Experiential Learning

Students earn 15 semester units through a curriculum blending four academic components: an interdisciplinary urban culture learning seminar (Urban Culture, 3 units), a critical survey of diverse religious experiences (Urban Religious Movements, 3 units), a community internship-based course (Community Transformation, 6 units), an overview of immigration and integration (Urban Systems, 3 units).

It is the quality of the learning environment and the relationship of the person to it that ultimately determines how much that person will learn. Instead of simply learning about people of other cultures, classes, and creeds, students learn from them and with them. During the program, vital connections are made between interdisciplinary classroom study and concrete community experiences.

In the community, students are challenged and changed through a variety of mentoring relationships as they reside with culturally diverse families. They meet the urban powerful and the urban powerless. They learn how to explore issues like poverty, homelessness, labor, education, immigration, and community transformation with resident “experts”—men and women sleeping on the streets, undocumented immigrants, change agents, and artists. They develop specialized skills through supervised internships within grassroots ministries and community organizing programs. In addition, they survey the diverse religious landscape of the city, including its churches, mosques, synagogues, Buddhist meditation centers, and Hindu temples. In small groups, students discuss their community experiences, mine the Bible for insight, and form ethical responses, energized by spiritual and prayerful responses.


All of the L.A. Term courses are APU-approved, upper-division courses that count for credit towards graduation. For the majority of students, careful planning will allow them to easily fit the L.A. Term into their four-year plan. Please check with your academic advisor and contact us for more information.