Summer Sessions for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Community-Based Learning Courses

Community-based learning (CBL) courses are applied learning courses that incorporate community service as part of the curriculum in the spirit of Georgetown University's mission and values. At a local community partner organization, students provide valuable service to under-served and under-represented populations.

Georgetown's Center for Social Justice (CSJ) approves the curriculum and works with faculty to ensure the service work provided by students is appropriate and aligned with each course’s learning objectives. Each course requires a minimum of 20 hours of service at a local community partner organization. Additionally, the courses allow time for students to reflect on the service experience and how it relates to the course’s curriculum. At the completion of the course, students receive recognition for their participation by receiving an official notation on their Georgetown University transcript.

To learn more about the University’s Center for Social Justice, please visit their website.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am interested in the applied learning aspect of CBL, but don’t know where I would perform the service work. Will someone help me identify a place to work? 
Yes. Each summer CBL instructor has either one specific project for the students to work on or a specific community partner organization with whom they have worked already. This saves you time in having to identify a service opportunity on your own and facilitates an easy introduction to the community you will be working with.

What if I have an organization and/or project in mind that would work perfectly with the class topic but isn’t what my professor specified on the syllabus or in class as an option? 
This still may be an option for you. Check with your professor to see if your organization and project will meet the needs of CBL. You may be required to provide documentation on the organization itself and the specific project you are proposing to work on as well as how that fits with the course as a whole.

If your course is not a CBL course but you would like to integrate your service with a local organization and or/project, you may be eligible to gain an additional credit for your service through the 4th Credit for Social Action Option. Contact your course professor for more information on the 4th Credit Option. 

20 hours sounds like a lot of time. Will I have time to do this in summer session? 
Yes, you will have time. Unlike in the fall and spring, students in the summer term typically have fewer commitments or less stress surrounding their existing priorities. Many students feel that summer is the perfect time to experience CBL because they may not have the time in the fall or spring due to study abroad, internships, or a full course load. Additionally, some CBL faculty will teach class only four days a week so that Fridays can be reserved for your work within the community.

Other than a notation on my transcript, what do I get out of taking a CBL course?
Students who have taken a CBL course often talk about the many benefits of this unique pedagogy. From an academic standpoint, students find that they gain a better understanding of the course material by applying what they learn in a real world setting. Additionally, some students discover a passion in some aspect of the work they perform. Some students gain a clearer understanding of what they want to pursue next academically or professionally after finishing a CBL course. Finally, many students find that CBL is a great way to expand their networks, socially and professionally. CBL courses move students away from campus and into the community where the city becomes the classroom. Students make new friends in this shared experience and make lasting professional connections through their work.