About Applied Learning

All About Applied Learning


A visual representation of the applied learning structure.

At SUNY, Applied Learning refers to an educational approach whereby students learn by engaging in direct application of skills, theories and models. Students apply knowledge and skills gained from traditional classroom learning to hands-on and/or real-world settings, creative projects or independent or directed research, and in turn apply what is gained from the applied experience to academic learning. The applied learning activity can occur outside of the traditional classroom experience and/or be embedded as part of a course. In order to be considered Applied Learning, the experiences must meet criteria that are based on national standards in experiential education.

Applied learning experiences strengthen the academic performance of students, increase student retention, and improve employment outcomes post-graduation.

"These opportunities have proven to increase student engagement and success during college and result in a higher rate of job placement following graduation. Applied learning is truly college and career preparation at their very best," said Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, back in 2015.

The Mission and Vision of Applied Learning

The Office of Applied Learning at SUNY System Administration exists to support each of SUNY’s 64 campuses in creating, disseminating and providing equitable access to high-quality applied learning opportunities for all students. These opportunities meet SUNY quality standards as developed by the Applied Learning Steering Committee and include, but are not limited to internships, clinical placements, practicum, cooperative education, service-learning, community service, civic engagement, study abroad, entrepreneurship, student research with faculty members, creative works and field study.

Support from the Office of Applied Learning takes many forms, including but not limited to, responding to the needs of stakeholders—students, faculty, staff, and partners--and communicating those needs at the system level, providing professional development meetings and conferences to promote best practices, and working to establish and support partnerships with other governmental agencies, community partners, for-profit employers, and nonprofit organizations across the state and nation. Our goal is to ensure that every single SUNY student has an opportunity to complete at least one campus-approved applied learning experience before graduation to enhance student engagement and academic and career success. 

Applied Learning