Examples of Service Learning Courses across the Disciplines

​A full range of syllabus examples, in their entirety, can be found at: Campus​ Compact: Full Resource Library and National Youth Leadership Council: Service Learning in Civic Engagement (SLICE)


Arts and Community Development: Students are introduced to the theory and practice of the arts as a vehicle for community-cultural development. They undertake fieldwork and research in an arts-based community project through direct contact and collaboration with established community based organizations that have within each of their mission the explicit goal of community-cultural development. Readings and class discussions in community psychology, the role of the arts in community and cultural development, methods of community research, creating arts and cultural policy support the fieldwork. Students complete a collaborative research project and create personal narratives in their chosen medium reflecting their fieldwork experience

Invisible Populations: The objective of this Service Learning seminar-type class is to give students an opportunity to learn how visual artists from the Renaissance to the present day have used their powers to make populations living on the fringes of society (religious or racial minorities, the socially disadvantaged, individuals with disabilities, those who construct sexual identities different from the social mainstream, etc.) visible. Each student creates two exhibition displays summarizing “episodes” that explain how art can make invisible populations visible and how it can help cross social, ethnic, and religious boundaries that might exist in other fields of social interaction. Students closely collaborate with their community partner, the United Way, where part of the exhibition will be mounted. After the installation of the exhibition – one part on campus, the other in the United Way Offices– students serve at least two times as community docents for the exhibition while it is on display.


Biology 4254: Principles of Ecology: This course is about learning to conduct research with natural populations and communities. This lab is a practical but independent extension of the lecture (Biol 4253). It is a hands-on course in which students apply a number of field and analytical techniques to the study of ecological systems. The semester will be divided into two projects: spider ecology and land management of protected natural areas. For each project, students work in teams to develop and refine project proposals, and then implement your studies. The first project is basic research. Applied research, the focus of the second project, builds on basic research to address practical problems. For the second project, students develop and initiate a biological inventory program for a local public recreation department. This is applied research because it addresses a specific land management need of the recreation department. Students present study design proposals to the agency and then implement a single, refined protocol to gather baseline data, which will be delivered to the agency at the end of the semester.


Business 212: The emphasis in the course is on the application of generally acceptable accounting principles to the recording and reporting of financial information, the underlying theoretical foundations of accounting, and the analytical skills needed by business and accounting students. An optional service-learning group assignment involves preparing and presenting financial literacy information to people in transition from homelessness. The project will require keeping a journal on the experience, writing a reflection paper and making a presentation to the class at the end of the term.

Digital Storytelling Project: In this course, the McDonough Center for Leadership and Business at Marietta College and the Marietta Family YMCA formed a partnership to create a unique opportunity for Marietta's youth: learning the technology of filmmaking and using it to tell the stories that define and shape their hometown. "Digital Storytelling" is a program where high-risk youth learn marketable skills in filmmaking. This program nationally has had a significant impact on the youths' pursuit of higher education and technology-related careers. Students from two leadership service-learning courses at the College work with youth from the YMCA to help them define the scope of their projects, to assist with the operation of the equipment, and to accompany them as they interview people and create films throughout the City.

Marketing 100S - Marketing Concepts : Students learn how marketing activities such as pricing, promotion, packaging, and distributing goods and services in international, national, profit, not-for-profit, service, consumer, and industrial markets are used to facilitate satisfaction of consumer needs.The course requires students to volunteer for 15 hours at an approved non-profit organization. Students final group report highlights how marketing is being utilized by the agency, how they might utilize one or more of the strategies the groups locate, and offers reflection on your experience as a service-learner. In addition, students provide some Internet resources that might be helpful to the organization.

College Success

College Reading Strategies: Community college students enrolled in a reading and comprehension improvement course will meet with residents in a senior living facility to record their life stories. Students will also research the pros and cons of living in a senior facility and report back to the class. Additionally, students will write pre- and post-visit reflections. From Metropolitan Community College.


Mass Communication – Public Relations Writing: This course is an intensive laboratory workshop in public relations writing that encompasses a wide range of styles ranging from brief public service announcements to news releases to persuasive speeches and executive presentations. Writing is the foundation of professional public relations since most formal organizational communications begin or intersect with the written word. Thus, all future practitioners must be polished and capable writers, skilled in diverse forms and styles of writing and capable of working quickly. In addition, it is important to establish relationships and work within the community and for organizations that contribute to the community good. This course will be a combination of short lectures, in-class, and out-of-class writing assignments that will simulate the realities of the professional writing environment for future public relations professionals as well as understand how the local community affects the practice.


Chemistry 104: The course is the first term of a one-year sequence in General Chemistry. The course is designed for nursing and allied health sciences as well as such disciplines as fire science, respiratory therapists, medical technology, biotechnology, and dental hygiene requirements. The class works in groups of 3‐5 students to complete a chemistry related service project and follow up investigation. The main goals of the service-learning project are to illustrate the relevance and application of chemistry in everyday life and to underscore the importance of civic responsibility.

Food Science and Human Nutrition

Community Nutrition: Students explore nutrition-related needs at local community agencies, participate in the agencies’ work, and propose and/or implement strategies to improve clients’ nutritional intake. Working in groups of five, students engage in projects ranging from hosting cooking classes for teens in a substance abuse program to packing boxes of well-balanced, non-perishable food items for homebound seniors. Partner organizations included the local food bank, Meals on Wheels, and The Boys and Girls Club.

Foreign Languages

Spanish Service-Learning: Students actively participate with community-based organizations that require the use of Spanish with clients. Students have the opportunity to encounter real-life experiences that afford them opportunities to expand their knowledge and develop critical thinking and problem solving skills


Sociology of Education: Sociologists use sociological imagination and a wide range of sociological theories to examine a variety of topics related to education, learning, schools, school processes, and educational systems. Students are asked to critically examine these theoretical perspectives, and relate them to their concrete service experiences in public schools.

English & Writing

Writing 123 - English Composition: To further develop their substantial skills in writing, reading, critical thinking and creative problem-solving, students supplement their traditional library research with service time working directly with an organization—either on campus or off—providing service in the area that they are researching. The service work is designed to provide students with a number of practical reference points for their inquiry and to help them test the accuracy and legitimacy of the conclusions provided by the "experts" they encounter in their reading. The experience also gives them access to working professionals in these areas who are great interview sources.

Writing 121 – “The Politics of Education”: Students have the option of expanding their understanding of the issues in the course and gathering research for their essays by serving at a low-income elementary school or community educational program. This service option enhances students’ learning experience by helping them to (a) explain in greater depth the causes of the “education gap” that exists between poor children and more advantaged children (b) explain why such a high percentage of minority children fall into this “gap,” (c) contribute to community education by serving and (d) develop citizenship skills by serving in their community. Students keep a writers notebook, meet in writing response groups, write essays and create a final portfolio of their work.

English 164 - Academic Communication: Students participate in service-learning to support the course goals of strengthening their speaking and listening skills, improve their ability to present information clearly, support their opinion, and ask questions for clarification and further discussion. The overall topic is the Environment and students participate in projects where they serve with a local organization that is addressing environmental issues in their community. Students who complete optional service learning component and successfully incorporate this experience into their speaking assignments will receive an additional 10% extra credit on one speaking assignment.

Environmental Science

Environmental Science 100: Freshman in Environmental Science 100 learn new techniques for testing soil and water quality, as well as determining forest and ecosystem characteristics. They applied these techniques to a comprehensive long-term project aimed at assisting economic revitalization and development in a depressed locality. Their research will pair with economic research and public policy research to provide adequate information to local municipalities.


Community Health: The course Inquires into the causes and potential solutions for current community health issues; overviews health care agencies; and explores career opportunities in community health. Includes service learning experience. Includes a service-learning componentComplete 20 hours of service at a community health agency or organization, complete a final written report and share their experiences with the class.

PSYCH/Health and Wellness: Service Learning in an Obesity Education Program: Students engaged in service-learning by planning and developing a mulitple-session family-based obesity prevention program, based on reviews of the obesity prevention literature. The course consists of primarily didactic instruction the 1st half of the semester and the facilitation of the prevention program during the 2nd half. Weekly reading assignments (journal articles, book chapters, special reports and popular writings) were required only during the initial 7 weeks of the class. During their organizing and implementing of the prevention program, students kept a weekly journal about their experiences [an academic article about the SL experience: Himelein, M., Passman, L., & Phillips, J. (2010). College Teaching and Community Outreaching: Service Learning in an Obesity Prevention Program. American Journal of Health Education, 41(6), 368-378.


Math 60 – Service Learning Option: Based on the premise that one of the best ways to learn is by teaching others, students have the option to tutor the elementary/middle school students in basic math or pre-algebra weekly throughout the term at the school of their choice. Students are required to tutor at least once a week, for a minimum of 8 visits. They keep a journal of their experience and meet with the instructor at least twice throughout the term. The goals of service-learning are to help students (a) review previously learned math concepts, (b) explain previously learned math concepts, (c) improve their own confidence in their ability to do math and (d) serve as a positive role model for younger students.


Philosophy 209: Business Ethics: The objective of this course is to provide the students with the opportunity to think about the moral problems and questions which they face as individuals, as well as the moral issues facing today's business world, in order to help them determine and express the reasons for their moral decisions. Student serve a total of 20 hours of time with a community agency. At the end of the term students submit a journal describing the work they have done, focusing on the ethical implications of the experience.


Poverty in Alameda County: This course introduces students to the issues of local poverty. The course examined the current state of poverty in Alameda County, systemic causes of poverty, local policy decisions and community responses. Students develop an understanding of their role in affecting change by volunteering at a local organization and participating in a day of action. Class sessions will include readings, group discussion, individual reflection, and interactive activities. Attendance at a student-led conference on poverty is required.


Theater 4029 - Special Topics in Stage Movement: The goal is to inspire and instill in the emerging artist the necessity of community engagement as a way to contribute to the overall creation of meaningful and relevant physical theatre work. By having students work with a local Language Preschool, the goal is to provide a meaningful and useful service through their narrative, improvisational, and physical gifts while gaining valuable insight into human communication, cues, and body language. Exploring the limitations of our students’ own communication through movement, voice, and body language provides the basis for character and identity formation when they construct a theatrical narrative. Students work with special needs children at the Language Preschool for at least one half hour each week starting week 3 of the semester. They help with behavioral and communication skills necessary for effective social functioning. They take what they learn working with the Preschool and integrate it into character development, movement options and story ideas for the class goal. At the end of the semester, the children and the Language Preschool students are invited to view the final performance presentation in the classroom.