Experiential Learning

Extending your Honors experience beyond the classroom

Winter 2018 Due Dates
By... You must have...
Monday, Jan 22 @ 9:00am Submitted a complete application for any activities happening this quarter
Monday, Jan 29 @ 9:00am Received a confirmation email stating that the Honors staff approved or denied your application
Monday, Feb 5 @ 9:00am Received a confirmation email stating that your supervisor approved or denied your application
Monday, Feb 12 @ 9:00am Submitted any revisions for applications denied by either Honors or your supervisor
Last week of the quarter
Received an email from Honors with a link to your final reflection form
Monday, Apr 9 @ 9:00am Submitted your final reflection and had your supervisor submit the final evaluation

The Honors Program believes that participation in activities outside of the classroom enhances and enriches the undergraduate experience, helping students connect their education to the larger world. Knowing that you will participate in many different types of activities throughout your undergraduate years, our goal is to help you take academic risks, actively engage in your own learning, explore the world, and ultimately develop a deeper understanding of yourself and your goals.

Therefore, Honors Program students completing Interdisciplinary Honors must demonstrate that they have participated in two experiential learning activities during their undergraduate education. These should be in the areas of international engagement, service, research, and leadership.

International Engagement

A project or period of study which involves travel or extensive engagement outside the U.S. This can also be met through working with an international community or project in the U.S. However, if you have an activity in mind that does not involve leaving the U.S., it must be of considerable depth, scope, and duration to qualify for this category. Examples include, but are not limited to, Honors study abroad programs, opportunities offered by the UW Law School's Global Health and Justice Project, or working for an internationally-focused group like a refugee resettlement organization.


A project or period of engagement with a campus or community-based service organization or group. Sustained engagement with one project or organization is preferred and you must demonstrate both engagement with the organization/project and with the issues the organization/project addresses. Examples include, but are not limited to, participation in a course (either Honors or other courses) that has service learning embedded in the curriculum, service programs through the UW's Center for Experiential Learning and Diversity, internships and fellowships with a service and community participation focus, or volunteering at the the UW Medical Center.


A research job or project in any field (sciences, humanities, social sciences, arts, etcetera). This includes working with a faculty member or scholar on research, or implementing a research project of the student's design. Research related to your Honors thesis or departmental work is eligible. Examples include, but are not limited to, departmental Honors thesis/research participation, opportunities through the Undergraduate Research Program, or independent research conducted with a faculty mentor.


An activity in which you demonstrate vision and then translate that vision into sustained action while collaborating with various partners. You must play a guiding role in said activity and demonstrate an engagement that clearly illustrates your commitment and collaborative skills. Examples include, but are not limited to, participation in Honors 100 as an Honors Peer Educator, acting as a FIG leader, or serving as a Resident Adviser (RA).

Please remember that all projects must be approved individually by the Honors Program via the application process, even if it is a program sponsored by the Honors Program or listed here as an example.

The intent of this requirement is to think deliberately about experiences you are having and how those experiences tie into your education. While this requirement can be satisfied via Honors-specific opportunities, there are many non-Honors and non-UW options that will also satisfy it. The UW offers a wide range of opportunities for students to engage in experiential learning on and off-campus, and our students frequently design their own projects and forge their own partnerships.

Keep the following in mind as you begin your experiential learning activities: 

  • The Honors requirement can only be fulfilled through experiences completed during the undergraduate years - activities undertaken prior to enrollment at the UW will not count and all activities must be completed prior to graduation with Honors.
  • While activities already in progress when you apply may count towards your Honors Experiential Learning requirements, they must extend for at least one quarter after being officially approved and involve at least 20 hours.
  • Activities cannot be approved retroactively.
  • A student beginning an activity should submit an official application in order to count it towards the requirement, even if that means applying more than twice. 
  • Specific projects may actually fit more than one of the categories; you should choose the category that best represents the project, and demonstrate that your two activities are distinct.
  • Students must demonstrate sustained engagement in their activity. This will differ by activity, but it is a minimum of one full quarter participation and the full completion of your agreed-upon commitment to your organization or partners.
  • You will include one of your two Experiential Learning activities in your portfolio. On completion of one of these two requirements and all or most Honors Core courses, you will register for HONORS 496.
  • Please note that students are not required to complete additional work outside of their established commitment to their organization or position in order to meet the Honors Experiential Learning requirement. Students may simultaneously satisfy this and other requirements, such as those within the major.

Selecting a project

  1. Review the Experiential Learning guidelines and definitions.
  2. Talk to an Honors Program adviser about your ideas.
  3. Speak with potential supervisors and solidify their commitment to oversee your activity.
  4. Draft and submit your application.

Submitting an application

  1. Submit the official application by the end of the second week of the quarter you will participate in the activity. The application will open during week 5 of the prior quarter, and students are encouraged to submit applications as soon as possible.
  2. Receive email approval of your application from the Honors Program by the end of the third week of the quarter.
  3. Ensure your supervisor submits her/his approval of your application by the end of the fourth week of the quarter. It is your responsibility to follow up with your supervisor to ensure this happens; we will not remind you or your supervisor.

Completing and receiving credit for the requirement

  1. Complete the activity, communicating regularly with your supervisor throughout.
  2. Submit the reflection form (emailed to you at the end of the quarter you end the activity in) and remind your supervisor to submit the final evaluation of your completed activity.
  3. Archive your application and reflection form and any relevant artifacts for use in your portfolio.

For each Experiential Learning activity, you must choose a supervisor to oversee your progress and evaluate your completion of it. This person can be associated with the UW - as faculty, staff, or a graduate student - or may be a member of the community or organization in which you are working. It is important to choose a supervisor who will have direct involvement with the project, is able and willing to supervise you throughout the project, and can submit a final evaluation of the project and your reflective component. The project supervisor's approval is required before beginning a project, and their satisfactory evaluation is required in order for you to fulfill the Experiential Learning requirement.

Learn more about the expectations for students and supervisors »