Connecting Service and Learning

Certificate in Service Learning

Steps to Certificate in Service Learning

To get started with the certificate process, select the option below that best describes your coursework.

IMPORTANT:  Some approved courses offer optional service or multiple projects that serve for-profit and non-profit organizations. In order for your service to be approved for certificate, you must have participated in the service learning component of the course, and the service must in non-profit sector.

Components to Complete for Certificate

Component 1: Two 3-credit hour service learning courses

NEW FALL 2015 POLICY: The new policy requires students to have a minimum of 6 credit hours of approved coursework. The Certificate in Service Learning requires a minimum of two 3-credit hour courses from our approved list.

Pre-approved service-learning classes

NOTE: If the service assignment was optional for your class, you must have completed the service option with a non-profit agency or the project must benefit the common good to be eligible for certificate.

Students may have taken a service-learning class that is not included on the list of courses. Please suggest any course to the CSL Coordinator that you feel should be included. We will then seek approval to have the class added to the list.

Component 2: 60 cumulative hours of service
Students must complete a minimum of 60 hours of service including what was required from your service learning courses. If the service hours from your courses fall below 60 hours, you may complete additional service in one of the following ways:
  • complete another service learning course
  • participate in an alternative break trip
  • volunteer at a non-profit agency or for the common good

Students continue service at an agency beyond what is required for the class and may use those hours to complete this component. Contact us with questions or to discuss other options for completing the additional service.

Additional Service Form [pdf] should be submitted to the Center upon completion for any additional service that is not part of a service learning course.

Component 3: Reflection
There are two options for completing the reflection component of certificate.

1. Attend one 50-minute reflection session (reflection session schedule).



Write a reflection summary including all of your service experiences. The written reflection must be a minimum of 600 words. Because you will be including all of your service experiences in the reflection, you may not submit the reflection or attend a session prior to completing the majority of your service experiences.

To complete the reflection or attend a session, you must first apply for the certificate and complete the first two components. Once the first two components have been approved, you will receive a link to complete the reflection component.



Designated Service Learning Courses

Below is the current list of KU service learning courses. This list is continuously updated. If you know of a course missing from this list, please notify the CSL Coordinator.

NOTE: Some approved courses offer optional service or multiple projects that serve for-profit and non-profit organizations. In order for your service to be approved for certificate, you must have participated in the service learning component of the course and service must be in non-profit sector.


Spring 2016
Summer 2016
Fall 2016


Spring 2015
Summer 2015
Fall 2015


Spring 2014
Summer 2014
Fall 2014


Spring 2013
Summer 2013
Fall 2013


Spring 2012
Summer 2012
Fall 2012


Spring 2011
Summer 2011
Fall 2011


Spring 2010
Summer 2010
Fall 2010


Spring 2009
Summer 2009
Fall 2009


Spring 2008
Summer 2008
Fall 2008


Fall 2007


Fall 2006

Opportunities for Service


Center for Community Outreach

Center For Community Outreach - Lawrence, KSThe Center for Community Outreach works to encourage active volunteerism in both our local and global communities. We engage students through meaningful opportunities to serve, respond to community needs, organize semi-annual days of service, develop volunteer management skills, and support community initiatives and non-profits through service opportunities. Through volunteer training, speakers, workshops, and our volunteer resource library, we hope to raise awareness of issues within our community.


Alternative Breaks

Alternative Breaks sends groups of KU students on local, national or international service trips that cultivate lifelong socially active and globally conscious leaders through direct service, education, diversity, reflection, and investigation of social justice issues. Trips are offered over fall break, winter break, spring break, summer and select weekends. Winter and spring break trips offer optional course credit.

A web database of volunteer opportunities and nonprofit agencies in Lawrence and Douglas County. Run by the Roger Hill Volunteer Center of the Douglas County United Way.


Student Organizations

The Student Involvement & Leadership Center (SILC) is dedicated to providing students with high-quality co-curricular experiences such as community service, multi-cultural awareness, leadership development, and student organization involvement opportunities. Experiences can range from participation in student organizations and related activities to special events like concerts, performing artists, and distinguished lecturers.

Throughout the year, students can expect to find a variety of activities to participate in for their personal development and overall enjoyment. The opportunity also exists for students to work along-side professional staff in planning, development, and implementation of programs and services through: committees, internship, or individual request.

Marketing Your Certificate

You're Certified! Now what?
Congratulations on completing one of the Certificates in Experiential Learning!  Now that you’ve completed the certificate, the next step is for you to market your certificate to help you stand out as an applicant for jobs and graduate schools.
How does the transcript notation help?

Your certificate in experiential learning will appear on your transcript, showing that the university acknowledges your achievements. This opportunity is not available to students at all universities and will recognize the efforts you have undertaken beyond the classroom.

Transcripts are usually required in certain fields (i.e. education) that request them as part of the application process. Also, students who intend to do postgraduate work will have their transcripts reviewed by admission panels. Having the certificate on your transcript can add more than just an award to your resume; it can reflect a personal value and commitment to improving your community.

Now that it’s on my transcript, that’s all I need, right?
If you don’t plan to pursue postgraduate work or are not required to submit a transcript for employment, it would be wise to list your certificate on your resume. Check out our examples of how to list your experiences on your resume [pdf].
What about the interview?
Once potential employers see the certificate listed on your transcript or resume, you must be prepared to talk about it. Although you may not be prompted to discuss the certificate, we have had several students tell us that they were asked questions about it during an interview, since employers were unfamiliar with it.  If you're not able to articulate its importance in an interview and downplay your certificate, the very thing that could have set you apart from others is no longer working for you.
Questions you must be able to address
  • What is service learning?
  • What was required to get the certificate?
  • Why did you get the certificate? Why was that important to you?
Points to consider in your responses
The certificate in service learning recognizes that you have:
  • gone beyond the classroom to help your community and to further your own education
  • assisted community agencies in better serving their clients
  • exposed yourself to societal inadequacies and injustices
  • better prepared yourself for your career or further education
  • taken on a greater responsibility for your learning and for your community
  • applied your course content in the context of the real world

What students gain:

  • practical experience that challenges their perceptions and assumptions
  • opportunities to apply classroom learning in real-world settings
  • deeper understanding and commitment to civic engagement
  • awareness of the broad range of life experiences
  • a better sense of personal efficacy, personal identity, and moral development
  • leadership, communication, and team work skills

Why the certificate is important to YOU:

  • Talk about the certificate as a representation of your values toward service.
  • Talk about your understanding of how your field of study can contribute to the common good.
Anything else?
Research the companies to which you are applying to see if service is part of their mission and determine if they support certain issues, such as sustainability, cancer research, poverty, etc. You may find that you share an interest in a social issue, which you could highlight on your resume or cover letter.
What does Google say about you? Create a professional online identity.
If an employer searches for you on the Internet, what do they see? It’s a smart choice to use every venue to promote yourself when you are job seeking, including social media and other networking opportunities. LinkedIn is a great example of a place to list the certificate.  With that in mind, many employers will check social media sites and the internet in general to see how you are represented, so if necessary, it is incumbent on you to do damage control on your social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as promote your accomplishments.
Other Resources

Check out examples [pdf] of how you might list service on your resume. Consider using a verb list [pdf] to remind you of the skills you obtained from your service. You may find many more verb lists by searching the internet.

For additional resources and assistance, we highly recommend utilizing the University Career Center to develop a resume that will maximize your strengths and highlight relevant skills for the jobs you are seeking.


Certificate in Service Learning (CSL) recognizes students’ curricular and co-curricular experiences in utilizing their classroom skills to meet community-identified needs. Certificate in Service Learning involves several components, including taking a service learning course, completing additional volunteer work, and reflecting on your service learning experiences. Any student who has completed a service learning course is eligible for this certificate.

Getting certified in service learning recognizes that you have:

  • examined your own role in the society in which you live
  • explored the part your discipline plays in contributing to the common good
  • gone beyond KU's Core Goal requirements to help your community and to further your own education
  • assisted community agencies in furthering their mission and/or services
  • examined societal inadequacies and injustices

Your certificate in service learning will appear on your transcript.

Student FAQs

How is service learning different from community service?
Community service is volunteering your time for the betterment of your community.  Service learning, however, is applying what you are learning in your class to community problems.Not only is its focus academic engagement, but the result is also beneficial to both the student and the community.
Why should I get certified in service learning?
There are a variety of reasons to get certified in service learning, including:
  • To gain experiences you wouldn’t have gained through courses or community service alone
  • To put your life philosophies and political beliefs into practice
  • To step outside of the classroom box
  • To challenge your perceptions and assumptions
  • To take advantage of every opportunity KU has to offer
  • To set yourself apart for graduate school or the job market
I regularly serve my community, why should I get certified?
Service learning takes your community service to the next level. Unlike community service, service learning provides practical, purpose-driven application of course material. Certification is a further step in formalizing your service and academic efforts. Certification demonstrates your dedication to both your discipline and your community. Certification also shows you are willing to go beyond the norm in order to gain experience yet do so with a conscience.
What does it cost to enroll in certificate?
There is no extra cost to enroll in certificate, only the benefit of serving the community while learning course material.
I already did a service project. Does that count as the additional service component?
If you have previously completed 20 hours or more of service, while in college, at a single community agency or during an Alternative Break, we will count those hours as your additional service. We will still need to independently verify (with your supervisor or coordinator) that you did in fact complete those hours or participated in an Alternative Break.
How do I know if my course is a service learning course? How do I know if I’ve already taken a service learning course?
There are a couple of ways to check on this. First, we have list of past courses on our Web site.  These courses have been confirmed as service learning. Second, if you think your course is/was service learning but aren’t sure, ask your professor. Third, if your professor isn’t sure either, but you feel like a course may be/may have been service learning, let us know.We can check with the department to find out.
Do I have to complete my certificate in one semester? Do I have to complete certificate at the same time I’m enrolled in a service learning course?

The length required to complete certificate depends on the student. Some finish in one semester, some in one year, and others need more time. You are free to decide when you will complete certificate. The CSL Coordinator will help you in the process and give you updates about how much has been or needs to be completed.

Yes. At the end of the academic year, all certified students are awarded a certificate at a recognition ceremony. If you are unable to attend the certificate in service learning recognition ceremony, we can get you a PDF copy of that certificate. If you do not see certificate under milestones on your DPR, contact us. This allows graduate schools and employers to see that your service learning experience was an extension of your academic career and verified by the university.

Do I have to take a service learning course in my major?
Certainly not. Feel free to take a service learning course it whatever discipline you choose. Many students find it beneficial for their academic or career goals to take their service learning course in their major, but do not feel obligated to do so. It may be more rewarding to learn about another discipline through service learning!
My major doesn't have service learning courses. What do I do?
If your major doesn’t offer service learning, then let us know. The service learning course required for certificate does not have to be completed within your major.It can be any class that you have taken at KU. If you are interested in completing a service learning course within your major then you should talk with a professor or advisor.There may be a possibility to do an independent study in service learning.
I have taken a service learning course and participated in a service project, but I learned of certificate too late. What can I do now?
Certificates can be completed up to one month after graduation.  We have to verify that you have completed the service learning course requirement, via transcript or DPR, as well as documentation of additional service if applicable.  The reflection paper can be done after graduation and turned in with the verification forms for your additional service and service learning class.
Does the grade I get in my service learning course matter?
In order for your course to count towards the certificate, you need to receive a “C” or better.
How do I verify my additional service for component 2?
Verification can come through a variety of forms including: a signed document by your supervisor or contact person at a community agency; evidence of a product you created or event you coordinated; a copy of your timesheet; another form of documentation pre-approved by the CSL Coordinator.
Where do I send my materials?
You can drop it by the office, scan and send us an email, or even snail mail (Strong Hall, Jayhawk Blvd., Room 150).  We can accommodate all these methods, so use whatever works best for you!
What is the deadline for certificate?
All your materials need to be in by the last day of the semester in which you graduate.
How do I get to the Office for Service Learning?
The Certificate in Service Learning is housed in the Center for Civic & Social Responsibility in 150 Strong Hall.
What if I took a service learning course at another university?
We will accept a service learning courses you transfer from another university. You must identify how the course shows up on your DPR so we can identify it, then have the instructor of that course contact us to confirm that is was a service course.
What if I took a service learning course, but it is not listed on your website?
You must describe your service you performed for the class, how many hours you served and the contact information of the professor/instructor. Many times instructors add service to their course without knowing it is service or simply forget to inform us about the course for that semester.
May I use the hours I did for my service class as my additional service hours?
No, the hours you submit for your class are separate from the additional service hours you submit.
May I use the hours I served in high school for my additional service?
No. All of your submissions must be during the time you are in college.
May I use volunteer hours from the same place that I did my service for the class?
Yes. If you continue service at the same agency, you may use those hours you served beyond what was required of your course.
Is this open to graduate students?
The Experiential Learning certificates are for undergraduate students. We are currently working on another method of recognizing graduate students' service experiences and will announce the program when it is ready.
What are some examples of advocacy?
  • Recruiting a campus organization to host an event for your agency.
  • Recruiting volunteers with special skills or knowledge to respond to an agency need.
  • Recruiting members to fill needed Board of Directors terms.
  • Getting student volunteers to use the skills from their discipline for the good of your agency (journalism, design, public administration, computer engineering, etc.).
  • Being a liaison between a campus organization and community organization supporting the same cause.
  • Creating an awareness campaign on campus.

Reflection Sessions
Reflections will be accepted after the majority of your 60 hours of service and both service learning courses have been completed. Reflections submitted before that time will not be accepted. 
Follow Us
Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook