Experiential and Practical Learning

The nonprofit leadership studies program at Murray State University places an emphasis on experiential and practical learning opportunities. Click below to learn more about our internship requirements, service learning initiative,  and student philanthropy experiences.


An internship is a requirement for the Bachelor Degree with a major or minor in Nonprofit Leadership Studies. The internship experience is one of the most valuable and rewarding experiences in the University curriculum, as it prepares students for professional careers in the nonprofit sector.

Through an NLS internship you will have the opportunity to:

  • get hands-on experience in the nonprofit sector before graduating

  • refine problem-solving skills

  • connect with local nonprofit leaders

  • develop your own professional network

  • build a competitive resume as a nonprofit professional

Internship Prerequisites

  1. Students must have attained 9 hours of core NLS courses (including NLS 350, 351, and 502) and have junior standing.

  2. Undergraduate students must have a minimum of 2.0 GPA prior to enrollment in the internship (NLS 400).

  3. Students who desire to complete an internship must meet with the NLS Internship Instructor of Record for internship site approval.

  4. The internship contract must be fully completed and signed in order for a student to gain permission to register for the internship course and begin an internship.

NLS Signature Internships

The NLS signature internships are competitive and come with a performance-based premium of $500. Internship expectations and tasks are listed in the position descriptions below. 

These internships provide students with in-depth experiences in local nonprofit organizations. Students will have to apply for the internship by submitting a letter of interest and a resume to Robin Esau, Coordinator of the NLS Internship Program, at resau@murraystate.edu.

Service Learning

Murray State University’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) – Bring Learning to Life – was determined to be an institutional priority by the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs based on institutional assessment and feedback provided through an environmental study of all constituency groups associated with the university.

The purpose of Bring Learning to Life is to improve experiential learning outcomes through: the implementation of learning experiences in which students apply principles learned in the classroom in a real-world setting; and professional development opportunities related to such relevant pedagogical areas as application, problem-solving, critical/creative thinking, and information literacy. 

Bring Learning to Life was identified through institutional assessment, is anchored to the university’s mission, and focuses on student learning outcomes and the environment supporting student learning. Bring Learning to Life has well defined goals and associated assessment plans which were developed through broad-based involvement of institutional constituencies. Murray State University possesses the capability, resources, and expertise to implement and complete this QEP.

The  Nonprofit Leadership Studies  program is ranked # 1 on Murray State University's campus in students bringing learning to life by volunteering their time at many of the nonprofit organizations in Murray and the surrounding communities.

Student Philanthropy

Our nonprofit leadership studies program includes a student philanthropy component, which is made possible by the University's Giving Back Endowment. As part of this endowment, a student engagement initiative allows students taking NLS 305: Grantmaking and Philanthropic Foundations  course to become decision makers in the distribution of real grant monies.

“We researched the needs of our community, developed a class mission and vision statement, sent out requests for proposals, reviewed them, conducted site visits and decided as a class who we would give our grant to,” said Brett Eisenhauer, a former student from Weber’s NLS 305 course.

Student Philanthrophy in the News

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