Experiential Education

Learning Beyond the Classroom

At Johnson & Wales University, we believe that learning by doing is one of the most effective and high-impact ways to learn — which is why experiential learning has been woven into all aspects of our education, in and out of the classroom, for more than 100 years.

From collecting and analyzing data through research and fieldwork to volunteering with companies and events related to your field of study, JWUs experiential education program will help you build a strong résumé — and a successful personal life — before you graduate.

JWU’s experiential education program puts you on the path to making effective career choices, identifying and pursuing internships, securing employment and navigating lifelong career direction.

Work with Leading Companies


JWU has strategically partnered with national businesses and local community organizations that offer academic internships.

  • Thousands of employers post internship opportunities on JWU’s recruitment platform, Handshake.
  • Last year, JWU connected students to 874 internship sites in 43 states.
  • JWU partners with industry sites across the globe. Explore 20 international internships in 12 countries, including Canada, Curacao, London, China and The Virgin Islands.
  • Internships are designed to enhance your problem solving and communication skills, work ethic, professionalism and collaboration.
  • 96.5% of students said internships strengthened their confidence in academics and their career.

Learn More About Our Internships

74.7% Of internships are paid

77.6% Offered employment after paid internship

95.3% Of employers rate JWU’s internship program as Good or Exceptional

Project-Based Learning

Directed Experiential Education (DEE)

This unique semester-long class invites students from different majors to collaborate on a real-world project.

  • Set project goals, attend client meetings and engage in fieldwork throughout the semester.
  • Use the skills you’ve learned in and out of the classroom to complete a project for a nonprofit or for-profit partner.
  • Gain insight into possible career paths through an industry-based or functional-area-based project.
  • Highlight the project on your résumé to demonstrate experience to potential employers.

DEE Students Produce Inspiring DocuseriesDEE Students Plan Annual SEEM Forum

Get Career-Ready

Career-Focused Programs

Gain real-world experience and network with professionals in your industry through one of JWU’s career programs.

  • Take advantage of #HireJWU to browse thousands of jobs and internships posted just for JWU students.
  • Develop your skills for an easier transition from college to career with JWU’s career management course.
  • JWU’s workshops offer résumé building assistance and interview tips from career experts.
  • 89.2% of students completing their career management course showed improved confidence in their career planning skills.

Explore Career Success at JWU

95.4% Career Outcomes Rate* (11.3% higher than national average)**

75.8% Employed (15.6% higher than national average)**

58.5% Knowledge/Response Rate (3.8% higher than national average)**

*For an explanation of the career outcomes rate and other information, visit JWU Student Consumer Information.

**National Average source from National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) First Destination Survey Class of 2021; based on JWU bachelor’s degree graduates.

NMI JWU SEEM Volunteers (large group) at Super Bowl LIV

Engage with the Community


  • Connect with the community while gaining real-world experiences.
  • Volunteer opportunities include providing services to local shelters, planting trees in local neighborhoods, volunteering at the American Red Cross and more.
  • Serve the community or volunteer to learn about social responsibility, ethics and leadership.

Volunteering in Providence   Volunteering in Charlotte

What Employers Think of Wildcats

What Employers Want

How They Rate JWU Interns



Work Ethic/Professionalism






Problem Solving


Table uses a 5.0 scale.
*Student internship assessment survey results, n=992. Site supervisor survey results, n=1425

More Experiential Education at JWU

Study Abroad

Broaden your horizons and make lasting memories! Immerse yourself in a new culture, make new friends and try new experiences while studying abroad. With many businesses seeking candidates who have an international perspective, this is  a great opportunity to learn about the arts, history, social structures and customs of another country. Study abroad opportunities range from learning about fashion in London to spending a semester at sea to designing your own study abroad program.

Research & Fieldwork

Apply classroom knowledge to real-world scenarios when you enroll in a fieldwork or research program. JWU offers numerous research and fieldwork opportunities across different majors including OTD, psychology, biology, sustainability and more. Sample courses include Undergraduate Laboratory and Field Research, Undergraduate Research Experience, Research Seminar in Psychology and Research and Inquiry.

classroom in session at the cannabis lab at JWU

Experiential Labs & Facilities

JWU’s labs are designed to promote hands-on learning so you’re prepared to enter a career in your chosen field. Study cardiovascular systems in Providence’s Anatomy Lab and document cases at the Clinical Practice Center, both located in the 18,000-square-foot Center for Physician Assistant Studies. Study food development at the Microbiology and Chemistry Lab in Charlotte or learn about organic, sustainable gardening at The Coop, Charlotte’s student-run garden. Whatever your passion, explore it at JWU’s state-of-the-art labs and immersive facilities!

Michael Lieu, Culinary Nutrition Student at JWU

“At Momofuku, I worked with a lot of great chefs and learned how to time-manage. I worked as garde manger and in the raw bar. I shucked lots of oysters!”


Student Experiences

photo collage showing Damarious Borden '22 posing in front of a large logo, and an action shot of Damarious working in the kitchen

Interning with the Sacramento Kings

Damarious Borden '22 interned with the Sacramento Kings for four months where he assisted the in-house culinary team with preparing meals. Damarious gained first-hand experience in nutrition, handling dietary requests and communicating with professional athletes.

HackJWU on a Winning Streak

The HackJWU team has won numerous Hackathon competitions including awards for Best Security Hack, Best Social Impact, Best Home Office Hack and Top-Tier Undergrad Best in Show Award in Cyber Security. Members have said that hackathons give them an opportunity to grow, outside the classroom, in areas they’re most curious about.
Students waiting for bus in parking lot and taking a selfie

Boston Hotel Shadowing

JWU hospitality students took a day trip to Boston for a hands-on experience at the Sheraton Boston where they shadowed hotel employees in various areas including food and beverage, culinary, hotel management, operations and events.
Trevor Emma '25 with a group of interns from his summer internship.

Gaining Film Festival Experience

Trevor Emma '25 judged films and spoke with filmmakers during his internship with Flickers, a nonprofit that produces the Rhode Island International Film Festival. Trevor Emma shares his story about what it was like being at the center of the production industry and the three main things he learned while interning at the film festival.