About the EXPERIMENTAL COLLEGE – fun, affordable Seattle classes

  • The Seattle Experimental College is an independent educational program offering fun, affordable Seattle classes and workshops in dozens of subject areas.
  • Most Experimental College classes meet on the University of Washington campus. However, the Experimental College is a separate program, not a part of the U.W.  Our classes are for fun and personal enrichment, not for academic credit.
  • In addition to our classes on the U.W. campus, we hold classes in community centers including Phinney Neighborhood Center and Greenwood Senior Center.
  • The Experimental College is an affiliate of Rekindle School, which handles all of the E.C.’s enrollments. For that reason, you’ll find the same classes on our website, as on the Experimental College website. 
  • To start exploring our open classes, scroll down.

Find classes by CATEGORY

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  • Note: There have been several Experimental Colleges around the United States, and two in Seattle.
  • The original Experimental College was established in 1968, and was part of a national “Experimental College” movement.  When it closed down, the instructors set up a new, independent program, the SEATTLE EXPERIMENTAL COLLEGE, to carry on the tradition of offering affordable classes for the general community. 
  • The Seattle EXPERIMENTAL COLLEGE is part of the Rekindle School “business umbrella.” This means you can find all of the EC’s classes on the Rekindle School website. To see classes open for enrollment, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

“Is it better if I sign up for your classes through the Experimental College website, or through Rekindle School?” 

It makes no difference, actually. Our program handles all of the registrations for the EC’s classes. If you see a class you’d like to enroll in, the links on the EC’s website will send you back to our website to sign up.

“Wasn’t there another Experimental College in Seattle, years ago?”

There was an EC at one point in Seattle which was run by the student government at the U.W.  The new EC was created after the previous EC was dissolved as a business entity. 

“Is the new EC affiliated with the University of Washington?”

The new Seattle E.C. does hold some of classes on the U.W. campus (Seattle branch), and some in other locations.  But they are not a part of the U.W. or affiliated with them. 



The Experimental College Movement

The Experimental College movement began decades ago. Some attribute its origins to Alexander Meiklejohn, who set up an Experimental College of sorts at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, way back in the 1930s and wrote a book popularizing the term.  But the idea really caught on a few decades later, in the 1960s, in California, Washington, and several other locations around the United States.

Since then, Experimental Colleges have come and gone. There have been several Experimental College around the country, in Seattle and other cities. Some were affiliated with universities, including San Francisco State College (which later became San Francisco State University), Tufts University. Others, like the New Seattle Experimental College, were and are completely independent.

What the various E.C. programs have in common is that most are collections of classes taught by working professionals or others who have come to have deep knowledge of a subject, who are using the school as a venue for sharing information with others.