Students learn directly from our community partners during travel study in Peru

In the CDAE department, we use the world as our textbook.

We are an innovative department that uses experiential learning in our classrooms and out in the field as a way for students to apply what they are learning in their courses to a real-world setting. It is our belief that pairing traditional classroom learning with applied experience in the field makes for both prepared graduates and global citizens.


Our students participate in a variety of experiential learning opportunities including community-engaged learning, travel study, research and internships.

Community-Engaged Learning

This is an effective, rewarding way to teach and learn that integrates community-based projects in the curriculum. We work with countless local, regional, and international partners to give students experience in long-term project development, planning, and execution as well as the background, context, and lenses through which to view their work. Visit the Community Engaged Learning Office for more information about Community-Engaged Learning at UVM.

Learn more about our civic and service learning courses

Travel Study

Our short-term travel study courses allow students to spend 1-2 weeks in a foreign country examining a particular topic such as social justice, food access, gender equality, education, and sustainable development. All travel study programs are led by a faculty member from our department who facilitates learning while exposing students to international settings. We have programs in Kenya, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Peru and Nepal. Visit UVM Travel Study for more information about travel courses at UVM.


Learn more about our travel study courses

Undergraduate Research

Students interested in research are encouraged to speak with their academic advisor about the many different ways to get involved. Our students pursue research through their coursework, assisting a faculty member with data collection, designing an independent study, partnering with UVM Extension, assisting the Center for Rural Studies or applying for a fellowship opportunity. 

Learn more about undergraduate research opportunities


Each year, over 100 CDAE students partake in internship opportunities with a variety of organizations including businesses, nonprofits and government agencies. Through internships, our students gain real-world experience that enable them to apply what they've learned in the classroom in a structured and supervised professional setting related to their field of interest. Internships offer a chance for students to get a taste of what a future career path might look like, while gaining valuable resume-boosting experience that can often lead to a job after graduation.

Learn more about our internship opportunities