Engaged Scholars Program

Notification icon Sociology is no longer accepting new ESP applications as the Swearer Center is phasing in the Engaged Scholarship Certificate.


Program Description

Brown University’s Engaged Scholars Program is premised on the idea that reciprocal exchanges between academic and non-academic partners — on campus and in the community — create rich opportunities for problem-solving that advances scholarship and helps create a more just and equitable society. Brown's Engaged Scholar Program (ESP) is a university-wide initiative led by the Swearer Center for Public Service. Further details, including requirements shared by all Engaged Scholars across different concentrations, can be found here.

Sociologists work to understand how social structures and processes interact with individuals and groups in society. In this way, all of sociology is engaged. Sociology as a discipline provides theoretical, analytical, and methodological tools for describing the nature and strength of patterns of social relations and behavior to inform public policy and organizational decision making.

Program Requirements

To participate in the Engaged Scholars Program in Sociology [Social Analysis and Research], students must:

(1) Two courses in Sociology on topics relevant to engaged scholarship (note that these courses do not necessarily work directly with community partners). See course list below.

(2) ESP students must complete significant experiential work (150-250 hours) with a community partners via an ESP Practicum. Practicums can be completed as a volunteer, as a paid internship, or for academic credit. See the ESP website for more information.

(3)  Students must enroll in the required ESP interdisciplinary course (currently SOC 310: Theory and Practice of Engaged Scholarship) and participate in an interdisciplinary community of undergraduate scholars that meets regularly for programming (workshops, lectures, and other events). See the ESP website for more information.

(4) The ESP experience culminates with an engaged capstone project or honor’s thesis which can count as your Sociology [Social Analysis and Research] concentration capstone or honor’s thesis.

Courses: Current Sociology courses that include components in engagement*:

SOC 0300K:  Inequalities and Health
SOC 0300F:  Unequal from Birth
SOC 1115:  The Enlightened Entrepreneur
SOC 1118:  Context Research for Innovation
SOC 1330:  Remaking the City
SOC 1870A:  Investing in Social Change
SOC 1871D:  Sociology of Development
SOC 1871L:  Migration, Displacement and Emerging Community Experiences
SOC 1871M: Theories of the Third Sector and Civil Society
SOC 1872F:  Solidarity and Social Change
SOC 1871:  Knowledge Networks and Global Transformations
SOC 1871:  Legacies of Inequality
SOC 1119: Ethnographic Research Methods

* Additional courses outside of Sociology may also count towards ESP credit with approval by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Students should check with the Director of Undergraduate Studies for new course offerings in Sociology that include components in engagement.

Honors Requirement

In addition to regular concentration and engaged scholar requirements, students who qualify may elect to write an honors thesis during their senior year. In order to be considered for honors, students must receive a grade point average of at least 3.5 (A=4, B=3, C=2) on all concentration courses taken, and can take no more than one (1) of the concentration courses with the “S/NC” option. Honors also requires a senior thesis, with a recommendation of Honors by the advisor and reader, that demonstrates an understanding of empirical research.

Application Process

Students apply to ESP when declaring their concentration in ASK, typically in the second semester of their sophomore year. ESP is selective and applications will be reviewed by departments and ESP staff in mid-April of the application year. Students will be contacted by ESP staff directly about their application status. If you miss the deadline but are interested in applying, contact: [email protected].

While it is typical that students apply to the Engaged Scholars Program during sophomore year when declaring a concentration, you may revise your declaration to apply to the Engaged Scholars Program if you have enough remaining semesters at Brown to complete the program requirements.  See the ESP website for more information.

For more information, contact either:

Professor Michael Kennedy, Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies ([email protected])
Professor Carrie Spearin, Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies ([email protected])