Watson Institute at Brown University
Public Policy

Engaged Scholars Program

Engaged scholarship 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. 

Course and Program Requirements

All Engaged Scholars are required to take Modes of Social Change as well as an additional "engaged" course from the list below. These two courses may also count toward the general elective requirements for the concentration.

1) Modes of Social Change (PLCY 1800)

2) Plus, one of these electives:

  • Social Change and Building Powerful Organizations (PLCY 1824)
  • Social Entrepreneurship (PLCY 1910)
  • Engaged Research (PLCY 1802)
  • Alternative elective: To be eligible as an ESP elective, a course must: 1) Incorporate experiential learning opportunities to advance specific course goals; 2) Develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes students need to work effectively with community partners and other external stakeholders; and 3) Provide opportunities for students to apply course concepts and methods in real-world settings.

3) Practicum: ESP students complete significant experiential work with community partners and non-academic stakeholders via an engaged practicum.

4) Programming: ESP students are part of an interdisciplinary community of undergraduate scholars that meets regularly for workshops, lectures, and other programming, including a required 0.5 credit interdisciplinary reflection seminar (SOC 0310: Theory and Practice of Engaged Scholarship), usually taken in the fall semester of junior year.

5) Capstone: The ESP experience culminates with an engaged capstone project which can count as your public policy concentration capstone.

Application Process

At the time of their declaration (or thereafter), students can apply to have an Engaged Scholar focus, typically in the second semester of sophomore year. The application consists of two short essay questions. Applications will be reviewed by your department and ESP staff.

For more information contact: Anthony Levitas,  Faculty Advisor for Engaged Scholarship, Public Policy Program.