The Penn Civic Scholars program provides students from all four undergraduate schools an opportunity to integrate their community engagement and academic experiences. The facets of the Program detailed below are designed to support students’ personal and intellectual development, including building respectful, mutually beneficial relationships in their social justice work. 

Civic Scholars are expected to complete a set of requirements to remain in good standing with the program.  It is our goal to provide a supportive environment through which each Civic Scholar can have a positive experience in the program.



Civic Scholars are required to participate in a seminar (the “Proseminar”) during their first semester in the program and throughout their sophomore year; during the first semester the Proseminar carries a half-credit, and it is not credited during the sophomore year. The proseminar meets roughly every other week, and attendance at every session is mandatory. Proseminar takes place on Monday evenings from 5:15-8:00 PM, and students cannot schedule classes, extracurricular activities, or work during that time. 


Completion of four courses under the following categories:  

  1. One course that incorporates academic work and community engagement or an Academically Based Service Course (ABCS); 
  2. Two courses that address a civic/social issue in depth; 
  3. One that supports the proposed capstone project, in terms of the subject matter and/or the methods required to complete the project. 

Examples of some courses that fulfill requirements will be provided to students before each registration period and are updated as courses change at the University. Generally, we encourage students in their first semester in the program to not be concerned about taking classes that fulfill Civic Scholar requirements. 

Community Engagement Commitment

Participation in community service or social advocacy work for a minimum of four semesters. For one semester, Civic Scholars are required to work with one of Civic House’s Community Partners.  Community engagement should entail at least 15 hours per semester, ideally through an ongoing commitment of one (1) or more hours per week. During at least one of these semesters, the Civic Scholars should assume a leadership role. 

Summer Internship

Engagement in a full-time summer internship in a non-profit, government, or other public interest setting in the United States or abroad, preferably after the sophomore or junior year. If students are in an uncompensated or under-compensated role, Civic Scholars may apply to the program for financial assistance.

Capstone Workshop

Civic Scholars are required to participate in the capstone workshops during their junior and senior years. The workshop meets every other week during the fall and spring semesters.  

Capstone Project

Civic Scholars are required to complete a capstone project by the spring of the senior year; the process begins junior year in the above-mentioned Workshops. Students will be aided in identifying faculty mentors to guide their work. Ideally, the project is related to students’ community engagement work, although the project may be related to any of a number of issues or communities. 

Community Building

As part of their engagement in the program, Civic Scholars are required to participate in a variety of community-building activities, ranging from casual get-togethers to retreats.