two students in study carrels

The Academic Experience

At Grinnell, you won’t be handed a blueprint. But here’s what you’ll have to work with.

A Liberal Arts foundation. An Individually Advised Curriculum. Innovation and creativity. These are the major components that will make up your Grinnell academic experience. But how they come to life, and what exact forms they will take, will be a combination of the following experiences and opportunities you build for yourself.  Meaning, it’s up to you and your adviser. Explore the experiences below and you’ll start to see what your four years of intellectual freedom and guided support could look like.

  • tutorial class - 11 students in Goodnow Hall

    FIRST-YEAR TUTORIAL

    One required class, unlimited potential.

    It’s technically the only required class outside of your major, but calling Tutorial “required” doesn’t quite do it justice. Choosing from one of 35 different topics, you'll emerge with razor-sharp writing, critical-thinking, and presentation skills, speaking your own voice, clear and true.

  • Advising

    You won’t find any answer keys here.

    Behind every Grinnellian’s success is a set of life-changing mentors. Professors. Peers. Coaches. Tutors. Fans. People who encourage you to ask more questions and inspire you to dive deeper. Find the guidance and support you need for finding your own answers.

  • student presents research poster to faculty

    Research

    Mentored Advanced Projects and Independent Research

    Our culture of research and collaboration cuts across all academic disciplines. Starting as early as your first year, you can work closely with accomplished faculty in their ongoing research endeavors, complete research projects in your courses, and explore the possibilities of your own academic inquiries. You might go on to conduct a semester-long research project, or pursue original creative work of your own design. Our Mentored Advanced Projects program lets you do exactly that, either here or beyond campus.

Our deep curiosities invite us to better understand the world.

We put in the long hours for those in need. We pull on the muck boots and head out into the wetland. We learn new languages to land the internship overseas. We lose ourselves in library indexes, and find ourselves looking up at the work of the architectural legends. Simply put, the Grinnell academic experience goes way beyond what gets printed on your diploma. This is you taking an active role in your own education. Here, that means in a way that’s cross-disciplinary, career-oriented, and for the greater good.

Experiential Learning Opportunities

  • Global Health excursion to Kronborg Castle in Denmark

    Off-Campus Study

    At Grinnell, global understanding goes beyond a single experience. Every place, every point in time, and every culture, brings with a unique point of view and version of the human experience. On campus, Grinnellians study these experiences and use them as lenses for approaching our disciplines, communities, and our impact on others. You’ll have access to global programs for language development, intercultural exchange, and community engagement, for here or wherever your studies take you.

  • Group of students and faculty in Cuba

    Course-Embedded Travel

    When your class gets very specific — like discussing methods for preparing an exhibition of Haitian artists— it might just call for a trip to their studios in Miami. Through course-embedded travel, you can travel for 7 to 14 days with expert faculty to dive into a particular subject. Many 200- and 300-level courses get into international perspectives, which may be perfect opportunities to travel to a related site, in the U.S. or abroad, either during a break or over the summer.

  • Students on the set of Friends

    Industry Treks

    Whether you’re checking out the startup scene in Silicon Valley or studying human rights and international relations in New York City, Treks redefine the field trip. These excursions let you get a feel what’s really happening on the ground floor of all types of organizations, industries, and ecosystems today.

  • Luc Moisan at his Grinnellink internship at the Eldridge Street Museum in Brooklyn, N.Y.

    Internships

    Acquire and apply new skills. Gain irreplaceable experience. Uncover a fresh perspective and turn meaningful connections into a powerful professional network. For these reasons and more, internships are a critical part of your experience at Grinnell. By the time you’re ready to go out into the real world, you’ll have plenty of mentors and workplaces waiting for you.

  • Ruilin Yu, Juliet Torres, Neal Fleming

    Externships

    For as few as three days or as long as two weeks, externships give you the chance to test out career fields, explore the differences across industries, and build a bigger network.

  • Service and Community-Based Learning

    The Center for Careers, Life, and Service offers you opportunities to apply your classroom conversations to real, systemic social problems that face communities today. In partnership with faculty, we work with about 100 organizations in our local, regional, and global communities. These endeavors can even grow into paid employment opportunities, research projects, and career-defining experiences.

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