Engaged Scholars Program

Engaged Scholars Program

Program Description

The Engaged Scholars Program in Urban Studies (US) is geared for US concentrators who are especially interested in making deeper connections between their concentration curriculum and long-term engaged activities such as internships, public service, humanitarian and development work, and many other possible forms of community involvement. The program combines preparation, experience, and reflection to offer students opportunities to enhance the integration of academic learning and social engagement.

Requirements for Engaged Scholars in Urban Studies

To be an engaged scholar in Urban Studies, a student must be a concentrator in Urban Studies. Students need not take extra courses in Urban Studies to fulfill their engaged scholar requirements (although they are strongly encouraged to take more than the required 10 courses).

While fulfilling concentration requirements, students must complete the following requirements:

  • URBN 1000 Fieldwork in the Urban Community. This course is mandatory for all Engaged Scholars.  Or, if not offered an alternative in another department such as ENVS 0110 (Humans, Nature and the Environment) or an approved Independent Study.  
  • Two departmental courses on topics relevant to engaged scholarship (note that these courses do not necessarily work directly with community partners). See course list below.
  • A 150-250 hour ESP practicum (note that this is different from the fieldwork course above), defined by significant experiential work with a community partner. Practicums can be completed as a volunteer, as a paid internship, or for academic credit. If completed as a volunteer or paid internship, the practicum is supervised by ESP staff and involves written assignments and in-person advising. If students would prefer to receive credit, ESP students register for a departmental independent study with a faculty member in Urban Studies or enroll in an approved internship course (see ESP staff to discuss this option). The practicum can be the basis for an honors thesis. See ESP website for more information
  • Students must enroll in the required ESP interdisciplinary course (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 ESP website for more information.
  • A final engaged capstone project in the senior year, in the form of: a capstone seminar in another department (for double concentrators); an independent study (note that this would be different from a potential independent study in conjunction with a ESP practicum) focused on community-based work (in Urban Studies or in a student’s second concentration); or an honor’s thesis focused on community-based work. 

Course list (ESP students must take at least two) - please note that courses may not be offered every academic year:

AFRI 0600 Race, Gender, and Urban Politics 
AFRI 0620 African-American Life in the City
ANTH 0820 Youth, Art, and the Promised City: Recreating The Green Book
ANTH 1236 Urban Life: Anthropology In and Of the City
ANTH 1301 Anthropology of Homelessness
EDUC 0410E Empowering Youth: Insights from Research on Urban Adolescents 
EDUC 1150 Education, the Economy, and School Reform 
EDUC 1430 The Psychology of Race, Class, and Gender
ENVS 1410 Environmental Law and Policy 
ENVS 1555 Urban Agriculture: The Importance of Localized Food Systems
ENVS 1580 Environmental Stewardship and Resilience in Urban Systems
HIAA 1850H Berlin: Architecture, Politics, and Memory
HIAA 1910A: Providence Architecture
PLCY 1700Q Urban Policy Challenges 
PLCY 1700R Urban Revitalization: Lessons from the Providence Plan
PLCY 1910 Social Entrepreneurship 
POLS 1824D Power and Prosperity in Urban America 
POLS 0220 (PLCY 0022) City Politics 
POLS 1310 African American Politics 
POLS 1320 Urban Politics and Urban Public Policy 
POLS 1822S Politics of Urban Transformation
SOC 0130 American Heritage: Democracy, Inequality, & Public Policy
SOC 1020 Methods of Social Research
SOC 1270 Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the Modern World
SOC 1540 Human Needs and Social Services
SOC 2960C Urban Sociology
URBN 0230 Urban Life in Providence: An Introduction (1st yr seminar)
URBN 1000 Fieldwork in the Urban Community (*required or substitute as noted above)
URBN 1240 In Search of the Global Black Metropolis
URBN 1260 Housing in America
URBN 1870D Downtown Development 
URBN 1870J The Politics of Community Organizing 
URBN 1870Z Housing Justice
URBN 1932 The Just City

Applying to the Engaged Scholars Program
  • 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.  


I missed the application deadline. Is it too late to apply?
ESP is a competitive program.  You can apply after the April 7 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’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 contact [email protected] or make an office hours appointment with ESP staff to discuss.


Samuel Zipp, Director of Urban Studies ([email protected])
Meredith Paine, Academic Program Manager ([email protected])