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Earning Experiential Learning Credits

About Experiential Learning Credits

Experiential learning refers to work done specifically toward your Honors EXCEL project, whether through research, internships, creative arts and design, study abroad or service.

While in the Honors EXCEL program, students must complete a total of six credits of experiential learning over at least two semesters. These credits can be completed in any the semesters in which the student is enrolled in the Honors EXCEL program.

Typically, 1 credit hour is defined as 3 hours of work per week for 15 weeks (a normal semester), for a total of 45 hours by semester’s end.

Acquiring Experiential Learning Credits

Experiential learning credits are acquired by enrolling in courses that integrate both their regular academic content and the time and space to work specifically on your Honors EXCEL project. In this context, “work” can mean both the physical work of doing or creating something, as well as the intellectual work of reading, asking questions, collaborating and thinking deeply.

Course Requirements

In order to be used for experiential credits, a course has to include all the components (requirements) listed below. However, if the given course does not meet all of these criteria, the missing components can be added through a separate syllabus agreement.

A course can be used for Honors EXCEL experiential learning credits if it includes all of these:

Applicable Courses

The best courses for this purpose are those that allow the student to choose the topics of class projects or products. Usually these are upper-level courses (300- or 400-level), which may be titled “Field Experience” (e.g. EXPH 491) or “Independent Study” (e.g. MKTG 495) or “Research” (e.g. HIST 497) – although other course numbers and titles may also be used.

You may wish to take a course that is in your major, but also provides you with skills, time and space that you would expend toward your Honors EXCEL project. This is useful because the credits accumulated in the course can be counted both toward the Honors EXCEL experiential learning credits and toward your degree requirements, if the course meets the requirements of both programs.

If there is no appropriate course in your major, you should consider whether work that fits your project can be completed by taking a course from another major or college on campus.

Finally, if you cannot find any appropriate courses either in your major or elsewhere, you can always use the Honors Independent Study (HONR 495) course for the same purpose.

NOTE: You may need to ask your academic adviser about any financial aid implications of taking additional courses. Remember that the credits accumulated in your chosen course will only count toward your degree if the given course meets the requirements of your degree. Ultimately, you may wish to consult your academic adviser to help you identify the most appropriate courses.

Registering for an Experiential Learning Course

A Step-by-Step Guide

As described above, there are three ways that you can earn experiential learning credits. Below, find detailed instructions on how to register for each of the options and fulfil your Honors EXCEL program requirements.

Option 1

A course from your major or another major that meets all of the requirements of experiential learning (e.g. ENGL318, BIOL486, MAE491).

  1. Contact the instructor, explain your purpose and obtain their pre-approval.
  2. Request a course syllabus from the instructor.
  3. Complete the Honors EXCEL experiential learning credit request form. Make sure to  include the syllabus received from the instructor in your request form. On the form, for each listed requirement, select the option “included in the syllabus above.” Ignore the “syllabus agreement” section at the bottom of the form.
  4. After you receive email confirmation from Honors EXCEL that your request was approved, register for the course using STAR or Schedule Builder from your WVU student portal.

Option 2

A course from your major or another major that meets most, but not all, of the requirements of experiential learning.

  1. Contact the instructor, explain your purpose and obtain their pre-approval.
  2. Request a course syllabus from the instructor. Determine which requirements for experiential learning are not included in the course syllabus. Work with your instructor to determine how the missing experiential learning requirements will be met through your work in the class and how that work will be assessed.
  3. Complete the Honors EXCEL experiential learning credit request form, submitting the syllabus received from your instructor. On the form, for any required component that is included in the syllabus, select “included in the syllabus above.” For any required component not included in the syllabus, select “see syllabus agreement below.” Then, describe how those missing requirements will be met using the “syllabus agreement” section of the form, which is located at the bottom of the form. We will email your professor to confirm their agreement with this syllabus agreement.
  4. After you receive email confirmation from Honors EXCEL that your request was approved, register for the course using STAR or Schedule Builder from your WVU student portal.

Option 3

A course from your major or another major that does not have a syllabus - or HON 495 (Honors Independent Study).

  1. Contact the instructor and/or your project mentor and explain your purpose. Work with them to create a syllabus that would meet all the experiential learning requirements using this syllabus template. (Note that the instructor of record for HON 495 is Dr. Dana Huebert Lima.)
  2. Complete the Honors EXCEL experiential learning credits request form. Submit the syllabus created with the instructor. Because you used the syllabus template, we expect that all the experiential learning requirements have been met in your course syllabus. On the form, for each listed requirement select the option “included in the syllabus above.” Ignore the “syllabus agreement” section at the bottom of the form. We will contact the instructor to confirm their agreement with the submitted syllabus.
  3. After you receive email confirmation from Honors EXCEL that your request was approved, register for the course using STAR or Schedule Builder from your WVU student portal.

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