Undergraduate Program


The undergraduate major in community studies offers highly motivated and focused students the opportunity to pursue a rigorous course of study combining on- and off-campus learning. On campus, students complete a core curriculum enabling them to identify, analyze, and help construct strategies for social justice movements, nonprofit sector advocacy, public policy making, and social enterprise. The core curriculum works in tandem with topical course work that develops expertise in specific domains of social science scholarship related to their field study. Off campus, students commit to spending six months immersed in a setting where they participate in and analyze the social justice work of an organization, with a goal of making a meaningful contribution to the organization’s mission. Students work independently but with active guidance from both campus faculty and an on-site supervisor from the field study organization.

The undergraduate core curriculum begins with the development of skills in social analysis and field observation/participation while deepening students’ knowledge of specific histories and theoretical perspectives essential to the study of communities and social transformation. Next, through the six-month full-time field study, students engage with specific communities through residence and participation in an organization with a social justice mission. This intensive and extended immersion is a distinguishing feature of the community studies major. Finally, students return to campus to analyze their field study experience and its relation to their ongoing classroom-based learning. The major culminates with a senior capstone integrating academic coursework, field study analysis, and original writing.

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