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Experiential Learning

Experiential Learning is an integral part of the Madison education. Studying abroad and engaging in internships allow students to gain firsthand experience that can then be applied to their academic interests.


Field Experience Overview

A Madison education focuses on applying knowledge and analysis to public issues and theoretical approaches to social science. Students learn to think critically and analytically about public affairs, evaluate policy options and understand decision-making. A liberal education is incomplete without a chance to test and apply these abilities in professional settings; therefore, field experience is a requirement for all Madison students. 

Typically during students’ third or fourth year, one semester is spent participating in an internship. In addition to the learning opportunities afforded by such an internship, many of our graduates have developed excellent job contacts through the organizations where they interned.

Field experience consists of two concurrent courses - MC 400 (5 or 9 credits, pass/no pass) and MC 401 (3 credits, pass/no pass). During the second and third years, students should consult with the JMC field experience coordinator, where they can explore more than 500 internship opportunities available. These opportunities encompass several professional fields, and students can be placed throughout the U.S. and abroad. 

With approval, students may develop internships with organizations other than those already promoted through the field experience office. 

Students may, with adviser approval, petition to substitute one of the following four options for MC400 and/or MC401: a senior honors thesis; prior professional or public affairs-related work experience relevant to the Madison program; a student teaching dual major or a dual major practicum; or an approved study abroad program. To acquire a Field Experience Substitution Petition, see the "Forms" link below, stop by the Field Experience Office (329B S. Case Hall), or contact Field Experience Coordinator Lauren Michalak (michal34@msu.edu).

Students considering substitution for Field Experience or enrollment in the part-time credit option should remember that they need to complete a minimum of 47 MC credits to be eligible for graduation, or 41 credits if they are transfer students (either internal or external) or if they will be doing student teaching.


Important Resources