The purpose of this certificate program is to train graduate students in the practice of community-engaged scholarship (CES), which is defined as teaching or research that is done in collaboration with community organizations or community partners in equitable, mutually beneficial, respectful relationships.

CES can include:

  • community-based (service) learning, in which students work with community organizations or members (typically through direct service, advocacy or policy efforts, or other project-based work) to enhance their academic learning, professional development, and personal development while providing tangible benefits to the community organization and its constituents.
  • community-based research, a spectrum of research including community-based participatory research and participatory action research. In this type of research, researchers work with community members to address research questions or issues identified by the community itself. These collaborations typically yield both academic research and useful outcomes or products for community members, who often act as co-researchers. Additionally, the relationships between community partners and researchers are mutually beneficial, equitable, and respectful.
  • other community engagement and outreach efforts, including scholarship on CES.

Graduate students in this certificate may focus on one, several, or all facets of CES, depending on their interests. Through this certificate, students will feel confident to teach community-based learning courses, conduct community-based research, and/or lead community engagement initiatives.


Students must be current UW–Madison graduate students in good standing with the Graduate School. All Graduate School students must utilize the Graduate Student Portal in MyUW to add, change, or discontinue any graduate/professional certificate. To apply to this certificate, log in to MyUW, click on Graduate Student Portal, and then click on Add/Change Programs. Select the information for the certificate for which you are applying. Professional students in the careers of Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Veterinary cannot add the certificate in the Graduate Student Portal, and should contact the program for more information.

Students pursing the graduate/professional certificate are typically MS students. PhD students may pursue the Community-Engaged Scholarship doctoral minor or the graduate/professional certificate.


Community-Engaged Scholarship
COUN PSY 601 Best Practices in Community-Engaged Scholarship2
Research / Evaluation
CSCS 811 Community-Based Research: Theory and Practice3
or CSCS 570 Community Based Research and Evaluation
or CSCS 812 Mixed-Methods in Community-Based Research
or CSCS 813 Transformative Evaluation in Practice
Independent Study1
Courses numbered 699 or 999 from any department can be applied toward this requirement.
Independent Study
Independent Study
Students must select at least 3 credits from the "Elective Courses" list.
Total Credits9

Elective Courses

AGROECOL 702 The Multifunctionality of Agriculture3
C&E SOC/​SOC  573 Community Organization and Change3
CBE 562 Special Topics in Chemical Engineering (Chemical Engineering in the Community)1-3
COUN PSY 620 Special Topics in Counseling and Guidance (Supporting Young Children Experiencing Homelessness in School; Esperanza Community-Engaged Mental Health Justice Research with Latines)1-6
CSCS 795 Community Power and Collective Action3
CSCS 813 Transformative Evaluation in Practice3
CURRIC/​ENVIR ST  932 Foundations of Environmental and Sustainability Education3
ELPA/​INTER-HE  770 Community, Opportunity, and Justice3
ED POL/​ELPA/​PUB AFFR  765 Issues in Educational Policy Analysis3
GEOG 675 Special Topics in Geography (Femenist Methodologies)3
KINES 501 Theory-Based Health Education and Health Promotion Programs3
LAND ARC 590 Special Topics (Engaging the Community in Public Decisions)1-4
LAND ARC 668 Restoration Ecology3
LSC/​COM ARTS/​JOURN  617 Health Communication in the Information Age3
LSC 625 Risk Communication3
PUB AFFR 860 Workshop in International Public Affairs3
PUB AFFR 869 Workshop in Public Affairs3
PUB AFFR/​POLI SCI  871 Public Program Evaluation3
PUB AFFR/​A A E/​ENVIR ST/​POP HLTH  881 Benefit-Cost Analysis3
PUBLHLTH 780 Evidence-Based Decision-Making3
RP & SE 710 Multicultural Issues in Special Education3
RP & SE 871 Foundations of Special Education3
SOC/​C&E SOC/​URB R PL  645 Modern American Communities3

Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply theory and effective practices in the conduct of community-based research and evaluation.
  2. Utilize theories of translational and transformative learning and community change in performing engaged scholarship.
  3. Develop mutually beneficial and equitable partnerships with community organizations and members.
  4. Design and evaluate community-based programs for education and outreach using collaborative and participatory approaches.
  5. Demonstrate application of community-engaged scholarship through a presentation, report or other artifact involving a public/community audience.
  6. Cultivate a leadership style and communication skills that engage community partners in scholarship.


Cynthia Jasper, Department Chair | Civil Society and Community Studies

Haley Madden, Community-Engaged Scholarship Specialist | Morgridge Center for Public Service