Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Hands-on Opportunities

Bring learning to life

TRU’s hands-on approach provides many ways for students to apply knowledge and theory gained in the classroom to real-world situations. Experiential learning—from a co-op placement at an industry leader, to an independent undergraduate research project—increases critical thinking, problem-solving and other key skills, and gives students an advantage when applying for careers or further study.


Cooperative education places students in workplaces within their field of study for one or two terms between academic semesters, providing paid, for-credit work experience. Work terms allow students to try out career paths, see theory in action, and experience workplaces in industry, not-for-profits, research labs, and small and large businesses.


TRU provides exceptional research opportunities to students at both undergraduate and graduate levels, in a wide variety of disciplines. Our undergraduates can conduct research in the classroom, in service learning, in directed studies, in independent projects funded through TRU’s Undergraduate Research Experience Award Program (UREAP) or in research assistant positions—all with guidance and mentorship by our faculty researchers. Many projects partner with and benefit the community.

Student researchers have a chance to present at TRU’s Undergraduate Research Conference and other regional, national, or international conferences, publish papers in academic journals, and work in co-op placements at top research facilities. Conducting research as an undergraduate gives our students a head start when they begin graduate study. And our students have access to awards, grants and other funding opportunities to further their research and educational goals.

Study abroad

Students can broaden their perspective and expand their learning with study abroad. Student exchanges—with hundreds of sites worldwide—allow students to live and study in a different country for one or two semesters, for credit, with intercultural experience that can open doors to careers and lifelong connections.

International field schools are single TRU courses of six weeks or less held abroad, applying classroom theory in the field. Natural resource science in Belize, anthropology in eastern Slovakia, adventure studies in Ecuador, electrical foundation in Mexico. Programs such as nursing offer international experience as an option to complete requisite practicum placements, and internships are also available.

Service learning

When students connect academic course work with service in local community organizations, they broaden their personal, cultural, academic and professional knowledge. First-year students in Business, Science and Tourism Management can take the Introduction to Community Service-Learning. In third or fourth year, English and Modern Languages, Business, Health Science and Interdisciplinary Studies students can receive up to six credits by sharing the knowledge and skills gained in their program with the community through faculty-supervised, community-based projects, individually or in small student cohorts.

Various courses also incorporate hands-on, community-based projects in the classroom as an alternative to traditional papers or presentations, providing an opportunity for students to apply concepts, collaborate with community organizations, and reflect on their learning.

Beyond the classroom

All TRU students can gain formal recognition for their learning beyond the classroom through options like the co-curricular certificates in Global Competency and Leadership in Environmental Sustainability, and the Pathways for Learning (ePortfolios) program. Students also have opportunities to further develop and demonstrate the skills, knowledge and attitudes they acquired through experiential learning by serving as student ambassadors—such as Study Abroad Ambassadors and Research Ambassadors.