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Community Studies Minor FAQ

 The Community Studies minor is designed to prepare students for community-based research. Community Studies aims to move students beyond experiences of volunteerism to critically examine the relevance of their academic learning in community settings and develop scholarly approaches to understanding and engaging social issues. 

1.  What does the Community Studies Minor require?

          Answer: First and foremost, a committed focus and desire to complete research as an undergraduate student at W&M

Also, the following:

          CMST250 Intro. to CMST (Topics vary by professor); or Sharpe Seminar
          CMST 350 Critical Engagement in Context
          CMST 351 Methods in Community‐Based Research

Electives:  At least five (5) credit hours drawn from the College's existing curriculum, in courses that will enrich the student's understanding in a subject area and advance their development toward completing a community‐based research project.

          Senior Research Paper OR Honors Thesis

2.  Why is there a 750-word-or-less essay required for Permission to Enroll in the core courses?

 Answer: The CMST Minor requires sustained focus on a research question (or set of questions).  This makes the CMST Minor is truly different than other minors on campus that require a combination of courses within a department or across disciplines.  The essay helps professors assess how you are thinking critically about a community-based research goal and where you are in your capacity to conduct research.  The essay also helps the program to identify a suitable advisor for your research depending on   what training you need in order to be successful in achieving both academic and community-oriented goals. 

 3.  What about volunteering?  Or partnering with community?

 Answer:  Students are expected to engage in a minimum of 60 hours of work in association with or in collaboration with and within communities connected with their stated community-based research project.  The nature of this association and degree of collaboration may vary by student or project.   Their fulfillment of this requirement will be monitored and subject to evaluation by the Sharpe Program.

 4.  As a Community Studies Minor, am I eligible for research funding?

 Answer:  YES, enrolled and declared Community Studies Minors are eligible to apply for Sharpe and Community Studies summer research grants at any point in making progress toward community-based research.

5.  How do I get started?

Answer:  BEGIN WRITING the essay to get permission by email to register for a core course.  Visit office hours to talk to one of our core course advisors about making an academic plan of study for declaring the CMST Minor.  Use the worksheet on the back of this sheet to start planning.  (The declaration form is also available on the Community Studies website: type “Community Studies” into the Search line of the W&M website.)