Classes that take learning outside the classroom

CSU has a reputation for what we call experiential learning. If you’re a CSU student, there’s a good chance you won’t be sitting in a classroom for every single class because so much of your learning will take place out in the world. You might be out at the Mountain Campus studying natural resources. You might be at a local school working with students. You might be whipping up something delectable for a local event. You might even be running a fashion show or working with horses in an arena. What is experiential learning? It’s learning beyond the classroom, and it’s one of the things we do best here.

Here are a few of the classes offered at CSU that are particularly good at getting you out of your seat and into the field.

Basic Outdoor Skills in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology — FW 111

two students high-five in an outdoor class in the mountains

Basic Outdoor Skills introduces and develops skills that are important foundations for fish, wildlife, and conservation biology management and research. There are various outdoor modules throughout the semester taught by outdoor professionals, including a two-day field trip with an overnight stay in the mountains. This class is open to first-year students and students in other majors, so you can get some credit and explore Colorado at the same time!

Social Movements — SOC 474

students sit outside and take notes in an outdoor class

The Social Movements class works collectively on protest-themed art projects throughout the community, and students collaborate with all kinds of mediums to highlight and bring awareness to social injustice in the world around us. This class is a great way to express yourself creatively, get involved in the community, help create vital conversations around issues, and promote a community where every person is treated with dignity and respect.

Mechatronics and Measurement Systems  — MECH 307

A mechanical engineering student works with technology on a class project.

In Mechatronics and Measurement Systems, you’ll learn everything from applied electronics to programming to the design of measurement systems. Mechatronics combines both electrical and mechanical engineering, and includes robotics, electronics, computer, telecommunications, and product engineering. (That’s right, we said robotics!) This class gets you out of your seat and into the lab where you’ll be designing and working on complex robotics, measurement systems, and more. Then it culminates in a group design project involving two microprocessors, an array of motors and actuators, a speaker, and a user interface (ahem … robots).

Catering Techniques and Culinary Arts — RRM 415

A student makes a gourmet meal in a working kitchen classroom.

This culinary class will get you in the kitchen learning the art of fine food in no time. You’ll spend the semester learning culinary techniques and international flavor principles as well as the basics of the catering industry. You’ll finish off the class by creating, running, and executing the annual Winemaster Dinner, a formal fundraiser event designed to showcase the skills learned in the class and help raise money for travel to learn even more.

Horse Training and Sale Preparation — ANEQ 340

Two students work with a horse in a horse stall

This introductory class is about as hands-on as it gets! In Horse Training, you’ll work with a colt or yearling horse to learn the principles of equine training, learning, and behavior modification. You’ll develop the skills necessary to work with horses and train them from a young age, and explore lunging, restraint, first rides, and even stable management.

Field Mammalogy  — BZ 340

students hold a gopher in a field mammaloy course

Want to get some face time with critters? In Field Mammalogy, you’ll explore field wildlife techniques by studying the ecology and conservation of Colorado mammals. You’ll study evolutionary relationships and learn proper wildlife handling at the Grasslands Research Center northeast of Fort Collins, then apply what you’ve learned in independent research projects.

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Prairie Smallwood

Prairie Smallwood is a writer and content creator for the Office of Admissions at Colorado State University. She is passionate about education and exploration, and knows that going to college can be both an adventure and an overwhelming experience. She aims to create content that helps students through that journey — the wonderful, the scary, and everything in between.