Experiential Learning

Experiential Learning
The hands-on experiences that turn
knowledge into know-how.

At RIT, experiential learning enables students to apply what they’ve learned through lectures, labs, assignments, and projects to a variety of rich experiences outside the classroom. These meaningful exchanges expand students’ knowledge and broaden their perspectives by refining their professional and intellectual competencies, cultivating their leadership abilities, advancing their career development, and further developing their talents.

Cooperative Education

Cooperative education is full-time, paid work experience in a corporate setting. Students often alternate co-op blocks with semesters of on-campus study. RIT has the fourth-oldest and one of the largest cooperative education programs in the world, annually placing more than 4,500 students in more than 6,200 co-op assignments with more than 2,200 employing organizations. Annually, co-op students generate more than $45 million in earnings through their employment with industry, business, government, and the not-for-profit sector throughout the U.S. and in 40 foreign countries.

Learn More about cooperative education


As an alternative to co-op, many academic programs offer students career-related work experience through internships: practical, hands-on work experience over the summer or coordinated around students’ academic schedules. Other academic programs—including, for example, public policy and international and global studies—offer internship opportunities in addition to co-op. While co-op assignments are full-time paid positions, internships may not pay a salary or require a full-time work schedule. In some instances, internship credit may be substituted for specific courses required in the academic major.

Learn more about internships on the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education website

International Experiences

Through various international experiences, students can enhance their cultural understanding and broaden their global view. Study abroad, faculty-led international excursions, cultural exchanges, and semesters of study at RIT’s global campuses and at universities around the globe are all designed to immerse students in new cultures and expand their world view.

Learn More about international experiences on the RIT Global website

Undergraduate Research

At RIT, undergraduate research means students will conduct research assignments that their peers at other universities often don’t see until graduate school. By providing undergraduates the opportunity to work directly with faculty members in their labs to investigate, explore, and discover, students learn hands-on skills that become the foundation of scientific research.

RIT’s Undergraduate Research Symposium
Learn more about undergraduate research


Identifying, defining, and building viable product commercialization and business opportunities is the cornerstone of entrepreneurship at RIT. Through courses, academic programs, hands-on projects, competitions, and resources, students can advance and realize their own business and product ideas.

Learn More about entrepreneurship

Service Learning

When students engage in community-based volunteering and service projects, they participate in meaningful experiences that teach civic responsibility and strengthen our global communities.

Learn More about service learning

Clinical Experiences

Hands-on learning in medical and clinical settings for students majoring in RIT’s health and medical sciences programs enable students to engage in a variety of experience required for professional licensing, such as data gathering, physical examinations, differential diagnosis, patient management, maintenance of medical records, performance of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and the provision of patient education and counseling.

Rochester Regional Health/RIT Alliance

people setting up their booths at a competition

Competitions, Simulations and Multidisciplinary Projects

Contests, sponsored challenges, and imitating and solving real-world problems provide RIT students with hands-on experience working on teams, responding to a variety of project parameters, meeting deadlines, and crafting responses in real-time scenarios. Working in multi-disciplinary teams, students engage in the exploration and design process, develop and assess solutions, identify and resolve project hurdles, and often design and build a working prototype or process that can be fully tested and evaluated.

Tiger Tank
RIT Business Model Competition

Latest News

  • February 1, 2023

    college student posing in front of workbench with measuring tools.

    Fashioning an engineering career

    There are talented women in tools—and undergraduate Tianna Seitz found her place among them during her co-op at Apex Tool Group in Lexington, S.C.

  • February 1, 2023

    college student operating a movie camera.

    Making connections in Los Angeles

    When Sarah Mehani landed in Los Angeles in August 2022, her goal was to get more experience and connect with other aspiring filmmakers. She achieved that and more during her time as a rentals intern at AbelCine.

  • February 1, 2023

    a group of people posing for a photo on the steps of a building in Kosovo.

    International programs enhance education

    Programs with RIT’s international campuses are helping to make well-rounded students. Six new scholarships being piloted this year will allow students from RIT’s main campus to travel to RIT Kosovo to explore the origin and resolution of armed conflict, reconstruction, and institution building at the end of wars.

  • February 1, 2023

    college students working on a film set with lighting, a boom mic, camera, computers, and a scene with a couple eating a meal at a table.

    Multidisciplinary center spurs creativity

    The crown jewel of RIT’s Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction & Creativity, MAGIC Spell Studios brings together the university’s academic strengths in game design and development, film and animation, and digital media, with a commercialization focus that provides Hollywood-scale virtual production experiences for students and clients.