Senior Year Experience courses prompt you to apply your college education and to reflect on all that’s gone before so you can build bridges to your future and practice for what’s coming next.

What is a Senior Year Experience (SYE)?

  • SYE courses are designed to help students bring together the learning done in majors, Integrative Studies courses and elective courses.
  • Create a lively interdisciplinary learning experience.
  • Adds value to or “tops off” your entire Otterbein education.
  • Allows you time to think about and use the college education you’ve spent so long acquiring.
  • An end point, a place to reflect on all that’s gone before.
  • Designed as a bridge to the future, a place to practice for what’s coming next.

Information for Faculty

Resources for faculty teaching in the SYE program can be found in the General Education Resources LibGuide.

What are the goals of the Senior Year Experience?


To fulfill the SYE mission, faculty will develop courses that help students achieve the following goals:

Goal 1: Act

  • You will apply the knowledge, skills and values developed through your major and general education to develop solutions to meet contemporary challenges/problems.
  • You will work with students from multiple departments to practice inquiry and problem-solving skills.
  • You will articulate how your knowledge, skills and values come together to address the challenge/problem.
  • You will identify the roles you practiced and imagine future roles for yourself related to the challenge.
  • You will demonstrate that your education and the experience have come together by publicly presenting the results of your work.
  • You will prepare a learning legacy to leave to future students.

Goal 2: Reflect

  • You will actively reflect on your entire undergraduate education and imagine its future purposes and uses.
  • You will ponder how your education may contribute to your personal, professional and community life.
  • You will imagine yourself in your new roles and identify possible challenges in those roles.
  • You will reflect on your future personal, ethical, community and global responsibilities as a change agent.
  • You will complete e-portfolio and reflective pieces required by the SYE.

Goal 3: Transition

  • You will actively prepare for your transition from student to professional, citizen, leader and community member.
  • You will gain awareness of the key adjustments encountered by seniors and new graduates.
  • You will use campus and community resources to help guide your transition.
  • You will attend co-curricular workshops about financial, career, and other transition issues.
  • You will use your reflections to develop an action plan related to at least one of your future roles.

What do I have to do to enroll in an SYE course?


In order to register for a three-credit, traditional SYE course, you must have:

  • Completed 90 credit hours of regular coursework.

To register for the two-credit internship SYE course, you must have

  • Completed an approved internship the semester or summer before you register for a SYE course,
  • Or be scheduled to complete an approved internship during the same semester that you will be taking the SYE course.

To register for a two-credit “Undergraduate Research and Creative Work” SYE course, you must:

  • Be completing a distinction project,
  • Or be working on a 3-credit capstone project.

Which SYE course should I take?


Don’t worry so much about choosing an SYE that matches your major; rather, choose something you’re interested in, concerned about, or curious about. Later, as you actually walk into your SYE, it means you need to be willing to:

  • Actively confront a problem; engage in an issue; work to gain knowledge; wrestle with ethical choices; and come up with individual and group positions, answers, or solutions.
  • Think of yourself as an expert in your discipline and be willing to share your expertise with those outside your discipline.
  • Think of yourself as a budding professional, an educated person, and a citizen.
  • Think about your education as a whole: how it adds up, how it all relates, how it can be used to live your life.

For questions about the SYE program, contact Program Director Robert Braun.

  • SYE 3900 – Independent Study
  • SYE 4020 – Undergraduate Research and Creative Work
  • SYE 4102 – Environmental Sustainability: Brown to Green
  • SYE 4103 – Managing the Transition to Your Career: The Senior Internship Seminar
  • SYE 4201 – Study Abroad
  • SYE 4202 – Vienna
  • SYE 4203 – Thailand
  • SYE 4204 – Health Equity: Issues with Minority Health
  • SYE 4205 – Africa
  • SYE 4206 – Off Campus Student Group
  • SYE 4207 – Cultural Heritage: Travel in Spain
  • SYE 4208 – Mitakuye Oyasin: Travel to Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation
  • SYE 4209 – Costa Rica in the 21st Century: Sustainability and Globalization
  • SYE 4210 – Italy Wasn’t Built in a Day: Preservation of Cultural Heritage from the Macro to the Micro
  • SYE 4211 – Globalization, Society, and Individuals
  • SYE 4212 – Engaging with Difference
  • SYE 4301 – Communication and Society
  • SYE 4302 – High Stakes: The 20XX Presidential Election
  • SYE 4402 – Engaging Cultures: Appalachia in the City
  • SYE 4403 – Community, Change, and Leadership in Non-Profit Organization
  • SYE 4404 – Artists in the Schools
  • SYE 4405 – From Bible to Neighbor
  • SYE 4406 – Inventing the Self and the Future
  • SYE 4407 – Silence and the Golden Years: Engaging the Language and Culture of the Senior Deaf Community
  • SYE 4408 – Otterbein’s Tradition of Service and The United Brethren Church
  • SYE 4910 – Experimental Course Topics