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Community Engaged Learning

Community engaged learning enables students to apply what they learn in the classroom to a real-world urban challenge by integrating academic coursework with public service. Our courses encourage students to see the link between theory and practice, develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and gain fluency in cross-cultural collaboration and communication.

All Urban Studies majors will have an opportunity to participate in a community engaged learning experience as part of their course of study. This is also an opportunity for students to explore potential career paths and prepare for summer fellowship experiences, honors thesis research, or senior capstone work.


Students can fulfill their community engaged learning requirement through one of three pathways:

1. (Recommended): Enroll in an approved course (see Course Project Gallery)

  • URBANST 164: Sustainable Cities
  • URBANST 141: Gentrification

Other classes may count towards the requirement. Please consult with an Urban Studies adviser before enrolling in the course to confirm whether it can meet the community engaged-learning component.

2. Complete an independent internship in a government agency or a non-profit/community organization relevant to the major while enrolled in URBANST 201A. Students who intern for a private sector organization may receive credit for URBANST 194, but cannot enroll in URBANST 201A credits to meet the capstone requirement. Please note that credit for the internship must be arranged prior to the internship commencing. The Urban Studies Program does not grant credit for internships midway through or after the internship has been completed.

For more opportunities through the Haas Center for Public Service, please see Cardinal Quarter opportunities.

3. Conduct research with the guidance of a faculty mentor. See Urban Studies Summer Research Program for latest opportunities.


The community engaged learning experience must consist primarily of substantive work. In all cases, students must work with a supervisor at the organization to establish learning goals through the  Learning Objectives Agreement and create deliverables– such as papers, reports, presentations, or models – demonstrating that they have achieved those goals. 


The Urban Studies Community Engaged Learning and Internship Guide provides more details on ways to fulfill the capstone requirement. For the most up-to-date information, please consult an Urban Studies adviser and/or Urban Studies Director of Community Engaged Learning.