Hands-on Learning

Transforming the health care experience for diverse communities—and saving and improving lives—begins with a solid foundation of practical experience.

Develop Your Clinical Expertise

We’ve designed our curriculum to focus on experiential education—hands-on learning that allows you to put theory into practice in simulated and real situations.

At SMU, we believe that clinical and practical applications—grounded in the basic sciences, social sciences, and humanities—provide a critical foundation for the health professions. That’s why you’ll see students in every discipline, at every level, participating in hands-on learning experiences—from participating in classroom labs and simulations to providing supervised care to patients in the community.

Through these real-world learning opportunities, SMU students gain the confidence and technical and interpersonal skills they need to become highly sought-after health professionals.

Range of Opportunities

SMU students have plenty of ways to experience hands-on learning, from working through live-action scenarios with peers to conducting research with accomplished faculty members. You’ll likely spend time in our Health Sciences Simulation Center (HSSC), the Motion Analysis Research Center (MARC), in addition to various clinics on campus and in the community.

Opportunities for hands-on learning and clinical experience vary by program and may include: lab simulations, research, clerkships, residencies and rotations, internships and practicums, fieldwork, research projects, community service, medical missions, and student employment.

Class in Health Sciences Simulation Center

Health Sciences Simulation Center

Here, in one of the West’s most advanced health care simulation facilities, students learn to respond to health care events. Afterward, they are able to review video and audio of the training with their classmates and instructors. 

Advanced Simulation
Student running on treadmill in Motion Analysis Research Center

Motion Analysis Research Center

One of the best-equipped research and teaching labs in Northern California, the MARC is committed to advancing the study of human movement by measuring three-dimensional forces, pressures, balance, and muscle function. 

Visit the MARC
Student at clinic in San Mateo

Community Outreach

SMU students use their clinical education for good by volunteering at schools, health clinics, churches, and local health promotion events.

Learn more

We Believe Students Learn Best by Doing

See the many ways SMU students gain hands-on experience during their health sciences education.