Since 1970, Field Study has been a requirement for students seeking a baccalaureate degree from Social Ecology and is an element of the school’s commitment to training future leaders.   

Field Study is designed to provide students with the opportunity to:

  • Examine social problems
  • Evaluate the merit of ideas presented in the classroom
  • Learn and practice methods of naturalistic field research, data collection, theory testing, or program evaluation, and social intervention
  • Develop interpersonal and professional skills and technical competencies,
  • Participate in the ongoing activities of an organization.

To fulfill the field study requirement:

  • Students complete 100 hours of required field work with an approved community partner while concurrently engaged in a small group seminar facilitated by ladder-ranked faculty
  • Optionally, students may complete up to 300 hours to fulfill elective credits

The co-curricular approach is based on evidence that learning is maximized when it is active, when students are engaged, and when theories and research are informed by their application to “real world” problems. Having students reflect on how to apply what they learn in the classroom to addressing societal challenges facilitates personal and professional growth, and deepens understanding of linkages between theory and practice, producing more informed and engaged business and civic leaders.  

Faculty offer the field study course year round with over 1,000 students completing field study each year. Students complete the seminar and field work through placements at one of 225+ approved community partners (42% non-profit, 41% public sector, 17% private sector). In order to ensure a quality experience for our students, community partners and faculty, the School has established a field study advisory board.