EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

UPDATE: COVID-19 Campus Mitigation Plan / Students in credit-bearing experiential learning placements

Experiential learning is an engaged learning process where students learn by doing and reflecting on the experience. It’s a hands-on experience that includes a variety of activities and community engagement, within the University of Arizona or with an organization outside of the University.

In the School of Nutritional Sciences and Wellness, we use the term experiential learning to describe Internships, Directed Research, Independent Study, Preceptorships, and Capstones; as well as courses that have community work or volunteering experiences weaved into them.

Individual Studies within Experiential Learning, under the following:

  • Preceptorships (391/491)​
  • Directed Research (392/492)​
  • Internships (393/493)
  • Independent Study (399/499)​

And Experiential Learning within the following courses:

  • NSC 358L: Institutional Food Management Laboratory​
  • NSC 395A:  Experiential Learning in Nutritional Sciences​
  • NSC 444: Community Nutrition​
  • NSC 497A: Applied Sports Nutrition Workshop
  • NSC 497B: Medical Nutrition Therapy Workshop​
  • NSC 497F: Community and School Garden Workshop (not taught by NSW)​
  • NAFS 302: Food Practices​
  • NAFS 498: Senior Capstone 

All of these experiences will require varying degrees of hands-on experience where students will need to dedicate time outside of the classroom and outside of classwork in D2L.

NSC 391H & 491H

NSC 399H & 499H

Please refer to the Honors College policy on receiving honors credit for individual studies and research.

NSC 498H – Honors Thesis

Course Catalog Description: “An honors thesis is required of all the students graduating with honors. Students ordinarily sign up for this course as a two-semester sequence. The first semester the student performs research under the supervision of a faculty member; the second semester the student writes an honors thesis.”

Go to https://frankehonors.arizona.edu/academics/thesiscapstone for more information on the structure of an honors thesis.

Regular Grading: A, B, C, D, E

Credit varies and is dependent on the amount of hours a student can dedicate to the Preceptorship during the session of the course. 1 credit of Preceptorship = 45 hours of work.

Description: Preceptorships consist of work and practice in the classroom. Preceptors are highly motivated students who have previously taken the course and will provide support both in and out of the classroom. They function as student mentors and as instructional assistants.

Open positions are frequently posted on the SNAC D2L portal or emailed to students. If you want to preceptor for a specific course, you can inquire by emailing the instructor of the course.

FERPA Training for Instructors and Instructional Support Teams is REQUIRED for all preceptors. Preceptors must complete the FERPA Training before being enrolled into preceptorship credit. After completing your training, take a screenshot, and submit it with your application.

Alternative Grading: S, P, F

3-units of NSC 392 is required for B.S. in Precision Nutrition & Wellness

For students taking NSC 392/492 as an elective, credit varies and is dependent on the amount of hours a student and instructor can dedicate to the Directed Research project in a semester. 1 credit of Directed Research = 45 hours of work.

Description: Directed Research is a structured form of research, where a student can gain in-depth experience in a NSW lab. Students will work directly with a faculty member or graduate student to complete assignments related to the lab’s research with specific deliverables at the end of the semester. 

Directed Research is different than an Independent Study because it is graded and is focused on students conducting their own research.

Students can find a list of research faculty in Nutritional Sciences and Wellness by going to our directory. You can click on the name of each faculty member and see what their research areas are. If their area of research interests you and you would like to complete Directed Research in their lab, send them an email introducing yourself and ask if they are accepting students for the upcoming semester.

If you would like further information on how to get started in research, please review the information on the Research, Innovation & Impact Office website.

Regular Grading: A, B, C, D, E

Credit varies and is dependent on the amount of hours a student can dedicate to the Internship in a semester. 1 credit of Internship = 45 hours of work.

Description: An Internship requires specialized work on an individual basis in a nutrition or food related environment. The primary goal of an internship is to give students an opportunity to apply lessons learned in the classroom to a real-world experience set in a professional practice-oriented environment.

While students can complete non-credit bearing internships at any point in their academic career, NSC credit-bearing internships must include supervised professional practice in their major field. Students will need to have a supervisor at their internship site while completing academic coursework to receive credit for the experience.

Receiving NSC credit for an internship is dependent on the approval of the School of Nutritional Sciences & Wellness.

If you are interested in completing an internship or have been accepted into an internship you would like to receive credit for, please email Nicole Chavez at nicolelizette@arizona.edu.

NSC 393/493 requires an additional enrollment step, the NSC Internship Work Plan. Once your work plan is completed, you can submit it along with the Experiential Learning Form application.

Alternative Grading: S, P, F

*Please note, this is an undergraduate-level internship and not a Dietetic Internship*

Credit varies and is dependent on the amount of hours a student can dedicate to the Independent Study in a semester. 1 credit of Independent Study = 45 hours of work.

Description: Qualified students working on an individual basis with professors who have agreed to supervise such work. Independent Study is meant to be flexible, where students can work on a variety of different projects alongside a faculty supervisor.

Students can find a list of faculty to work with in Nutritional Sciences & Wellness by going to our directory. Click on the name of the faculty member to see what their project interest areas are. If the area of their projects or research interest you and you would like to complete an Independent Study under their guidance and supervision, send them an email introducing yourself and ask if they are accepting students for the upcoming semester.

If you would like further information on how to get started in research, please review the information on the Research, Innovation & Impact Office website.

Alternative Grading: S, P, F

1-unit course required for B.S. Nutritional Sciences - Dietetics Emphasis

Course Catalog Description: “The Quantity Food Production Management lab provides students the hands-on experience of learning and operating quantity food production equipment and the management experience of planning, purchasing, staffing and producing a menu for a lunch operation serving 100+ meals. Students will be required to meet all dress code requirements of the production facility.”

This course requires students to get hands-on experience in organizations that have food services; these can include (but are not limited to) hospitals, assisted living facilities, and schools. Students will also need to complete some hours with a community service organization like food banks, food pantries, food distribution centers, or another related agency.

2-unit course required for B.S. Nutritional Sciences - Dietetics Emphasis and Nutrition Emphasis​

Course Catalog Description: “This course offers an organized volunteer and work opportunity with oversight by the department and a classroom component.”

This course requires students to volunteer in a community location like food pantries, food banks, food distribution centers, hospitals, schools, community gardens, assisted living facilities, or other related agencies.

3-unit course required for B.S. Nutritional Sciences - Dietetics Emphasis and B.S. Nutrition & Food Systems

Course Catalog Description: “This course is an in depth look at how the RD/nutritionist works in the community, by providing hands-on experience in teaching nutrition in a community setting. The course will cover areas such as determining needs for nutrition education, public policy, various nutrition programs, funding and grant writing, and communication skills needed for various audiences.”

This course requires students to work with an organization for nutrition programming in community settings. The community setting can include (but is not limited to) worksites, health centers, clinics, hospitals, schools, churches, recreational and sports centers, or assisted living facilities. Students will develop needs assessments, develop objectives and nutrition lesson plans, implement interventions, and other related activities that will be evaluated by their supervisor in the community organization with the guidance of an instructor.

3-unit course elective for students who have taken NSC 415L and NSC 415R.

Course Catalog Description: “The NSC Applied Sports Nutrition Workshop will provide students with the opportunity for hands-on experiential learning in the field of Sports Nutrition. Sports Nutrition students will learn to conduct dietary intake assessments; practice menu development for athlete training tables, create recipe nutrient analyses, and observe University athlete training tables; create sports nutrition cooking demonstrations and nutrition education materials/presentations for athletes; learn and practice body composition assessment and analysis techniques; and observe athletes during training to better understand the physical demands of various sports. The program instructor and rotation leaders work closely with student participants to develop sports nutrition skill sets to compliment career aspirations within the sports and fitness nutrition industry.”

*Only taught in-person

1-unit course elective in Nutritional Sciences for students who have taken NSC 325 and NSC 395A

Course Catalog Description: “The NSC Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) Workshop will provide students with the opportunity for hands-on experiential learning in the field of MNT. Students will be assigned a variety of hands-on patient or client activities throughout the semester to strengthen their skills in applying MNT principles, developing competency to complete a comprehensive nutrition-focused physical assessment, strengthening communication and collaboration strategies, strengthening research skills related to research methodology, and interpretating of research literature and integration of research principles into evidence-based MNT practice.​

Students will meet weekly throughout the semester to review their patient interactions and nutrition care plan with the Instructor. Students will also participate in monthly patient care rounds where they will be required to present or describe their patient/client interactions related to that month. Students will also participate in journal club monthly to review and discuss assigned journal articles on MNT relevant topics. Students will also participate in 1 group community presentation during the semester. Students will be required to sign a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) agreement.”

*Only taught in-person

3-unit course required for B.S. Nutrition & Food Systems

Course Catalog Description: “This workshop-based course is designed to enable UA undergraduate and graduate students to work in Tucson-area schools and community sites helping stakeholders to plant, harvest and prepare foods from their garden as well as use the garden as a learning space. As a member of a school or community garden team, students are likely to cover a wide range of activities from maintaining a compost pile to administering lesson plans for teaching in the garden to weeding, planting, and organizing work crews. In addition to attending one 3-hour weekend workshop, students are required to attend weekly class meetings on the UA campus. Most of the course, however, revolves around independent and sustained involvement with a Tucson school or community garden. No teaching or gardening experience is required.”

*Only taught in-person

3-unit course required for B.S. in Nutrition & Food Systems

Course Catalog Description: “Our current food system significantly impacts our environmental and physical health. This course examines overarching concepts related to global, national, and regional food security, the consequences and challenges we face today, and tools to help us better navigate and respond to change to build a healthier and more equitable tomorrow. Students will unpack the complexity of our food system. In this process they will confront topics including values, language, systems of distribution, myths, assumptions, food assistance, and food movements. Students will explore best practices for working in community, improve their written communication, and develop more confidence and ease in oral communication and presentations.”

*Only taught in-person

3-unit course required for B.S. Nutrition & Food Systems

Course Catalog Description: “This course is the culminating experience for majors in the BA in Food Studies and the BS in Nutrition and Food Systems. It involves a substantive project that demonstrates a synthesis of learning accumulated in the majors, including comprehensive knowledge of the discipline and its methodologies. Senior standing is required.”

*Only taught in-person

Students can self-enroll into NSC 358L, NSC 395A, NSC 444, NSC 497B, NSC 497F, FOOD 302, and FOOD 498 if all the pre-requisites for the course have been met.

For NSC 391/491*, NSC 392/492, NSC 393/493*, and NSC 399/499, please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the instructor you would like to work with and confirm your placement.
  2. Click the link below to download and fill out the "Resource - Experiential Learning Form 2021-2022".
  3. Email the completed form to the instructor so they can digitally sign it.
  • An unsigned form may cause delays in enrollment.
  1. Click the button below to complete the electronic request form.
  • You will be required to upload your signed experiential learning form.

Resource – Experiential Learning Form 2021-2022

Experiential Learning Enrollment Request

*For NSC 391/491, a screenshot of the completed FERPA Training for Instructors and Instructional Support Teams must be submitted along with your application.

*For NSC 393/493, an additional form required by the University of Arizona, needs to be submitted along with your application. Please complete the NSC Internship Work Plan first, then you can submit it along with your Experiential Learning Form application linked above.

University of Arizona registration deadlines apply to all the experiential learning courses listed above: https://registrar.arizona.edu/dates-and-deadlines.

Please keep in mind that any courses that require you to apply with the Experiential Learning Form should be submitted a few weeks before the registration deadline, to give adequate time to review your application and enroll you into the course.

  • Grading: All for-credit experiential learning opportunities appear on the official transcript. Experiential learning opportunities which are graded on a S/P/F basis may or may not fulfill requirements for units per semester for specific funding sources. Students should consult with the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to verify that all semester unit requirements are met, for requirements of specific funding sources (grants, scholarships, etc.).
  • Credit: The University and Board of Regents require a minimum of 45 hours of course work for each unit of credit awarded.
  • The Number of Credits: Number of credits requested must lie within the approved credit range listed in the catalog course description.
  • Tuition Fees: Tuition fees are calculated at the same rate as other NSC courses.
  • The Proposal: The student should have a specific proposal in mind when requesting Experiential Learning credits.
  • Incomplete: In the case that a grade of ‘I’ is awarded in an experiential learning course, and the project advisor is no longer available, another project advisor must be identified who agrees to evaluate the student’s work. All for-credit experiential learning opportunities must be reviewed and approved by the School of Nutritional Sciences and Wellness. Approval of internship sites, independent study projects and other experiential learning options is at the discretion of the Department of Nutritional Sciences and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Working with a Mentor in Another Department: If you are an NSC major, but are completing an experience in another department, you will need to contact that department to get registered. The NSC department can only register students in NSC courses under supervising mentors who are affiliated with the School of Nutritional Sciences and Wellness.

University of Arizona students can utilize the Office of Student Engagement & Career Development as a resource for all things career, whether that's creating a career plan, developing in-demand skills, or securing career opportunities. You can learn more by going to their website or by speaking to someone one-on-one through LifeLab.

Contact Nicole Chavez, Experiential Learning Coordinator, at nicolelizette@arizona.edu