Engaged Scholars Program FAQ

I don’t see my concentration on this list of participating concentrations. Can I still apply to ESP? How do I get involved in engaged scholarship activities on campus?

Currently, only students declaring in participating concentrations can participate in ESP. However, if you're interested and not in a participating concentration, please let us know by emailing us at [email protected], and we can work with your concentration on the possibility of joining ESP. There are also many opportunities to get involved in engaged scholarship at Brown, even if you’re not an ESP participant. The Engaged Scholars Program holds many events every semester; join us for guest speakers, workshops, and other opportunities. Sign up for our newsletter for more information about events and staying involved.

I don’t see the ESP application questions on my concentration declaration. How do I apply?

First, follow these directions in your concentration declaration in ASK, which may make the application appear: 

  1. Start a revision on your concentration declaration
  2. Change your concentration, degree or track. (Note: How you designate your courses may be altered, so be sure to note your course plan. If your concentration has multiple degrees or tracks, choosing an alternate degree/track will most likely maintain your course designations.)
  3. Save your revision. (Do NOT check the box to submit your declaration for review.)
  4. Change your concentration back, and you should see ESP as an option.

If the application still doesn’t appear, contact [email protected] to let us know that you’re having trouble accessing the application.

Note that Independent Concentrators have a separate application process; contact Peggy Chang, Assistant Dean for Engaged Learning and Director of the Curricular Resource Center ([email protected]) for information on how to apply.

I missed the application deadline. Is it too late to apply?

ESP is a competitive program.  You can apply after the deadline, and applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by ESP staff and ESP concentration advisors.  If you have missed the deadline but are interested in applying, fill out the application in ASK and be sure to contact [email protected] to let us know that you submitted an application.

I am a first year student. Can I apply to the Engaged Scholars Program?

The ESP application is tied to concentration declaration in ASK. If you are a first year student and are able to declare in a participating concentration by the deadline, we will consider your application that year. Be sure to talk to your ESP concentration advisor about your interest in ESP. 

If you are not ready to declare your concentration but would like to get involved in engaged scholarship at Brown and to prepare to apply to ESP next year, there are other ways to get involved. We encourage you to take engaged courses in the concentration that you are considering so that you're on your way to meeting the course requirements when you enter ESP.  You may also be able to enroll in the ESP seminar (SOC 310: Theory and Practice of Engaged Scholarship), depending on availability, so contact us if you're interested in that option. You can also sign up for our office hours, which you can find on our staff page.

I’m a junior/senior. Is it too late to apply?

It may be difficult to begin the program after your fifth semester and still be able to meet all of the program requirements. However, if you think that you may be able to complete the requirements in your remaining time at Brown, please make an appointment with ESP staff to discuss. You may find our office hours on our staff page. We also encourage you to review the ESP requirements and take engaged courses in your concentration, so that you're on your way to meeting the course requirements when you enter ESP.  You may also be able to enroll in the ESP seminar (SOC 310: Theory and Practice of Engaged Scholarship), depending on availability, so contact us if you are interested in that option. 

How are Engaged Scholars recognized?

Engaged Scholars who complete all program requirements will receive an official transcript notation and formal letter from the Dean of the College. Students will also be honored at the Swearer Center’s graduation ceremony. ESP students are also invited to apply to share their work at the annual campus Theories in Action conference.

Can I study abroad and do ESP?

Yes, ESP is certainly compatible with study abroad and we are flexible on the timing for the ESP seminar, practicum, and other requirements. It’s best to take the ESP seminar in your junior year, but senior year fall is also possible. It will take a little more planning, but we’re happy to help you make a plan that will work for you. Visit our staff page to make an office hours appointment with us to discuss your options.

What happens once I’m accepted to the program?

As an Engaged Scholar, you will become part of a community of student from a variety of disciplines. Once you are accepted, our first event is a welcome dinner and celebration in early May. ESP staff will keep you up to date on workshops, lectures, community events, and social gatherings and will also communicate with you regularly about program requirements and other opportunities.

How do I keep track of my work in the program?

Your participation in the program is tracked by ESP staff and your ESP concentration advisor in ASK. We encourage you to continually update your concentration course plan in ASK to include your engaged courses, so that we can advise you as you make your way through the program.

All ESP students are also enrolled in the Engaged Scholars Program Canvas site, which is home to the program requirements and assignments, calendar and events, and other resources.

What kind of advising do I get as an Engaged Scholar?

Advising and mentoring is critical to Engaged Scholars Program students, from course selection to practicum development and capstone design and execution. Concentrations provide advising through faculty mentors or concentration advisors for course selection and capstone development. ESP staff members are also available for ongoing advising, especially related to practicums.

When should I do my ESP Practicum? Is there an official start or end date?

Practicums can be conducted any time after entering ESP, although we encourage you to start thinking about your practicum early in the program. Non-credit bearing practicums can be done in the summer, academic year, or a combination. Credit-bearing practicums can be completed during the school year. There are no official start and end dates for the ESP practicum as long as the required hours are completed.

Can I do an international practicum? A group practicum?

The ESP practicum requirement is flexible. The experience can be based locally, nationally, or internationally. Practicums can be conducted individually or in groups.

How do I find an ESP practicum?

ESP students can find their own practicum site, apply to existing internships or jobs, or can work with ESP staff or concentration advisors to develop a practicum that fulfills the requirements. Once students are accepted to the program, they will gain access to the ESP Canvas site, which provides more information about program requirements, including the practicum. In addition, ESP and Swearer staff are always available for office hours, and there are a lot of resources on campus that we can direct you to, including Brown ConnectCareers in the Common Good (CCG), the Curricular Resource Center, and LINK/SEW awards.

What are the guidelines for a Practicum?

We will assist you in finding an ESP practicum that meets the requirements of the program.  We start by asking the following three questions: 

  1. Will you be working with an organization that strives to meet public need?  Does the organization’s mission reflect its public service?
  2. Who is “the public” or the communities that your work will engage?  Does the project address a significant public challenge faced by these communities? Will members of these communities be engaged in the process of your work and, if so, in what way? 
  3. Is the project aimed at making the world a more just, equitable, or peaceful place?  What is the potential for the project to contribute to meaningful social change?

You can visit our staff page to schedule office hours with us to discuss ideas!

How do I find engaged courses?

For ESP requirements and course lists in your concentration, see visit your concentration’s website. For a non-comprehensive list of engaged courses at Brown, visit the Swearer Center’s Engaged Course List. ESP staff also send out engaged course lists before registration every semester to guide you as you make decisions about your courses. Searching cab.brown.edu for related terms (such as “engaged” and “community partner”) may also be helpful. ESP students should obtain departmental approval to count courses towards your ESP requirements.

Can I count courses not listed in my concentration’s list towards my ESP requirements?

ESP students may, at the discretion of their ESP concentration advisor, petition to have additional courses, or courses outside of their concentration, fulfill ESP requirements.

When should I take the required ESP seminar?

Typically, ESP students enroll in this course in the fall semester of their junior year. However, at least one section of the course will be held each semester, so there will be the option to take it at other times if you are studying abroad or have another conflict.

I’m already taking 5 credits this semester. How can I take the ESP seminar?

If you aren’t planning to take 5 credits every semester, please take the ESP seminar during a semester when you have less commitments. If you will be taking 5 classes every semester or are unable to enroll for other reasons, another option is to vagabond the course (take the class without enrolling). If you decide to vagabond, you would still have to complete all the assignments to meet the ESP requirements.

Do I have to take extra courses to complete the ESP coursework?

In most cases, students will be able to fulfill the ESP course requirements within the concentration requirements and will not be required to take additional courses.  Consult with your ESP concentration advisor about requirements.

When should I do my engaged capstone?

We recommend that students complete capstones during senior year, as the capstone is intended as a culminating experience.

Where else can I get information about finding courses, practicums, and work as an engaged scholar?

We suggest the following additional resources at Brown:

  • Brown Connect takes learning outside the classroom by linking students with Brown alumni, parents, and friends.
  • Careers in the Common Good (CCG) is a resource for students and alumni interested in nonprofit, social enterprise or public service careers and working for the common good.
  • The Curricular Resource Center for Peer Advising is a place where students help each other engage with Brown's open curriculum and utilize its academic resources. Check out Theories in Action and FIRe.
  • Brown LINK awards allow students to explore career options and engage in experiential learning activities outside of the classroom.