Experiential Learning

Opportunities Beyond the Classroom

At the Ritchie School, we believe the best way for students to learn engineering and computer science is to take a hands-on approach. That’s why 79 percent of current students participate in experiential learning opportunities as a means of expanding their education beyond the classroom and into practical, real-world situations and circumstances.

Through travel opportunities, internships and cooperative education opportunities with top-ranked Denver businesses, we aim to help you perfect your education and discover your industry in a whole new way.



Experiential Learning Opportunities with the Ritchie School

  • Study Abroad

    Ranked in the top five for the number of undergraduates studying abroad, the University of Denver is known for the impact its students make internationally. At the Ritchie School of Engineering & Computer Science, we share the university's commitment to international learning and strongly encourage our students to participate in Study Abroad programs.

    But isn’t Study Abroad Expensive?

    Through the University's Cherrington Global Scholars Program, you can study abroad for about the same cost as a term at DU.

    But I’m in Engineering – I can’t study abroad!

    Maybe you’ve heard that the engineering curriculum doesn’t make time for study abroad. That might be true at other schools but not at DU!

    • The engineering curricula has been structured so you can study abroad in the fall quarter of your fourth year, rather than the fall quarter of your third year, as is more typical in other DU programs.
    • To remain on the four-year graduation path, you will need to be "on track" with your degree program at the time you leave for study abroad, and you may need to study at an institution that offers equivalent courses.
    • The institutions that offer the required courses are limited, vary depending on degree and may change from one year to the next.
    • For engineering students interested in pursuing an undergraduate and graduate degree, we have a 3-1-1 program with the University of Glasgow. Students in the program finish their senior year in Scotland and graduate with a BS from the University of Denver. From there they go on to complete one more year abroad and graduate with an MS from the University of Glasgow.

    Visit the Office of International Education (OIE) website to learn more about studying abroad as an engineering or computer science student and the Cherrington Global Scholar program.

  • Cooperative Education

    Our goal is to always provide you with a complete and exceptional university education that helps prepare you for your long-term career goals. Our Cooperative Education program can do just that. This optional program is part of our experiential learning program and is ideally suited for current sophomores and juniors.

    Students who enroll in this competitive program work as employees at a participating and relative Denver-area business while continuing their university education. The work students do is directly related to their curricula and career goals, and they can develop career experience and a deep understanding of employment demands, expectations and rewards related to their field of study.

    Learn more about the about the Cooperative Education program as an engineering or computer science student by contacting your department chair.

  • Internships

    Want to land that dream job? An internship can help you get there. In fact, over 45 percent of interns convert to full-time hires.* Internships can boost your resume, help you figure out what you do and don’t want to be doing in a career, and help you make valuable connections. Our internship program helps you gain real-world career experience while often times earning credit towards your degree. Get in with some of the top companies around Denver and take a valuable step in your career journey by adding an internship to your educational experience.

    *National Association of Colleges and Employers Internship & Co-Op Report 2018

    Our recent Internship employers include...

    • Ahead Wind, LLC
    • AppNexus
    • Arrow Electronics
    • Ball Aerospace
    • Central Intelligence Agency – CIA
    • Charter Communications
    • City & County of Denver
    • NBC Universal Comcast
    • Oracle
    • PwC – PricewaterhouseCoopers
    • RTD – Regional Transportation District
    • The Walt Disney Company
    • Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc.
    • U.S. House of Representatives
    • Xcel Energy Group
  • Undergraduate Research

    We believe learning takes place both inside and outside the classroom. We encourage students to push themselves and challenge their thinking by conducting independent research. Past research projects include work on the landing systems of helicopters, groundbreaking research in using robots to help children living with autism, research in skiing & biomechanics, and much more.

    As part of your engineering or computer science education, you may have the opportunity to work on original research projects alongside leading university faculty members.

    Summer Undergraduate Research Experience

    • Summer research funding can be obtained either through the Undergraduate Research Center or directly through faculty funding.
    • This opportunity lasts 2-3 months and includes a student stipend and research coaching by a faculty member.


    Partners in Scholarship (PINS) and Undergraduate Research

    • Students wishing to participate in faculty research projects during the school year may be eligible for participation in Partners in Scholarship (PINS) or Undergraduate Research Assistantships (URA's).
    • PINS is a university-wide program in which a student performs research in conjunction with a faculty member.
    • URA's work directly with faculty, often for compensation, on current research efforts.
    • Students can read about faculty research interests on their individual faculty pages or look at the list of current faculty research projects to identify a possible match.
    • Such work enhances the student's ability to compete for scholarships, internships, entrance to graduate study and permanent employment.
    • A limited number of these are available and are typically restricted to upper-division students with good academic backgrounds.
    • An agreement with a specific faculty member is required and the URA is requested by, and granted to, the faculty member.

    Talk with your Faculty Adviser to learn more about Undergraduate Research opportunities.

  • Grand Challenges Scholars Program

    The Ritchie School is looking for ambitious students who want to work collaboratively on a team of diverse students to find solutions to complex challenges such as virtual reality, solar energy, urban infrastructure, cybersecurity and clean water.

    With a mission of advancing technical and scientific knowledge and capabilities to improve quality of life for our global society, the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science is a natural fit for the Grand Challenges Scholar Program. The program is a unique opportunity for our students to gain the expertise, knowledge, and social, ethical and environmental awareness needed to become leaders in addressing the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges.

    Learn More

My work in the Unmanned Systems Lab jumpstarted my interest in aeronautics. I saw this internship position with NASA and applied for it; they responded very quickly. I was really happy I was able to do that. 

Racheal Erhard, Class of 2018
Racheal Erhard Graduation

Other Opportunities for Hands-On Learning

Living and Learning Communities

Living & Learning Communities provide a space for students with similar academic and career interests to live and study together during their first year of college. You'll get essential hands-on experience in your chosen area of study and community engagement early in your college career, putting you on the right path for success at DU and beyond.

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Our Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship & Learning (CCESL) is where your passion for doing good meets our belief in learning through experience. Join us and discover how your education can help you address homelessness and other challenges in society.

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