Certificate in Service Learning

Steps to Certificate in Service Learning

PROGRAM CHANGES are happening starting Fall 2017. The change includes different coursework requirements and an additional component...Read more.

The Certificate in Service Learning (CSL) recognizes your experiences in utilizing your classroom skills to meet community-identified needs. Earning the certificate involves taking service learning classes, engaging in volunteer work, and reflecting on your service learning experiences.

Please see below for details about each step to completing the Certificate in Service Learning.

Steps to Complete for Certificate in Service Learning


Registration for this certificate is through myKU Portal. Log in to your myKU portal and select the “Undergraduate Certificates” link from the “Academics” tab in MyKU Portal to register for the Certificate in Service Learning. Please allow a couple of days for the service learning record to become active in myKU Portal. You will use myKU Portal to track service hours and submit your final reflection.

Component 1: Two 3-credit hour service learning courses

Take 2 designated service-learning courses that total a minimum of 6 credit hours. Classes that qualify toward the certificate vary by semester. Pre-approved service-learning classes

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

You 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 seek approval to have the class added to the list.

Component 2: 60 cumulative hours of service
Complete a minimum of 60 hours of service. Service hours from your classes count toward the cumulative 60 hours needed to complete the certificate. If the service hours from your courses fall below 60 hours, you may complete additional service in one of the following ways:

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.

If you complete service hours that are not part of a class, you will need to fill out this additional service verification form and upload it to your submission in myKU Portal. 

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

1. Attend one 50-minute reflection session. Check out the details and 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. Preview the reflection questions. The written reflection needs to be submitted through myKU Portal. 

To complete the reflection or attend a session, you must have registered for the certificate and have completed the majority of your coursework and service. 

Apply to Graduate from the Certificate Program

Make sure you apply to graduate from your certificate program(s) through Enroll and Pay

Summer 2017 online graduation application deadline: Monday, July 17, 2017

Fall 2017 online graduation application deadline: Wednesday, November 1, 2017

If you plan to complete a certificate program in any given semester, you should apply to graduate from the certificate program even if you still have classes or experiences in progress. 

Instructions on applying to graduate from certificate programs can be found on Student Information System website.

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 Certificate 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 2017
Summer 2017
Fall 2017


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

Register for Certificate in Service Learning!

Registration for this certificate is through  myKU portal. Log in to your myKU portal and select the “Undergraduate Certificates” link from the “Academics” tab in MyKU Portal to register for the Certificate in Service Learning. Please allow a couple of days for the service learning record to become active in myKU Portal. After your record is active, you will track your service hours in myKU portal. Check out some next steps to take after your record is active.

I am registered for Certificate in Service Learning!

What are my next steps?

Read on for some next steps to take after registering for the Certificate in Service Learning (CSL).

Check your classes
  • From myKU Portal, check your Degree Progress Report (DPR). There is a link to your DPR from your main CSL record page.
  • Load your DRP. Select the "UCRT" tab in your DPR to see your progress toward certificate completion.
  • Make sure any service learning classes you plan to have count toward the CSL certificate are showing up in the DPR. A few things to remember:
    1. There are some classes that can be counted toward this certificate if you complete the optional service assignment with non profit organization. Classes with optional service assignment do not automatically show up on your degree progress report. Please e-mail us if you have completed a course with optional service and we will have that class added to your DPR administratively.
    2. If you believe that you completed a service learning class and do not see it on the qualifying course list or on your DPR, please e-mail serve@ku.edu with the name of the class, name of the professor, and the semester you took the class. We will check on the class.
Track your service hours
  • All service hours and verification forms need to be submitted through myKU portal.
  • Please make sure to enter service hours you completed in your service learning classes.  Service hours from classes count toward the cumulative 60 hours needed to complete the certificate.  
  • You will need to fill out an Additional Service Form for any service hours completed outside of class. If you completed service hours with multiple organizations, please submit a separate verification form for hours completed at each organization.

Be aware that myKU Portal will automatically log you out after 30 minutes! It is strongly recommended that you back up any reflections you are writing in a Word document.

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.


The Big Event

The Big Event connects the KU campus with the Lawrence community by recruiting thousands of student, faculty, and staff volunteers to work at hundreds of local job sites during one day of service. Big Event volunteers provide a helping hand to Lawrence residents by completing projects in their neighborhoods.

The Big Event happens every spring semester.


Student Organizations

There are a number of student organizations with service as their primary mission. The Student Involvement & Leadership Center (SILC) oversees Rock Chalk Central, a site to that houses all KU student clubs and organizations. You can search the site for service organizations that connects to your interest or start your own.

Go to Rock Chalk Central to learn more.

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.

Service Learning

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 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.


How do I register for this certificate and track my progress?
Registration is online through myKU Portal. You can locate certificates in KU portal by selecting the “Undergraduate Certificates”  link from the “Academics” tab in MyKU Portal. You will also use myKU portal to submit materials and track your progress through the certificate.
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.
Do I have to complete my certificate in one semester?

No, you have 4 years (or until you graduate) to complete the certificate. Some students finish in one semester and others need more time. You are free to decide when you will complete certificate.

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.
Where is your office?
The Certificate in Service Learning is housed in the Center for Service Learning in 150 Strong Hall.


How do I know if my course is a service learning course or if I have taken a service learning course?
Classes qualify for this certificate by semester. In order for a class to count, you must have taken that class in the semester you see it listed on the Designated Service Learning Courses webpage.  If you think your course is/was service learning, ask your professor or e-mail us at serve@ku.edu.
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. 
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.
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 Degree Progress Report (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.
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.

Additional Service

Do the hours I completed in my serive learning class count toward the cumulative 60 needed to complete the certificate?
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.
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?
Please upload your verification form with your additional service hours in myKU portal 

Completion and Graduation from Certificate

What is the deadline to turn in all materials for the certificate?
All your service hours, necessary verification, and reflection essay need to be in by the last day of the semester in which you graduate.
I submitted my service hours, verification form, and reflection. Am I done?
Almost! You need to apply to graduate from the certificate program through enroll and pay.
How do I apply to graduate from a certificate program?
You apply online through Enroll & Pay. View instructions on completing the application process on the Student Information System’s website.
What is the deadline to apply to graduate from a certificate program through Enroll & Pay?
March 1, 2017 if you are planning to complete a certificate in Spring 2017. If you plan to complete a certificate program in any given semester, you should apply to graduate from the certificate program even if you still have classes or experiences in progress. Pursue and earn certificates as early as possible in order to add them to your credentials as you apply for jobs, graduate school, and/or fellowships your senior year. If you missed the deadline, please e-mail serve@ku.edu as soon as possible.
When will my certificate show up on my academic transcript?
If you complete a certificate during the Fall 2016 semester, your certificate will post to your transcript by January 23, 2017. If you complete a certificate during the Spring 2017 semester, your certificate will post to your transcript by June 19, 2017. Certificate notations are added to academic transcripts the same day degrees post to transcripts.
I have taken a service learning courses 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 week after graduation. Please e-mail serve@ku.edu if you are needing to register and submit your reflection essay late.

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