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 major-specific community internship (Community Transformation, 6 units), an overview of immigration in L.A. (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, immigration, and HIV/A.I.D.S. with resident “experts”—men and women sleeping on the streets, undocumented immigrants, and A.I.D.S. sufferers. 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 Christian churches, Islamic mosques, Buddhist meditation centers, Hindu temples, and Jewish synagogues. In small groups, students discuss their community experiences, mine the Bible for insight, and form ethical responses, all energized by times of corporate worship and prayer.


All of the L.A. Term courses are either part of the General Education program at APU, or are upper-division electives students can complete for credit towards graduation.

Some majors carry an exceptionally high number of required (core) courses and might present a challenge to including the L.A. Term into an existing graduation plan. In such cases, students can add an extra semester for completion of the L.A. Term.

For the majority of students, however, a little extra 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.