your sociology and anthropology degree, you typically will be able to use it toward your Experiential Learning requirement. For example, jobs involving youth development, social services, cultural heritage, community outreach, community development, community health, and education will typically count toward the Experiential Learning requirement. Paid employment at any of the agencies and organizations listed above will count for Co-op.

RIT's Office of Career Services and Co-operative Education can help you identify co-op assignments. Attending the Career Fairs and workshops can help you be competitive in the job search. For those wishing to launch international careers, consider RIT Work Abroad.

Grant-funded Research. Faculty members in the department may have external grants to support their ongoing research projects. You can work with a faculty member on one of these projects and simultaneously fulfill your Experiential Learning requirement.