Experiential Learning Requirement (ELR)/The 5 Elon Experiences

Students learn best, and more deeply, when they apply what they are learning by putting ideas into action through firsthand experiences. Before graduating, all Elon students are required to complete the Experiential Learning Requirement (ELR). In order to fulfill this requirement, students must complete 2 units of experiential learning through any of the 5 Elon Experiences. The 5 Elon Experiences include:

1. Global Engagement: Study Abroad/Study USA

The Isabella Cannon Global Education Center is home to Elon’s nationally recognized study abroad and study USA programs. Elon is #1 in the country among master’s-level institutions for the number of students who study abroad. Each year students bring home life-changing experiences.

Learn more about Global Engagement here.

Helpful Resources

  • All scholarships
  • Lunsford-Ihrie Travel Grant – The Lunsford-Ihrie Travel Grant, established in honor of faculty emeriti Dr. Ernest Lunsford and Dr. Maureen Ihrie, is dedicated to supporting full-time students with study abroad.  Students may request up to $500 in financial assistance.  The number of grants offered yearly varies depending on the number of applications and the amount of assistance requested. Individual rewards will be determined by a committee of faculty members based on student application materials and/or information obtained from the Office of Financial Aid.
  • Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grants – Phi Kappa Phi, founded in 1897, is a national honor society that recognizes excellence in all academic disciplines. Through Elon’s chapter, undergraduates can apply for grants supporting study abroad. Students studying any language/academic discipline are eligible to apply, and do not have to be members of Phi Kappa Phi. Seventy-five $1,000 grants are awarded each year, applications are due mid-September or mid-February.
  • Isabella Cannon Global Education Center (GEC) scholarships – There are several sources of funding available on Elon’s Campus. Check them out here.
  • Elon Program Affiliate scholarships – Some of the Elon semester study-abroad program affiliates offer their own scholarships. Check them out here.
  • Outside scholarships – Outside scholarships are not connected to any specific Elon programs, but can be applied for on your own. All are awarded for semester or year-long study and are highly competitive. Many of these have very specific, detailed application requirements, so you should start researching them early.
  • Waiving Application Deposit – If you are unable to afford the deposit at the time of application, email Stormy De Lucia at sdelucia@elon.edu to see if you are eligible for deposit deferral. Deposit deferral requests must be emailed no later than 5 PM on the day of a deadline so Stormy has time to check your eligibility.


2. Service Learning

The Kernodle Center for Civic Life connects students with service opportunities in the community. Each year students demonstrate Elon’s strong commitment to service through their work in the community. Forty-three academic courses were linked to service in the 2016–2017 academic year.

Learn more about Service Learning here.

Helpful Resources

  • Kernodle Center Student Engagement Grant – The Kernodle Center Student Engagement Grant is generously supported by donors dedicated to helping Elon students participate in the 5 Elon Experiences. This grant is available to support expenses associated with participation in leadership, research, internships, service, or global engagement programs during a student’s time at Elon. Special funds within this grant are earmarked to support first-year students. Priority will be given to current Elon Volunteers! student leaders and members of the Service Learning Community
  • Helen Cates Scholarship – The Helen Cates Scholarship is awarded to a student who has shown true dedication to the service of others and who has demonstrated financial need. Applicants must be on record with the Office of Financial Planning as having a demonstrated financial need. The Scholarship is applied directly to the recipient’s tuition account.
  • Sullivan Grants – In keeping with Elon University’s strong and enduring commitment to service and community engagement, Elon’s Sullivan Scholars program will provide academic scholarships to a small cohort of students who demonstrate exceptional commitment to service and community engagement. One Sullivan scholarship will be awarded each year to a first-year student, who will continue, contingent on satisfactory progress in the program, to receive this scholarship for four years. The Sullivan Scholars program will be a prestigious opportunity for students to: engage fully in the university’s nationally-recognized service and civic engagement opportunities, assume leadership roles for those efforts on campus and in the community, benefit from strong mentoring relationships that help students integrate their academic and co-curricular experiences as they identify how they will use their gifts and talents to address vexing challenges in communities, and participate in Sullivan Foundation programs including retreats, institutes and exchange programs.
  • Sign-up for Elon Volunteers! weekly e-newsletter which provides information about weekly service options.


3. Leadership

Student Involvement works with a broad range of student organizations and validates primary leadership positions for the Elon Experiences Transcript.

Learn more about Leadership here.

Helpful Resources

  • Leadership Prize – The Leadership Prize is a $7,500 prize that supports sustained, mentored, community-based research projects undertaken by an undergraduate student.  Students are expected to use the majority of the award for project expenses; however, up to $2,500 of the award may be applied to tuition.
  • Hilaire Pickett Leadership Grant – Hilaire Pickett ’08 Leadership Grants will be awarded to two students involved with the Center for Leadership. Awards will be granted through an application process, overseen by the Director of the Center for Leadership. Grants will support students in their junior or senior years to pursue leadership internships or legacy efforts (rising juniors and seniors should apply). Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellows are encouraged to apply. The students must demonstrate significant commitment to their organization and academics, and be active in contributions that have had a positive impact on the Elon community. This should be evident by sustained and progressive involvement and exemplary involvement.


4. Internships

Elon’s Student Professional Development Center connects students with internship opportunities. Students prepare for professional roles through these experiences and are more likely to be hired upon graduation. A total of 1,394 students completed internships in 2016–2017.

Learn more about Internships here.

Helpful Resources

  • Business Internship Program – All business majors (except for economics) are required to complete the internship course BUS 381 or ACC 481. This course has a co-requisite of actively working in an approved internship. The course is graded and the grade is factored into the GPA; tuition rates apply. Each internship credit satisfies one unit of Elon’s Experiential Learning Requirement (ELR). BUS 381/ACC 481 is designed to provide declared business majors the opportunity to reflect on their internship experience and support their professional growth through relevant assignments.
  • Communications Internship Program – Students enrolled in the Communications Department (Journalism, Strategic Communications, Cinema & Television Arts, Communication Design and Media Analytics majors) are required to complete at least 1 credit hour of COM381 Communications Internship before they graduate. The Sport Management Department requires its majors to complete the SPT381 Internship in Sport Management course, where students do a full-time experiential opportunity in a professional interest area. Nagatha Tonkins, internship director in the School of Communications, provides a weekly flier that contains a series of internship opportunities for students. Be sure to check back weekly for a new list of internships here.
  • Co-op Education Program – Elon University’s co-op program is an academic program taught by the Director of Internships, Debby Wall. The program is designed for students who want to explore career options, and for students who may have already experienced an internship in their majors/minors, yet want more work opportunities where they can learn and earn academic free elective credit. Employers have said that students who have more than one internship experience are more marketable for graduate schools and future employment. Co-op can provide students with the experiences employers seek.
  • The Elon Job Network – The Elon Job Network is an online database of jobs and internships posted exclusively for Elon students and alumni. We invite you to use this system to search for opportunities, including on-campus jobs, full-time positions, part-time positions, and internships. You can also register for recruitment events, including on-campus and virtual interviews.
  • International Internships


5. Undergraduate Research

Students work collaboratively with faculty mentors on research projects and presentations. These research experiences prepare students for graduate school and employment opportunities. In 2016–2017, 521 students enrolled in research through an academic department.

Learn more about Undergraduate Research here.

Follow this link to find professors looking for students interested in participating in undergraduate research.

Helpful Resources

  • Lumen Prize – The Lumen Prize assists Elon University students in the attainment of ambitious and serious intellectual goals during their junior and senior years. The $20,000 award may be used for scholarship assistance, research assistance, international study, equipment and supplies, summer stipends, and other approved expenses. Winners of the Lumen Prize receive special mentoring and support in pursuit of graduate fellowships and international awards such as the Rhodes, Truman, Goldwater, and Rotary scholarships. The work of Lumen Prize winners will be publicly celebrated as representing the very best achievements of Elon University undergraduates. Students planning on attending graduate or professional school are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Multifaith Scholars – The Multifaith Scholars program is a two-year, closely mentored, experientially rich, and academically rigorous educational opportunity for juniors and seniors who show great potential as intellectually curious and socially engaged multifaith leaders. Scholarships provide $5,000 annually in the junior and senior year to support the personal and academic development of selected students.
  • Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Society Scholar Development Grants – Designed for first- and second-year students just embarking on the process of understanding the role of religion in society, Scholar Development Grants introduce students to the research process in their individual disciplines, help them conceive a research topic, and prepare them to write research proposals for Elon’s signature research programs or for external funding.
  • Endowed Grants – Endowed grants are intended to enhance quality mentoring relationships between faculty and students who work together to answer questions, solve problems, and provide learning opportunities of the highest caliber. Research conducted by endowed grant recipients and faculty mentors must contribute in meaningful ways to the knowledge base of a given discipline. Although the end product of all research is unknown as the work is undertaken, it is expected that the work of endowed grant scholars will be closely linked to the expertise of their faculty mentors to ensure quality and potential to contribute to the discipline.
  • Travel Grants – A grant for students conducting research who need funding to present at a professional meeting or conference.
  • Grants-in-Aid – A grant for students conducting research who need materials or have incurred other project expenses.