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!

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).

Restaurant Operations — RRM 340

Three students laugh and talk while working in the Aspen Grille's kitchen.

This Hospitality Management course puts you right in the action in CSU’s own fully operational fine-dining restaurant, Aspen Grille. As a student in this course, you’ll get opportunities to explore every role one might have in a bustling, busy restaurant, from management to operations to kitchen and dining room work.

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.