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Earning Requirements Through Experience

The College of Science believes that student success is profoundly impacted by the opportunity to apply knowledge gained in a diverse curriculum to real world challenges and experiences. The 2007 Science Core curriculum was developed to provide a strong disciplinary and core knowledge foundation from which students could connect what they learn through coursework with real world experience.

Research in experiential learning shows that students who engage in non-curricular experiences during their undergraduate programs solve real world challenges in relevant, participatory and concrete ways. The recent Purdue Gallop poll (fall, 2014) reports:

"Making connections between classroom learning and real life applications of that learning is key in preparing college graduates for that great job," commented John H. Pryor, senior research scientist for Gallup and lead researcher for the Gallup-Purdue Index. "There is a need to increase the exposure college students have with experiences that enrich their academic learning by making internships and partnerships with faculty and industry and organizations available to all students."

College of Science students may choose to complete one or more of following core Science requirements through approved learning experiences*, including, but not limited to: internships, co-ops, research, Study Abroad, Entrepreneurship and EPICS projects.

*Experiential Learning Contracts must be completed one semester prior to a student’s anticipated graduation date.


Experiential Learning Approval Process

Students wishing to meet a requirement using a learning experience must complete the following process prior to the start of the experience. Post-experience approvals will be considered on a case-by-case basis. All experiences must occur during a student's undergraduate program at Purdue and have a scientific focus.

Preapproval Stage

Student Responsibilities:

  1. Meet with your academic advisor to discuss your interest in using an experience to meet a core curriculum requirement; discuss the criteria, approval process and required documentation.

  2. Identify a Research or Work Supervisor who will work with you to complete the experiential learning process.

  3. Complete and submit the Experiential Learning Contract to: Science Undergraduate Advising Office, Mathematical Sciences building, Room 231,150 N University St, MA 231, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2067.  

Research/Work Supervisor:

  1. Sign the Experiential Learning Contract.

  2. Complete the Pre-approval Form. This form allows the supervisor, who will assess and evaluate a student’s experience, to document the experience and how it will meet one of the College of Science core curriculum requirements. Supervisors should be thorough in their explanations.

Special Note:  If a research/work supervisor will be assigned when the experience starts, please provide general contact information including location of the experience. Submit a statement to, outlining your experience and documenting how it will meet a requirement in your degree program. This statement will be evaluated pending the completion of the preapproval form by your research/work supervisor. The preapproval stage is not complete until the research/work supervisor signs your Experiential Learning Contract and submits the preapproval form to Once this is completed, the experience is reviewed for preapproval a  faculty representative.

College of Science Review:

A faculty representative will review the Experiential Learning Contract and Preapproval From to determine if the experience may be approved to meet requirement. This decision will be sent to the student and student’s advisor via Purdue email addresses.

Final Approval Stage

Research/Work Supervisor:

The research/work supervisor will submit the Final Approval Form and other required supporting documents at the completion of a student’s experience to: or the Science Undergraduate Advising Office, Mathematical Sciences building, Room 231,150 N University St, MA 231, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2067. 

Student Responsibilities:

Students will complete their summary and/or reflection paper as dictated by each experiential learning process.

Faculty Representative:

The Faculty Representative will review final approval documentation to determine if the student has satisfactorily completed their experience, therefore meeting a College of Science core curriculum requirement. This decision will be sent to the student and the student’s advisor via Purdue email addresses.

Purdue University College of Science, 150 N. University St, West Lafayette, IN 47907 • Phone: (765) 494-1729, Fax: (765) 494-1736

Student Advising Office: (765) 494-1771, Fax: (765) 496-3015 • Science IT, (765) 494-4488

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