Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good

Administrative Office
Masonic Building, Rms. 103-110
Phone: (415) 422-5662
Fax: (415) 422-5641
Dr. Corey Cook, Director, Associate Professor of Politics
About Leo T. McCarthy and the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good:

The McCarthy Center is organizationally located within the College of Arts and Sciences at USF, and as such it supports the multiple facets of academic excellence that comprise the USF experience. In addition to supporting the mission USF "to educate leaders who will fashion a more humane and just world," the McCarthy Center's mission and vision is clearly intertwined with the USF 2028 Planning Document.

Mission Statement:

In order to fashion a more humane and just world, the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good educates leaders committed to lives of ethical public service by implementing academically rigorous programs, cultivating authentic community partnerships, and creating transformational experiences.

The McCarthy Center offers support for the development of service-learning courses, and directs the following programs:  academic internship opportunities (both domestic and international), an undergraduate minor, and a graduate degree program. For more information, please visit our website at


Service-learning courses are an integral component of the University of San Francisco's undergraduate curriculum, providing students with community-based lessons about social justice issues and their own potential to be agents of change. Since 2002, all USF undergraduate students have been required to complete one or more of these courses in order to graduate. The University's service-learning requirement offers a central mechanism for achieving the mission of "educating minds and hearts to change the world."  

Minor in Public Service and Community Engagement:

The Minor in Public Service and Community Engagement is a 22-unit, innovative, intense, interdisciplinary program open to all USF undergraduates who are interested in developing their skills and knowledge in public service. The minor provides the analytical, organizational, and advocacy skills and preparation needed for sophisticated public service. Nonpartisan, inclusive and representative of the vision of Leo T. McCarthy in his advocacy of poor and underserved populations, participation in the minor prepares students to undertake community problem solving through active citizenship. Through experiential learning, reflection and analysis, students will have direct exposure to some of the most pressing social issues facing the world. Students can select a global and / or local focus, depending on their interests.

Global Service Learning: Bolivia, Uganda and India

Since 2008 the McCarthy Center, in partnership with the Sarlo Family Foundation and the Foundation for Sustainable Development, has offered a global service-learning program that begins with a preparatory course in the spring semester, extends through the summer with a ten-week sustainable development internship abroad, and culminates with an intensive reflection and research-focused course in the fall.   

USF in DC 

A semester-long program in Washington D.C.,  the McCarthy Center's USF in DC offering combines volunteer service as a part-time intern complemented by relevant coursework taught by USF faculty in D.C.

Participating students concentrate in courses which include: American National Politics, Political Journalism and Media, Campaign Politics, US Foreign Policy, Middle East Studies, International Law and Policy, Consumers and Public Health, Sustainability & Environment, International Relations, Washington Ethics, and more.

McCarthy Fellows Summer in Sacramento

This summer program combines service in a government internship and participation in a California politics seminar class. Students are placed in an internship position in a state legislative or executive office during the 12-week USF summer session. Opportunities include placements with the state auditor's office, assembly and senate offices, and caucuses. Concurrently, students attend a seminar class once a week on California politics. The class allows students to share their internship experiences and help them to understand the context within which state policies are created. Guest lecturers regularly join the class. The program includes housing, a stipend to help offset the student's expenses and 4-8 credit units.

Masters in Public Affairs (MoPA)

The McCarthy Center graduate program in Public Affairs and Practical Politics (MoPA) provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary for effective political action by merging hands-on experiences with rigorous graduate seminars and internship experiences.  This 16 month program taught by practitioners in the field of politics and community advocacy culminates with a full-time graduate-level internship that allows students to put their coursework into practice.  Graduates are prepared to pursue careers that make a difference in nonprofits, governmental offices, political entities and the private sector.

Masters in Urban Affairs

The MA in Urban Affairs Program is ideal for students who seek to be specialists in analyzing the policy challenges of 21st Century urbanism. It provides students with the skills and knowledge to be effective and ethical leaders in urban policy and community organizing.

The Master's Program in Urban Affairs combines rigorous graduate seminars in urban studies and public policy with the hands-on experience of applied urban research and community engagement and organizing. A comprehensive background in urban history, political dynamics and sociology is combined with tools for community-based research, policy design, policy analysis and implementation. Graduates are uniquely equipped to formulate policy for more equitable, livable and vibrant urban areas.