Applied Learning at SUNY

Today’s high-tech, global economy is fast-paced and moving forward every day, and we have to ensure that, above all else, we are preparing our students to be a part of it. At SUNY, we believe in the power of learning by doing. That’s why we are working to ensure that every SUNY student will have access to an applied learning opportunity, even those attending online, including opportunities from clinical placements and cooperative education to service learning, volunteerism, student research, international opportunities, and field study.

Interested partners can easily learn about posting applied learning opportunities for SUNY students.

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. This strategy promotes student success outcomes like increased retention, graduation, engagement, employment and well-being.

In the 2019 – 2020 academic year, 105,010 matriculated students participated in 26,127 approved applied learning course sections.

Since 2015, each of SUNY’s 64 campuses has convened an Applied Learning Team to work on their campus Applied Learning Plans. Every campus has answered questions about faculty, student and partner engagement. Campuses are developing infrastructure for tracking applied learning opportunities, working on quality assurance criteria and deciding whether or not to include applied learning as a local graduation requirement for students.

You can browse through the many applied learning resources available to you.

40% of all SUNY programs currently require approved applied learning experiences.

We know, in their own words, that SUNY students value the opportunity to turn theory into action through applied learning experiences, that applied learning helps them develop their soft skills and refine their career goals. Perhaps most important to student success, students grow their networks and many feel a sense of community on campus through their applied learning experiences. Lastly, students are more likely to receive full-time employment from their applied learning sites upon graduation.

Students have a world of experiences available to them. Get involved today!


Applied learning opportunities at SUNY include:

Co-op Placements, Internships, Work Study, Clinical Placements
  • Co-op placements
  • Internships
  • Work Study
  • Clinical Placements
  • Practicum

Clinical placements, in which almost 14,000 SUNY students participated; internships, in which over 11,000 students participated; practicum, in which over 31,000 students participated; and cooperative education programs ("co-ops"), in which SUNY faculty and area employers have jointly developed curricula that integrate classroom instruction and on-the-job experience.

Learn more about SUNY Works

Service Learning, Community Service, Civic Engagement
  • Service-learning
  • Community service
  • Civic Engagement
  • Volunteerism

Service-learning, community service, civic engagement and volunteerism.  Almost 18,000 SUNY students participated in formal service-learning programs for which students earn college credit, while thousands more participated in community service and civic engagement experiences.

Learn more about SUNY Serves

Research, Entrepreneurship, Field Study, Experiences Abroad
  • Research
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Field Study
  • Experiences Abroad
  • Creative Works

Student research, entrepreneurial ventures, opportunities abroad, and field study. While SUNY research has historically resulted in breakthrough discoveries, inventions, and startups, increased focus on applied learning has led to an unprecedented level of collaboration between SUNY students, faculty, and industry experts to enable commercialization of the best ideas and innovations born on SUNY campuses. Over 30,000 SUNY students are engaged in research.

Learn more about SUNY Discovers