Elon Experiences Programs

Elon Experiences prepare students for lives of meaningful work and service. By engaging students in opportunities that integrate knowledge and experience, the programs foster an understanding and life-long appreciation for learning. Students engage in a process that includes preparation, action, and reflection to develop the habits of mind required to learn effectively from experience and the commitment to put knowledge into action as responsible global citizens.

There are five experiences, all of which can lead toward completing the Experiential Learning Requirement (ELR).


Special courses, service projects, organizational leadership and internships help students develop the characteristics that identify a leader in any field: strong character, good communication skills, self-confidence, the ability to make decisions and motivate others, solve problems and take risks. Leadership development programs are described more fully in the Student Life section of Elon’s website and the university offers a minor in Leadership Studies.


Academic Service-Learning gives students the opportunity to link knowledge and skills learned in the classroom with the world around them. Through Academic Service-Learning courses, students develop a deeper understanding of disciplinary knowledge as they engage in academic coursework and relevant community projects guided by the expertise of faculty members and community practitioners. Students engage in structured reflection and complete academic assignments that enhance their understanding of the connections between course content and service. Academic Service-Learning has numerous demonstrated benefits for students including increased mastery of course content, improved critical thinking and problem-solving skills, increased understanding of social responsibility, and enhanced self-awareness and personal growth. Some Academic Service-Learning courses fulfill the Experiential Learning Requirement (ELR).

The Kernodle Center for Service-Learning and Community Engagement and Elon Volunteers! (the umbrella organization that coordinates and facilitates service experiences for students) combine volunteer service with education about social issues. Students may partly complete the ELR through one of the Kernodle Center’s volunteer service programs when they are linked with appropriate reflection and academic assessment.

Internships and Co-ops 

Elon University strongly supports programs that allow students to relate their classroom learning to work experience. Active cooperative education and internship programs provide opportunities throughout the academic year and during summers for students to explore careers, integrate theory with practice and examine future job possibilities. In each learning experience, the student’s academic or career-related work assignment is supervised and evaluated by Elon faculty. Internships are directly related to majors or minors, may be full or part time and paid or unpaid. Most departments offer internship credits. Co-ops usually offer pay, are full or part time, may be repeated and count toward elective credit.  More than 86 percent of 2015 Elon graduates reported participation in internships and co-ops on the graduation survey.

Eligibility Requirements: Students must be a junior or senior (sophomore for co-op), have a 2.0 minimum GPA, have completed departmental prerequisites and have approval from the faculty sponsor/Internship Director.

Global Engagement 

The Global Education Center (GEC) provides Elon students with opportunities to study, conduct research, engage in service learning or intern abroad during Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer terms. 

Elon operates its own overseas semester programs in London, England; Shanghai, China; Dunedin, New Zealand and Florence, Italy. An Elon faculty member serves as Faculty-in-Residence for these programs and teaches one course. Local faculty teach additional courses.

During Winter Term, Elon offers over 30 faculty-led programs. These begin with a 1-semester hour prerequisite Preparatory Seminar course in the Fall semester, followed by the 4-semester hour program abroad in January.

Undergraduate Research 

Undergraduate research is an integral component of the Elon experience. Mentored by a faculty member, student researchers engage in the exploration of new ideas and seek to further the knowledge in their chosen disciplines. As researchers, they enhance their disciplinary skills, gain confidence as emerging scholars and often develop contacts within the disciplinary network. Many undergraduate research projects lead to dissemination in the form of public presentations ranging from Elon’s Spring Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF) to regional, national and international conferences. It also is possible for students, as a result of their research, to be coauthors on peer-reviewed scholarly publications. Whether a student intends to transition immediately into the workforce after graduation or plans to pursue post-graduate studies, participating in undergraduate research will enhance his/her chances for ultimate success.

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