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Minor in Public Service and Community Engagement

The Minor in Public Service and Community Engagement is a 22-unit, interdisciplinary program open to USF undergraduates from any major.

Minor Graduation 2013The course of study guides students in their development of skills and knowledge necessary to undertake effective public service and community engagement, while also helping them explore the personal values and beliefs that will guide their service commitments and the social, cultural, and political contexts that contribute to and complicate service and engagement. This minor is ideal for students who have an academic area of interest that draws upon courses from a variety of departments and programs. Students can create concentrations within the minor around specific issues such as food security, law and justice, urban policy, global citizenship, etc. The minor includes a 2-unit capstone seminar taken after completion of all other required courses.

“The minor has helped me find a deeper meaning in community service and social justice that I will take with me when I become a military officer.”- Joseph Estalilla, '12

Program Goals and Objectives

Program Details

Students can sign up for the minor as early as their first year at USF, and must take all required courses in the Government Institutions (4 units), Service-Learning (8 units), Public Policy (4 units), and Arts/Humanities (4 units) categories before participating in the capstone seminar (2 units), which is offered every spring. To find out which courses qualify, please use the links below to the review the current PSCE course checklist and sample areas of concentration.

PSCE Minor Capstone Course
The purpose of the Public Service and Community Engagement minor capstone seminar is to guide students in rigorous analysis of concepts of service, social justice, and community engagement through the lens of their academic scholarship and personal experience. In alignment with both the University’s mission to “educate minds and hearts to change the world,” and the McCarthy Center’s mission to “prepare students to pursue lives and careers of ethical public service,” this course also functions as a call to thoughtful critical service, civic engagement, and social action in pursuit of the common good. To help students develop a guiding vision for their commitment to public service and community engagement, we’ll explore questions such as:

  • What is the role of service in our communities? Our personal lives? Our country? Our world?
  • How have concepts of service evolved across generations, cultures, and ideologies??
  • Who serves and why? Is service a career? A hobby? A calling??
  • What are outcomes and implications of service and community engagement on an individual, organizational, and systemic level?

How to Apply

If you are interested in enrolling in the PSCE minor, contact the McCarthy Center to set up a meeting with our staff. We will review the program details and help you develop a plan for building the program into your course load. Staff can also assist you with completing the “Change of Academic Program” form, which must be submitted to One Stop so the program can be added to your academic transcript.

Download the form here:

For more information on the PSCE Minor, contact:

Star Moore, Director of Community-Engaged Learning
(415) 422-2156

Frequently Asked Questions

Can courses count toward the fulfillment of the PSCE minor’s criteria if they aren’t on the checklist?

It’s possible that a course could count toward the fulfillment of the criteria even if it’s not on the checklist. To determine whether it meets the qualifications for the program, McCarthy Center staff will need to review the course syllabus. If the course aligns with the stated goals and outcomes of the minor, then it can be used as a substitution for one of the criteria. Only one course substitution is allowed per student.

Can I take the capstone course concurrently with courses that fulfill the other checklist criteria?

McCarthy Center staff will work you on planning your course schedule to try to ensure that all courses are taken before your final spring semester, which is when the capstone should be taken. If you must take courses to meet other PSCE criteria concurrently with the capstone seminar, you should discuss this with McCarthy Center staff so they are aware of the situation.

What is the benefit of enrolling in the PSCE minor?

In addition to having the PSCE minor listed on your official USF transcript, you will be invited to the annual McCarthy Center Graduation Celebration in May and will receive a certificate honoring you for the completion of the program. McCarthy Center alumni have access to a variety of benefits including our email listserv through which we share internships, fellowship announcements, career opportunities, invitations to events, resources, etc.