Requirements For The CS Engaged Scholars Program

The Engaged Scholars Program (ESP) is premised on the idea that merging the pursuit of positive social change with rigorous academic study has the potential to enhance the quality of both. A university-wide initiative, ESP is a partnership between academic departments, the Swearer Center for Public Service, and the Dean of the College office. More information about the program can be found here, and Lynsey Ford is the Swearer Center and faculty point of contact for CS-ESP students.  

In the Computer Science department, engaged scholarship challenges students to consider the ethical implications and social impact of emerging technologies. It also enables students to augment their academic studies with projects that address major societal challenges. In doing so, engaged scholars in CS are better prepared to think deeply and critically about the field that they will soon be entering.

Requirements for Engaged Scholars Program in Computer Science

  1. Courses: Students are required to take two “engaged” courses. A current list of approved courses is:

    1. CSCI 1951I: CS for Social Change

    2. DATA 0080: Data, Ethics, and Society

Students may also petition to replace one course with a course not on this list.

  1. Reflection Seminar/Programming: ESP concentrators 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.

  2. Practicum: An internship, job, or other significant, long-term project (150-250 hours) with demonstrable societal benefit. This requirement can also be satisfied through the csciStartup (CSCI1900) non-profit track or by working with a non-profit in Creating Modern Web Applications (CSCI1320).  As part of the practicum requirement, students must complete a series of reflection assignments (managed via Canvas by the Swearer Center).

  3. Engaged Capstone: A credit-bearing capstone project that can often count towards the Computer Science concentration capstone. In order to qualify, it must focus on a project with meaningful social impact.


Students apply to the Engaged Scholars Program when declaring their concentration, and can do so any time before the concentration declaration deadline. The application consists of two essay questions. Applications will be reviewed by members of the Computer Science department as well as ESP staff. For the pilot year (2018), up to 10 students will be accepted; this number may change in future years. For more questions, you can email in the Swearer Center.